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Monday 29 May 2023 Dublin: 16°C
# don't make me laugh
Make me a stand-up comedian: Two weeks until my first comedy gig
… And I got to do my first run-through of my set. Here’s how it went.

THERE’S SOMETHING INVIGORATING about seeing a group of people laughing at your jokes (as opposed to laughing at you, which we can all agree is terrifying). “Look!” you think to yourself, “I made them laugh! Nearly all of them!”

You feel superhuman, like gems are falling out of your mouth. You want to ring your mum and tell her you’re funny, you’re actually really funny. You want to tell more jokes, and more, and more.

Then you get off the stage, and you feel like you again, but secretly know that you have this superpower that can be taken out at a moment’s notice.

There are just two weeks to go until all of us in the Gaiety School of Acting‘s stand-up comedy class get to take to the stage and throw our jokes at the audience. And this week, I got to give my routine a go.

Reader, they laughed at it.

It was a huge relief to see that these jokes (most of which were ad-libbed around a set of points that I wanted to cover) actually got people chuckling. I could feel the energy course through my veins as I riffed on the ideas I’d spent the past week thinking about. I could see why comedians do this; why they get up on stage and pour their guts out in an attempt to make people laugh.

Ireland and laughs

IMG_3247 (1) Inside I'm laughing

In Ireland, we love to make people laugh. We get a kick out of being funny. We pride ourselves on our spot-on ribbing and piss-taking. We tend to rely on self-deprecating jokes to ingratiate ourselves to strangers; our comedians are held up as national heroes.

We like to make jokes, but we like to show we can take jokes as well.

Comedy can hold a mirror up to society as we know it – think of Father Ted and its dissection of the grip Catholicism had on Ireland. Think of Scrap Saturday, or the way our politicians and public figures get taken off with precision by impressionists on the national airwaves.

Comedy is necessary, not just to tackle subjects but to give us a bit of relief too – laughing peps you up and cleans out those dusty anxiety-ridden corners of your brain. It makes you feel good.

It made me feel good to make people laugh, and to do so while talking about things that I feel fired up about. It was great, too, to see other people’s sets and how varied they all are. We’re not all talking about the same things, and we all have radically different styles. And yet they all work.

Our teacher, comedian and actress Sharon Mannion, is letting us have a night off the routine for the next class. But the week after, it’s showtime.


Have you any tips? Got a favourite comedian whose work you’d like to share? Just want to tell me ‘women aren’t funny’? That’s what the comments section is for…

Read: Catch up with the rest of the series here>

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