Eleanor Tiernan abandoned her civil engineering training to become a stand-up in 2004 – and within her first year appeared on RTE’s The Liffey Laughs and BBC’s One Night Stand.
In 2007, she starred in the Edinburgh Fringe play Help!, and made her solo show debut the following year. She then played to more than 120,000 people as the support act for her cousin, Tommy Tiernan, on his Bovinity tour,
She also played the ditzy waitress, Emer, on RTE2’s youth-orientated chat show The Cafe.
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Carlsberg Cat Laughs 2010 
A‘This is one of the biggest gigs of my career,’ Eric Lalor says, addressing not the O2, but a medium sized pub function room in the South East of Ireland.
It’s a bit disingenuous – having supported the likes of Des Bishop, who discovered him on his Joys In The Hood TV show – but an indication of his relative lack of experience compared to some of the big-hitters here. And it doesn’t hinder his shtick as being a everyday working-class guy from the wrong end of Dublin, either.
With a sedate delivery he takes us back to incidents from his youth – such as the misery of Christmas morning mass – and his present-day teasing of his own children. It’s a natural, conversational, honest approach that ebbs and flows, only rarely landing a killer blow, but gently enjoyable in its unfolding. Plus he shoehorns in a couple of movie references to show off his talent for impersonating Darth Vader or Russell Crowe in Gladiator, which might not be strikingly original but he pulls them off well.
Compere Ian Coppinger takes up the Star Wars theme with an entirely gratuitous Wookie impression before introducing the next comic on this all-Ireland bill, Eleanor Tiernan.
This quirky comic has grown in confidence over the last year or so, relaxing her previously forced rhythms into something a little more conversational. Her very angle, though, is that she’s still a relative rookie learning the art of stand-up – introducing herself with the deadpanned line: ‘I am an comedian’ with so little conviction that it’s funny in itself.
Throughout the set she refers to what other comedians do – such as develop a catchphrase – and tries to learn from it. Her chosen slogan is: ‘Here, do you think this is funny, right?’ The technique is difficult to pull off – sometimes it feels too comically incestuous, while also undermining her own abilities – yet it is certainly distinctive, and when it works does add an appealing extra level to the persona.
She’s also quite easily distracted, diverting into comedy cul-de-sacs about the layout of the room or the Cat Laughs laminated passes. But when left to her prepared routines she can demonstrate an ingenious wit. Her take on the ‘sponsor a child’ charity schemes or the tyranny of the ‘to do’ list is inspired, and gems of inventive lines pop up throughout her idiosyncratic set.
To close, the accomplished Colin Murphy took a moment to settle – extending a bit of banter Coppinger had done in reaction to women going to the toilet on masse too much, although as he moved on to other urinary habits, the laughs of recognition grew.
Managing to find something funny in Israel’s attack on the flotilla, and being gifted the audience member whose job was in ‘robot milking’, further established his credentials, ready to head below the belt for his closing routine. The graphic descriptions of his own inadequacies might have terrified the poor teenager at the front, but the combination of his frankness and the risqué subject matter proved a hit for the rest of us.