Fresh off a successful Edinburgh run of his show, Crooked Man, Tommy Tiernan is set to touch down in New York City for another limited engagement this weekend at Comix. While still in Ireland, Tiernan managed to send out a few answers via email to my questions. Hard-hitting stuff. Not really. Carry on.
American comedian Bob Marley is going to do a marathon performance from Sept. 22-24 in Maine, and the PR on that said he was attempting to beat the Guinness World Record held by Lindsay Webb of Australia, 38 hours 6 minutes in April 2009. How did Webb one-up you so quickly? He’s on Drugs
Perhaps more importantly, what did you learn about yourself and your comedy by undertaking your own weekend-long marathon in 2009? Did it prompt you to write material differently? Did it change you, fundamentally or even superficially? I learned that I am endlessly fascinated by the sound of my own voice. It changed me in the sense that I now leave myself messages on my own answering machine.
And what do you make of the idea of these longest-ever stand-up shows, having done it yourself? How long can an audience laugh, anyhow? Did you find that out? Any experience where the performer gets to the far side of themselves can be good...length as a wholesome hallucinogen. An audience can laugh to infinity....shhh....can you hear them?
You're known here as a storyteller. In America, the current stand-up comedy trend seems to be heading your way, but still, many mainstream comedy club audiences may be more accustomed to, or expecting, set-up punchline, set-up punchline. What's the trick to getting these audiences on your side before you lose them? Jesus you make it sound very complicated. I once went to a play where halfway through the audience got a glass of vodka and a slice of cake each....
How many times have you done a run at Edinburgh? Are you able to achieve any sort of inner peace performing amid so many other performers in one city for one month? I achieve inner peace by drinking coffee to speed me up and smoking a pipe to slow me down. I then sit back objectively and watch what happens
I know you've been to New York before. Do you have any stories about your past trips here, either onstage or off, that you could share? I once stayed up for three days and three nights eating candy. I eventually fell asleep in a taxi cab heading out towards Yonkers. When I woke up, I was a small Mexican woman working in a laundrette in Buffalo
Have you performed anywhere else in America yet? If so, where? Where would you like to perform here in the States, and why? I’ve performed for Barack Obama in the White House but it’s not something he talks about much. We played chase and nude pool. I found him quite shy actually. I’d love to do a show in Grand Canyon...
Move over, Dave Chappelle and Dane Cook. Tommy Tiernan has made their lengthy overnight stand-up sets seem downright miniscule, as he completed a solo 36-hour, 15-minute performance called Testamental early this morning in Ireland. A representative from the Guinness Book of World Records was at Nuns Island in Galway to inform Tiernan and his team of their success, allowing him five-minute breaks after every hour onstage (he also performed three-hour sets between midnight and 9 a.m.). He began his effort at 3 p.m. Friday, sitting only briefly and, according to his representatives, "eating a mixture of pasta, fruit and sugary sweets, he sipped at water and high energy drinks until hitting the espressos on Saturday night to help him through the last stretch."
The folks in Montreal have begun rolling out some news and information about its 2009 Just For Laughs comedy festival, and this is what we know already: Bill Cosby will headline, as will Irishman Tommy Tiernan; Canadian native Russell Peters will celebrate his 20th year in stand-up comedy with a special show; John Cleese and Lewis Black will host Galas (filmed-for-TV showcases); Bobby Slayton will host The Nasty Show, and there will be a second annual ladies version of it. You can now go back to whatever you were doing.
Already a big deal in Ireland, Tommy Tiernan is making his formal debut in the American marketplace this week with the CD/DVD release of Something Mental. A condensed version of his performance airs on Comedy Central tonight at 11 p.m.
The New York Times reviewer writes: The most surprising moment in the show may be when he dives into a segment about his children. “This foulmouthed crazy man has kids?” you may find yourself saying. It’s a concept more jarring than any of his jokes. Ahem. As opposed to all the other "foulmouthed crazy man" comedians with kids? Anyhow. Tiernan's November 2007 release, OK, Baby, sold more than 100,000 copies in five weeks in Ireland. When he appeared on David Letterman's show last month, they let him have eight minutes. That's fairly extraordinary considering most stand-ups are lucky to get half that. In that appearance, Tiernan talked about his kids and the differences between men and women in a way that suggested he had a Cosby-like storytelling nature about him.
In Something Mental, we wait 42 minutes to hear the first of those bits (the set is 67 minutes in all) and get to hear Tiernan swear quite a bit (because he's an Irishman forced to speak the English language) and offer his viewpoints on drinking, the Pope, fitness, the Olympics, Jesus and religions, the Eskimos and more. He's forced to hear his parents have sex, or as he describes it, "the spring symphony." A particularly funny bit has him explaining how much easier it would've been to learn about sex from his father instead from a fellow 10-year-old. He closes in graphic detail about his experiences taking sex "to the limits."
Extras on the DVD include an interview, "Walk in the Windy City" and "Meet the Badger: The Outtakes." Here are two clips that made it into the Comedy Central edition:
Related: My friend in comedy blogging, Todd Jackson at Dead-Frog, recently interviewed Tiernan.