Jarlath Regan: 'I miss the craic in London and people whinging about Brexit'

Jarlath Regan: 'I miss the craic in London and people whinging about Brexit'

HE made a name for himself with his hugely successful Irishman Abroad podcast, but comedian Jarlath Regan is no longer abroad.

The Kildare native, who was raised on the Curragh, is now an Irishman at home.

After ten years living in England, based in London and later Hertfordshire, he and his family returned to the motherland last year.

Why? you ask. Well, because “home is home”.

But his podcast continues, he makes regular visits to the Hertfordshire town he left behind and he’ll be gigging across the UK this year on his new standup tour.

Anyone would think he’s not quite over his time as an Irishman living abroad.

“Oh, I miss quite a lot about living there if I’m being honest,” he told The Irish Post this week.

“People whinging about Brexit, people cycling on the footpath, even the traffic lights going to orange first.

“But mostly I miss the craic I used to have with the people,” he adds.

“By and large Brits are good fun and up for a laugh,” Regan explains.

“You might find a few dry shites who give them a bad name, but they have those in Ireland too. We just keep them hidden in the corners of pubs.”

Jarlath Regan is touring his Yer Man show across Britain and Ireland this year

It was 2013 when Regan first landed in London to tackle the comedy circuit with his standup routines.

Six months later he created the Irishman Abroad podcast series, which saw him interviewing well-known Irish people who had also emigrated from home.

It quickly grew a mass audience and won critical acclaim from the industry at large.

Over the years Regan has interviewed all manner of Irish icons.

From the likes of Hozier, Sharon Horgan and Brian O’Driscoll to Chris O’Dowd, Boy George and Aisling Bea, there are few who have yet to sit down for a chat with the podcast king.

Today the series, which bills itself as featuring ‘the greatest Irish people of all time’, has branched out further.

It now also includes regular episodes of Irishman Running Abroad, which features chat about all things running related with Irish Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan, as well as the Irishman in America series, where US-based Irish journalist Marion McKeone chats to Regan about matters of the day Stateside.

“I think it’s genuine curiosity,” Regan says when asked what drives him to continue the podcast more than a decade after it launched.

“To interview people you need to have a bottomless well of curiosity about them and their lives. I never grow tired of hearing the stories of others,” he explains.

“From Bob Geldof to AP McCoy, Sharon Horgan to Imelda May - the stories Irish people have and the way they tell them, that’s our superpower.

“I love it as much now as I ever did.”

The Kildare-born comedian and podcaster recently moved back to Ireland

In all those years Regan has never struggled to find a topic to tackle on the podcast, nor a guest to chat to.

And while he doesn’t have a favourite guest so far - “I’ve got a lot of love for each of the episodes,” he says, “they’re like your kids, you love them all for different reasons” - he does have one interviewee that he has yet to secure.

“Naturally I’d love to interview Roy Keane,” he says.

“I think we all know why. He’s one of the most interesting, intelligent and funny Irish icons of all time.”

But while he waits for the call from Keano, Regan has the small matter of a lengthy standup tour to attend to.

Launched last year, his Yer Man tour will keep him on the road at venues across Britain and Ireland until September.

So, what can we expect from it?

“Honestly, an evening of pure laughter and escape from the overwhelming bleakness of the world,” he says.

“All I’m focused on in this show is making the audience laugh until it hurts,” he explains.

“So far that’s been the feedback anyway. If you need that abdominal and facial workout that you can only find through comedy, then this is the show for you.”

Given his fairly recent move home to Ireland, Regan admits “change is the big theme of the show”.

“I moved my family home to Ireland after ten years in the UK and to say it’s been a Crocodile Dundee fish out of water experience is to underestimate how tricky that move was,” he says.

“The readjustment of that, well this is a big part of the show.

“Ireland and England changed a lot over the years and so did we, as people.

“It is hilarious how tricky navigating a new place is. It’s even funnier when you thought you knew it,” he adds.

When asked what prompted the move, Regan jokes “I’m on the run from the police but I tell people I wanted my son to go to secondary school in Ireland” before admitting “home is home and we all missed Ireland a lot”.

“But weirdly we now find ourselves going back to our old town in Hertfordshire on holidays,” he adds.

And back in Hertfordshire is where Regan will find himself again this weekend, where he has a gig planned in Radlett on Friday, March 1. The following week he will be on stage at the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire in London.

Impressively, the comedian has sold out every one of his shows since the tour started last year and these are likely to be no different.

It’s something he finds “truly overwhelming" he says.

“We’ve sold out every single show since September and had to add extra dates all over the place,” Regan explains.

“The thing that makes me happiest though, is the response in the room on the night,” he adds.

“People know me best for my Instagram and Facebook clips, so I think they expect me to play the hits.

“Instead, they get a brand new hour of stuff they’ve never heard before. Seeing that stuff fly is very special and brings me a lot of joy.”

Regan created the award-winning Irishman Abroad podcast after moving to London in 2013

In the months ahead Regan’s gigs move between Britain and Ireland on nearly a weekly basis.

So how well does his material travel and do the same jokes land in England as they would in Ireland?

“It’s never the exact same show, on any night,” Regan says.

“Changing it up, introducing even newer stuff into the mix and messing with the audience is the spice of live comedy life.

“So yes, it all works every night, but I make it my business to change it and give every town something a bit special.”

And it’s on those stages in those towns that Regan is most content.

“Of all my work, standup definitely makes me happiest,” he admits.

“It’s a tightrope walk like no other. The stakes are so high, so the payoff is so big when you pull it off.”

He added: “If people haven’t been to a standup show yet, like a full show not a club gig, which is fine but not the same, book it.

“There really is nothing quite like it in entertainment.”

For Regan, the standup tour, which brings him back to the country that was a temporary home for so many years, provides an ample opportunity to reflect.

“My whole life has been flipped on its head so many times in the past decade I sometimes can’t remember which way is up,” he says.

“Between kidney donations, podcasts, running marathons with Sonia O’Sullivan and now this crazy tour with the standup, I need to lie down a lot,” he adds.

And what advice would he give his ten years younger self today?

“Don’t take yourself too seriously.”

Jarlath Regan brings his Yer Man tour to the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London on Friday, March 8.  Click here for full gig listings and tickets.