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Carlsberg Comedy Carnival 2009

Carlsberg Comedy Carnival 2009

Show type: Misc live shows

Carlsberg Comedy Carnival,Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, July 23 to 26,2009, plays host to more than 65 world class international and Irish acts, playing 44 shows over one unique carnival weekend. The festival has just won two prestigious awards for Best New Festival at The Irish Festival Awards and Best Sponsored Event at The Irish Industry Awards.



Carlsberg Comedy Carnival 2009, Day 1

Note: This review is from 2009

Carlsberg Comedy Carnival 2009, Day 1

Only in Ireland could a comedy festival open on the day the government made blasphemy illegal. Under the 2009 Defamation Bill, anyone caught insulting another person over a matter sacred to their religion can theoretically be fined €25,000. So I’ve been wondering if Dublin’s Carlsberg Comedy Carnival isn’t just some elaborate communal swearbox staged to swell the coffers of an economy on its knees. And whether the likes of Neil Hamburger won’t blaspheme all of us out of global recession this weekend.

The Iveagh Gardens are a charming patch of greenery hidden in the heart of the city, just off St Stephen’s Green and behind a row of Georgian office buildings. In keeping with the carnival theme, stilt walkers, ah, a zombie and a caveman swarm to greet you as you enter but they’re not the irritations they initially appear and a lively band keeps the mood buoyant between gigs and the sporadic showers. Comics mill about and you can spot say, Jarlath Regan, having a feeble attempt at the coconut shy. The alluring waft of €8 burger follows you everywhere and Carlsberg employees kitted out Ghostbuster-style squirt the sponsor’s product into beakers from backpacks.

Venues are four large tents about 100 metres apart and over as many days the festival boasts Irish stars like Jason Byrne, Des Bishop, Andrew Maxwell and David O’Doherty with an international contingent that includes Bo Burnham, Sean Lock, Maria Bamford, Todd Barry and the League of Gentleman’s Jeremy Dyson.

I begin my carnival inside the velvet-lined, stained glass of the Magic Mirrors Palace with Damian Clark, Bamford and O’Doherty. The early evening start meant Clark had to work hard as compere, but the adopted Australian got an enthusiastic response as he raised energy levels in this glorified ‘burlesque house’ with none-too-original but effective musings on the versatility of the word ‘fuck’, and the sordid account of how a toilet-blocking incident led his girlfriend’s parents to witness a slideshow of his faeces.  

It’s been several years since I last saw Maria Bamford and I confess to being impressed all over again with her incredible ability to conjure forth fully rounded characters, usually her dysfunctional family, with just her exceptional gift for mimicry and an economical number of physical quirks and ticks. The Minnesotan’s sketchy comprehension of world geography – presented through the bickering personalities of a dozen countries – was delightful and virtually devoid of stereotype.

Whether parodying an inane radio station dedicated to love songs or mocking aspirational Oprah-speak, there’s a rich seam of psychological desperation underlying everything Bamford does. Although some bits simply fizzle out for want of a punchline, she successfully mocks the whole edifice of slick routines with her delicious, dying inside portrayal of a hack, touring stand-up.

Opening with a request for the audience to lower their expectations, both at this gig and in life generally, David O’Doherty rattled through bits of his if.comedy-winning show Let’s Comedy interspersed with fresher material, including a brush with pet murder and thoughts on the pervy agenda of his sat nav. Few comics have captured the joy and frustration of mobile phone technology better than O’Doherty and he offers a typically astute ditty about cycling through his address book to reject accomplices for a night out, before failing to slap down faceless corporations with his impotent efforts to outsmart Vodafone. He closed with an updated instalment of his vexations and petty gripes, My Beefs 2009.

On to the Iveagh Theatre and the chance to catch a rare performance by Après Match. As an Englishman, I can’t claim to wholly comprehend the nuances of Barry Murphy, Risteárd Cooper and Gary Clarke’s take on Irish politics, but a loathing of their buffoonish overlords was fairly self-evident.

Nevertheless, as a football fan I could certainly appreciate the sending up of Eamon Dunphy and Frank Stapleton, though the real crowd pleasers proved to be Cooper’s eerily note-perfect Chris De Burgh and the trio’s homage to another big gig in town this weekend, U2, with Murphy’s Larry Mullen Jr consistently deflating Clarke’s posturing as Bono. The most fun, though, was the group’s appearance as The River Tenors, operatically interpreting topical football stories through choruses modelled on terrace chants.

Sadly, all warmth in the big top quickly escaped, along with countless punters, with the appearance of Doktor Cocacolamcdonalds. An acquired taste at any time, the best you can say for the Dok this evening was that his grotesquely despairing clown make-up seemed apposite. After a few isolated, confused titters for a deliberately dire keyboard rendition of Wham’s Last Christmas, the rest of his act was greeted with virtual silence. Naked save for tie and underpants, he started begging for love and stole the only big laugh of his set by complaining that he’d lost his passport and was doomed to stay in a country that hated him.

His legacy was a tent-wide, palpable wariness for the slow-burning philosophy of country troubadour Wilson Dixon. But Jesse Griffin’s creation soon won the crowd with his challenging of platitudes and clichés through homespun numbers like Life and Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, You Do. Whether Griffin has the capacity to develop Dixon far beyond the framework of gentle aphorisms and strumming he’s established over the last few years is questionable, but for a late-night, midsummer gig he was a popular booking.

Friday 24th Jul, '09
Jay Richardson


Show Dates



These comics also appear in:

Andrew Maxwell: Grand Royale

David O'Doherty: Grown Up

Paul Merton's Impro Chums

The Odd Couple


Edinburgh And Beyond 2007

Horne & Corden Is This Funny?

Jack Whitehall At Large

Jack Whitehall Gets Around

John Bishop 2012 arena tour

John Bishop: Going To Work Tour

John Bishop: Supersonic

John Bishop: The Sunshine Tour

John Bishop: Winging It

Paul Merton's Out Of My Head

Sean Lock Live

Sean Lock: Keep It Light

Sean Lock: Lockipedia

Sean Lock: Purple Van Man

AmusedMoose Laugh Off 06 final

Andrew Maxwell: Round Twilight

Comic Abuse

Damian Clark and Andrew Stanley: I Dare Ya!

David O'Doherty Is My Name

doktor cocacolamcdonalds explains all!

Maria Bamford: Plan B

Maxwell's Full Mooners

Paul Merton's Impro Chums

The Wilson Dixon Hour

Young, Gifted And Green

Andrew Maxwell: This Is My Hour

David O'Doherty in World Champion of Some Things


John Bishop: Peddling Stories

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Paul Merton\'s Impro Chums

sml Med LRG

The Dumb Waiter (2004 Fringe)

David O'Doherty Creates Something New Under The Su

John Bishop: Freefall

Maria Bamford

Stephen Frost\'s Impro All Stars

Twelve Angry Men

Andrew Maxwell

David O'Doherty: Small Things

Sean Lock

The Stonewall Gala

Andrew Maxwell

Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award Final

Andrew Maxwell

BBC Comedy Presents... [Manchester 2008]

Brighton Comedy Festival: Best Of The Fest

Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2011

City Life Final Comedian Of The Year 2001

Comedy Store's 30th Anniversary Charity Gala

Hackney Empire New Act Final 2008

Laughing Horse New Act Final 2007

Pecha Kucka KLK with David O'Doherty

Punk Cabaret

Secret Policeman's Ball 2006

Secret Policeman's Ball 2008

Teenage Cancer Trust benefit 2011

A Film With Me In It

Andrew Maxwell: Waxin'

Comedy Reserve

David O'Doherty: It's David O'Doherty Time

Doktor Cocacolamcdonalds: The One Man Rock Opera

Edinburgh and Beyond [2007]

John Bishop: Stick Your Job Up Your Arse

Maxwell's Full Mooners [2007 Fringe]

Sean Lock [2007]

So You Think You're Funny? 2007 final

Stand Up For Animals

Yarnbards [ 2007]

Wilson Dixon Hour

O'Comics 2007

Andrew Maxwell: Supernatural

Andrew Stanley: Some Things That Occured to Me in the Last While That I Thought You Should Know About

David O'Doherty: Let's Comedy

Doktor Docacolamcdonalds: Badly Ranted Thoughts Via The Magic Of Song

Honourable Men Of Art 2008

I Can't Sleep by David O'Doherty

John Bishop: Cultural Ambassador

Keith Farnan: Cruel and Unusual

Paul Merton's Impro Chums [2008]

Sean Lock & Friends At The Fringe

So You Think You're Funny [2008]

Stand Up For Freedom [2008]

Wilson Dixon Rides Again

Comedy Showdown

O'Comic Gala

The Alternative Show

Jimmy Fallon Gala

O'Comics 2008

Andrew Maxwell: The Lamp

Andrew Stanley: On Sale Now

David O'Doherty: David O' Doh-party

Jack Whitehall: Nearly Rebellious

John Bishop: Elvis Has Left The Building

Stand Up For Freedom [2009]

Wild Colonian Boys

Wilson Dixon's American Dream

I Can't Sleep

Andrew Maxwell: Five Nights Only

David O'Doherty: Somewhere Over The David O'Doherty

Jack Whitehall: Learning Difficulties

John Bishop: Sunshine

Keith Farnan: Sex Traffic - How Much Is That Woman In The Window?

Maxwell's Fullmooners

Rupert Pupkin Collective

Sean Lock: Lockipedia [Edinburgh 2010]

Stand-Up For African Mothers

Andrew Maxwell: The Lights Are On

Damian Clark: Stand Up

David O'Doherty Is Looking Up

David O'Doherty Presents: Rory Sheridan's Tales Of The Antarctica

Jack Whitehall And His Father Michael: Back CHat

Jack Whitehall: Let's Not Speak of This Again

Keith Farnan: Money, Money, Money

Maxwell's Fullmooners 2011

Neil Hamburger: Discounted Entertainer

Paul Merton's Impro Chums [2011]

The Wrestling

Andrew Maxwell: That's The Spirit

David O'Doherty Presents 403 Second Masterworks

David O'Doherty: Seize The David O'Doherty

Gearoid Farrelly: Turbulence

Mark Watson's Edinborolympics

Paul Merton's Impro Chums [2012]

Andrew Maxwell: Banana Kingdom

Damian Clark in G'Damo

David O'Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything

Keith Farnan: Fear Itself

Paul Merton's Impro Chums [2013]


The Wrestling II

Andrew Maxwell: Hubble Bubble

Andrew Maxwell: Hubble Bubble

Damian Clark: Go Ahead, Make My Damo

David O'Doherty Has Checked Everything

Neil Hamburger

Andrew Maxwell – Yo Contraire

Damian Clark - It's a Good Day to Damo

David O’Doherty: We Are All in the Gutter, But Some of Us Are Looking at David O'Doherty

Gearoid Farrelly: Gearoid Less Travelled

Keith Farnan: Anonymous

Andrew Maxwell: Slight Return

Damian Clark Can't Slow Down

David O'Doherty: Big Time

Andrew Maxwell: Showtime

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