Cork comedian Aodh Rua Fitzgerald is helping put on a show with a difference in Cork. He tells SARAH HORGAN why laughing at the banking industry is a great recessionary cure
A SERIES illness would be enough to dampen even a comedian’s spirit. But Cork man Aodh Rua Fitzgerald (above) is an exception. Cancer did little to stunt the 20-year-old’s comedic progression — indeed, if anything, it increased his productivity.
“I decided to weigh up the benefits that accompany having a serious illness and the only one I could come up with was free travel,” he says.
“In a bid to take full advantage of this, I vowed never to turn down a gig regardless of the venue’s location. I even travelled to the North of Ireland to play to an audience of eight people.”
And it seems the hard work has paid off.
Currently in remission, Aodh Rua is now fronting the comedy society in UCC, along with his friend Neil O’Rourke, and preparing to MC the Cork premiere of the show Stand-Up Against The Bankers.
The show, which is the brainchild of Aidan Killian and Abie Philbin Bowman, centres on Abie, a former banker with the once influential (now disgraced) Bear Sterns.
Five years ago, he foresaw the demise of our Celtic Tiger and responded by leaving his job, despite having a sizeable mortgage on a house in Florida which he had never seen.
The way in which he coerced the banks into accepting liability for the property, through his knowledge of how they worked the system, forms a key part of this story.
Aodh Rua explains how his attitude to his comedy has changed.
“When you’re in hospital for a lengthy period, you start to crave fresh air, which makes the thought of leaving Cork all the more appetising.
“Having grown tired of the hospital material, I gradually became detached from the act to the point where I felt like I was no longer in the room.
“Words of advice to the tune of ‘Don’t become the cancer comedian’ from celebrity comic Dara O’ Briain resonated with me deeply.
“At the time it made complete sense. Everyone has encountered a comedian who lives to shock an audience, only to bask in the uncomfortable silence that follows his act.
“It has to be said my illness was too good an opportunity to overlook (comedy-wise that is) but there is a point when you no longer want to perform material just because you can get away with it.
“After seeing Abie and Aidan perform together, I knew this was the kind of comedy I wanted to aspire to. So much of the humour we have become accustomed to is barren of educational value. Humour can be informative while still being entertaining and I believe Abie and Adrian prove this balance can be achieved.
“Both comedians might be controversial, but in a thought-provoking, as opposed to a pointless, sort of way.
“Their comedy aims to challenge people, which is unusual considering it has seeped into mainstream media.
“Much of the time comedy on television is diluted to the point that its message has been weakened. In some ways, comedy has become more like a friendly exchange than a thought-provoking narrative.”
The Cork leg of the Stand-Up Against the Bankers tour was organised by the UCC Comedy Society in conjunction with the university’s Government and Politics society. It takes place on Wednesday, October 10, at 7.45pm.