As some of you may remember I was overjoyed to come across the wonderful Niamh Marron recently at a gig in Whelan’s. So much so that I stalked her on Facebook and begged her to let me interview her. She of course said yes. I sat down to chat to her about life as a comedian and the bits in between!
How did you get into comedy?
When I was in college I always had an interest in comedy, I was starting to lose interest in my course so I decided to mix my photography and my love of comedy together and did an end of year presentation so I got Dave McSavage, Robbie Bonham, Eleanor Tiernan and Fred Cooke in a photo in mundane poses and then contrasting that with their onstage stuff. That was the start of it. Then I started working for a photography studio but that went bust! I do some of the comedian’s posters etc for Edinburgh but now that’s over I’ll be constantly gigging. Which is enough! Washing my hair and gigging takes most of my time!
I do love the hair I have to say, I’m sure people remember you for it?
Yes! I could never hide from anyone! It’s good though, it’s memorable! If people remember me for that I’m happy.
Your humour had been described as “filthy” by many… do you think you are?
I’m not! Well I am… When I’m at home and I write something that isn’t dirty or hasn’t got a curse word in it, I get so excited and think I’m on to something! I find it very hard to write clean stuff though. I think people describe me as filthy cos they only remember the stuff they want to remember!
Where is your favourite venue to play and why?
Oh that’s the International, because it’s so well known, because I’m very “RAWR” I don’t like holding a microphone which works in there and because everyone is there to see comedy and you can rock a small room. Also cos I can touch the audience!
What is the funniest story you have from a gig?
Well I’m barred from Westmeath! I was described as “disgraceful and unacceptable”. The audience seemed to be having a laugh but the woman over the gig said people got up and walked out. Now they could have been going to the toilet, we don’t know!
So how much do you think you can get away with on stage?
I’ve listened to people like Eleanor Tiernan and Tommy Tiernan who have said they always like people to take risks. If you take a risk, and you get away with it, you’re thought a lot more of. If it doesn’t work, you learn from it and change it up a bit. Your either going to love me or hate me and I don’t mind people hating me. That’s the thing about comedy, everyone has their own opinion. I think the more you act like your only messing, the more the audience is going to think that. I don’t think anything is too far. I think my whole show is too far, so if people take offence to one thing, they should take offence to the whole show!
What’s been your proudest moment so far in your comedy career?
I did a gig in the Ha’penny one night and there was a crowd of Scottish women in who were really loud and giving the other comedians a hard time. I went out and did my usual stuff, got them onside and then made a joke about kids and cancer and they hated me after that! They turned their backs on me and all. I eventually got them back though. I remember people being shocked that I got them back cos they really did hate me!!
I can’t imagine the whole female comedian stereotype being a problem for you?
Well I feel that people think all female comedians are not funny so therefore you have to be funny from the first second you walk out on stage. I think like a man though! People actually come up to me after gigs and say that they hate female comedians but that they thought I was hilarious. It’s funny though if there are two female comedians on the same bill, I hate going on after the other one as I think people in the audience will get up and leave! It’s tough to get through that, but if you’re funny, you’re funny!
Who is your favourite comedian?
In the world? That would be Joan Rivers. She is so sharp and unbeatable. In Ireland? My favourite would be Eleanor Tiernan. She takes risks, she always tries new material. I think she’s brilliant.
What’s the best heckle you have ever had?
Hmm.. I don’t really get heckled! I think its cos I talk so fast and people are scared of me! I’ve had nothing nasty that I can think of…..yet! But if I do get people talking in a gig I generally deal with them very well, I put them slightly back in their place!
How do you come up with your material?
I take it from real life. I can’t write material though. I find it too academic. I’m too creative for that! I generally write stuff into my phone at night time when I’m bed.
Finally Niamh, If you were an animal what would you be and why?
Ooooh let me think! A hawk! Because they are fierce and free, and because you should never cage a wild bird!