London Irish Comedy Festival: Ten minutes with… Jarlath Regan

London Irish Comedy Festival: Ten minutes with… Jarlath Regan

Comedian Jarlath Regan chats to The Irish Post ahead of his gig this Saturday night as part of the London Irish Comedy Festival Edinburgh Preview season, which runs until June 14 at the London Irish Centre in Camden.

What makes you laugh? 

I'd love to say something high brow but let's be honest the things that make most of us laugh on a regular basis are the dumbest things in the world - like You've Been Framed. Apart form that I really find delusion funny.

Any comedy that's based around a character who is oblivious to how the rest of world sees them makes me laugh a lot.

When's the last time you really laughed? 

Yesterday my cousin sent me a picture of his kid's face as he reacted to a surprise and it made me laugh from the pit of my stomach.

What's the best joke you've ever heard?

Reginald D Hunter did a joke on stage about four years ago that was so funny and so unexpected I had to stand and walk away from my seat. I laughed so hard I couldn't catch my breath.

What made you get into comedy?

It is one of the best jobs in the world. You have professional footballer and comedian. Those are the two great jobs in this world. I got into it because I can't play football and I love comedy more than anything.

Who is your favourite comedian? 

That's a difficult one. I genuinely have several favourites and none of them perform in the same style.  At the moment I am really loving a guy called Neal Brennan from America.

What's the most common misconception about comedians? 

You'd have to say it's the idea that we are great craic and waiting to tell jokes every time someone asks us.

Comedians are not great fun all the time just as sprinters aren't running around all the time. Once a day someone asks me to tell a joke. I hate when comics complain about this so I have a few jokes ready should I get asked.

Any situations you just can’t find humour in?

I think it all depends on timing. There are situations that are just misery for the people involved and joking about them while their going through that is wrong.

But with everything there comes a time when we need to laugh.  Sometimes that moment comes directly afterwards and other times you have to wait years.

How do you deal with hecklers? 

Depends on the situation. If I'm in the middle of something that I want to finish, ignoring them is the best thing to do. If they start as soon as you walk on, I'll try to explain to them that this is not how it works and that can be funny.

I mean most of the time they've just misunderstood how this comedy thing works. Some of them think they are helping you! Hecklers are people like you and me. And sometimes they are just drunk. In that case I'll try to calm them down and get them thrown out.

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a gig?

About a month ago in Glasgow I saw a flash of light from a table next to the stage. I turned around this lady's hair was on fire. She had leaned forward and a tea light had set it off.

A man dove across from the table behind and put it out. There was pandaemonium in the room. That would have to be up there.

Do your friends and family think you are funny? 

You'd have to ask them.

Is there a difference in UK/Irish humour? 

There is and there's differences within Irish and English humour.  People have different frames of reference and histories so they're going to find some things funnier than others. Boring but true answer.

Should comedians have lines they don't cross? Do you? 

People will always disagree on this but I think it's more about timing and how you cross the lines.  If you just aggressively wade into a topic like the holocaust then you're in trouble.

But if you are capable of talking about subjects that are sensitive to a group of people in a thoughtful way - you know with a bit of elegance - you can joke about anything. That's been proven again and again.

It's probably the main reason most comics just talk about the difference between men and women and simple stuff like that!

What can we expect from your set at the London Irish comedy festival? 

Mainly it'll be jokes, stories and audience messing.  It's a show about figuring things out - as a Dad, as a man, as an Irishman living in England, as an idiot dealing with smart people, as smart person dealing with idiots.

Tell us a joke right now...

What's the first sign of Madness? Suggs walking up your driveway.