Eleanor Tiernan

Eleanor Tiernan

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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Vodafone Comedy Carnival Day 4

Review by Steve Bennett in Galway

As the internationals entertain elsewhere in Galway, a pick of Irish comics entertain yet another packed-out audience at the Roisin Dubh.

Host  Katherine Lynch is very much in the ‘teeth and tits’ school of entertainment, fully glammed up and determined to deliver an all-singing, high-kicking extravaganza. Her pizazz is beyond reproach, though you might question the limited inspiration needed to change the lyrics to Stand By Your Man to Stand By Your Van and with every verse belted out in full. Still, who doesn’t love a raucous singalong?

Such razzle-dazzle is in contrast to the quieter comics she introduces in the first half. Chris Kent is very much a mild-mannered performer, delivering his tales with little drama or apparent exaggeration. 

Yet he has underplayed storytelling skills – almost all of his 20-minute set was devoted to the drama of getting engaged in New York seamlessly followed by anecdotes from the wedding and mini-honeymoon. The Proposal Room where he was to pop the question is given such an imposing significance it’s almost a character in itself, while his newish wife is also funny enough to add extra punchlines to this modest but rewarding set.

Similarly softly-spoken Eleanor Tiernan follows, whose very premise is that her meekness was making her such a doormat that even taxi drivers were taking advantage of her good nature. So she emigrated to London to toughen up, a move that seems to have made her a sharper comic, too. She’s strong on the whimsy of the everyday – her trademark routine is about advancements in hand-dryer technology – but there are proper punchlines backing her quirky observations.

Opening the second half, Gearoid Farrelly delivers sardonic dispatches from his relationship, a cohabitation he's not entirely comfortable with, fuelling his snippy comedy. His three-legged rescue dog also provides a rich seam of anecdotes, sarcastic but cheerily, camply, delivered. He says he’s only been a full-time comic for a little over a year, but skills like this should keep paying the rent.

The finest storytelling, however, came from headliner Deirdre O’Kane – recently returned to the live comedy circuit having taken time off to be a full-time mum (well, nearly full-time, it included acting work such as her fine turn in Moone Boy). 

Often parenthood’s blamed for dulling the artistic instincts, but the experience has only heightened O’Kane’s powers – and given her some great material for anecdotes. The travails of a 14-hour flight to Vietnam to shoot the decidedly non-comedy movie Noble with two youngsters in tow is a nicely realised farce, played out with perfect timing.

Some of O’Kane’s set will resonate especially with fellow parents in the audience, notably the inner monologue about the mundane matter of meals that dominated her every thought when a ‘stay-at-home’ mum – a phrase that makes her bristle to the core. Comedy fans, at least, should be glad she’s getting out of the house more now.

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Published: 1 Nov 2017

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2007

Eleanor Tiernan: Help


Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Eleanor Tiernan: Trouble


Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Eleanor Tiernan: Rogue


Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Eleanor Tiernan - Help the Frigid


Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Eleanor Tiernan – People Pleaser


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