After conquering his native Ireland, Tommy Tiernan is starting to get some serious exposure in the UK, appearing on Michael McIntyreís Comedy Roadshow last month and Live At The Apollo next. Cracked, recorded in one of scores of dates he has peformed at Dublinís Vicar Street, is a perfect introduction to this passionately compelling stand-up for anyone whose interest has been piqued by that TV exposure.
Itís not Tiernan at his most ferocious, and the controversies that have often defined Ė†or overshadowed Ė his career are nowhere in sight. Insead, itís a more playful cavort through his thoughts, so even when heís laying into Israelís intransigence, thereís a mischievous twinkle in his eye. And while mocking Biblical stories has become de rigueur for any comics brought up in the Christian faith, his deconstruction of the temptation of Jesus is more silly than blasphemous. Thereís a cheeky devil in him, for sure.
Tiernan has a uniquely insightful handle on the Irish psyche, going way beyond the usual celebration of drunkenness to instead contrast his homelandís dour Catholicism with the joyous celebration of faith elsewhere in the world, while reflecting on the nation largely shrugging off 800 years of English oppression.
Tiernanís lyricism is also very apparent, with plenty an evocative turn of phrase peppering the show. The mental image that stands out best is his nostalgic recall of the childhood thrill of running down a hill that's a bit too steep for you, giddy with the out-of-control danger.
At his best, Tiernanís comedy is similarly invigorating, and while Cracked may play it a little safer than his audacious best, itís remains a wonderfully funny hour of smart, joyful stand-up that canít fail to charm.
Tommy Tiernan: Cracked
Recorded at: Vicar Street, Dublin
Running time: 62 minutes
Extras: A Sad And Lonely Wino (a rather poetic 6mins of encore), A Dirty Sunday (8min tour diary), London interview (9mins); Weblink (really, they are counting a URL to his home page as a DVD extra?! seems so)
Released by: PIAS Comedy, November 8
Price: £19.99. Click here to buy from Amazon at £11.99.