Published on January 24th, 2012 | by Amanda0
The Comedy Interview: Aidan Killian
Aidan Killian is the thinking man’s comedian. He is the regular MC at Anseo on Camden which recently won an award for best comedy venue in Dublin. I recently described Aidan as a “very intelligent comedian whose observations on life’s problems are hilarious”. I sat down to have an intense chat with Aidan about Anseo and all things comedy related.
What does it feel like to have won an award for best comedy venue on Dublin?
It feels great. I love it. It’s just really cool that more people voted for us than for Enda Kenny. I already know what it is, it’s a small room with a great atmosphere and we get great acts. The truth is it’s not the best comedy club in the world, it might be the happiest or the most fun, it’s not the biggest or the most profitable but it’s a lot of fun to play. The acts like it, the audience like it and I love it. The award is irrelevant. It’s not going to make it any better or worse but it just feels good to get acknowledgement. It’s kind of like when you do well at school and your Mum and Dad say “Well done son, we love you even more now”. It’s nice because it came from the audiences too. You could also look at it from the point of view that I am a successful harasser…
You made quite the career change from investment banker to stand-up comedian. What made you do it? And do you have any regrets?
Well, I knew if I stayed in banking that I could be successful. What successful meant for me at that time was making money, but when you already know you can achieve something, then you’ve sort of achieved it, but it didn’t make me happy. I didn’t care. I had more money than I could spend at the time and that didn’t make me happy. Now I wasn’t unhappy, I wasn’t suicidal or miserable, but I realised that this wasn’t the right road for me and I wasn’t adding to society. I was just a pawn in a game which is about making money and when you realise money is just notes and is backed by nothing and is just meaningless anyway and it’s all just one big con, well then, who cares? It doesn’t make any difference. So I just decided to do what I love and comedy is what I love doing. In relation to regrets, I don’t have any. I even had a dream recently where my old boss approached me and offered me a job for a short period of time and said he was willing to pay way more than normal so I could have worked for three months and made lots of money. I just laughed at him. But that’s the reality. I wouldn’t do it again.
Who is your biggest comedy inspiration?
There’s nobody in Ireland who inspires me. I love Tommy Tiernan’s work on stage. There are some people I really enjoy, John Colleary, Carol Tobin and Enda Muldoon, I love watching these people on stage. Oh and Dave McSavage, he’s creative and original. I mean they are great acts. Bill Hicks is inspiring. He’s the only person I could watch the same thing from, over and over again. George Carlin too. It’s poetry. You keep learning from it. You feel from it. You become part of it. It’s not just a man telling jokes. At the moment I inspire myself, to constant never-ending improvement at everything I do.
You have gigged in various countries around the world. How do audiences differ?
It’s kinda funny with audiences cos they are just people. You see we as comedians can always say “Oh, they were a shit audience” but it’s what happens in that room at that time, it’s the symbiotic relationship between you and the connection you have. It’s not just them and you; it’s what in the middle. What happens between the words, what do they feel, what do they hear, what stimulates them on a number of different levels, and can you allow that to exist between you and them, and it’s that creation of space that’s great. There are cultural differences in audiences too. I’ve gigged in Israel where they wouldn’t be into putting people down, so if the joke was at the expense of another human being they wouldn’t laugh; if you insult one person you insult all. For me, my jokes are not just puns. My stuff is about how you feel. I bring them along on a journey, there is a man going through the emotions of fear, anger and love. Every human had these emotions so they can associate with them. If you do a gig where there is a group of lads who have been drinking all day and can barely say their names, that’s probably not going to be an ideal audience. But in general if there is a full room with a light, proper sound and set up you should be able to create a memorable experience
Describe the type of comedian you are.
I never know to answer this. I’m just me. I’m just Aidan. I used to be a banker and now I’m a comedian, tomorrow I could be a martial artist. There is no other me, it’s just my journey, sharing it with people who will listen. I don’t really have a type… a storytelling comedian maybe? Because really I just pick a true story about my life and just make it funny. It’s about being interesting, so I talk about what I think is most interesting. Some of the audience think it’s interesting, some even maybe think it’s fascinating…
What goes through your head when someone heckles you?
It depends on the time and where it is coming from. Sometimes people just say something because they feel they have to because they are a bit drunk. However, if I feel it’s coming from a place of badness and they are just trying to interrupt, well that’s not nice, then I am always thinking how can I fix this and make all the room feel safe in the nicest way possible. My aim isn’t to go ripping into someone. I’ve got a microphone, it’s my job, and I don’t want to belittle someone. So what if a person is drunk? I don’t want to be person to point it out, everyone already knows it. Often I feel sorry for them because they want attention. It’s the worst when you are telling a story and it’s building up and someone heckles at the wrong time, just before the punchline and that story is lost. That’s frustrating but you just have to let it go.
Why should people come out to live comedy?
People should come out to live comedy because it’s an amazing experience for very little money. You can have people in front of you, sharing stories, telling jokes and making you laugh, that’s deadly, way better than the cinema! Also it can go wrong. You get moments where it goes wrong and you can get to witness this and share all these emotions. There’s obviously going to be laughter, which releases endorphins, in turn making you happier. The happier you are the more positive things you attract because that’s the law of the universe.
The general perception is that most comedians are not happy people. You seem to be. What’s your secret?
I do a lot of things. I surround myself with the people I want in my life. I surround myself with beautiful things. I’m nice to myself, I try to eat well. I only eat organic food as much as possible, preferably Irish grown. I do drink alcohol which isn’t ideal. I do a bit of exercise. The most important thing is every day when I get up I think positive thoughts, sometimes it’s hard to do it because there is so much negativity in the world but in my little universe in my head I try to think positively. That’s it really. Oh, and don’t be nasty to people!
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to an up and coming comedian?
The best piece of advice I can give is to allow the audience to see who you truly are. When you can be yourself on stage you can create something that’s real.
So is there is a limit to how much you are willing to tell on stage?
Well, I try to have nothing to hide. There’s probably one family secret that I wouldn’t share, but that’s for other people. There are things in my life that I wouldn’t do again, but they are part of me so I just share them with people if they want to hear them. I think it’s a great thing to be able to be true and be able say things the way it is and of course make it funny because you have to make people laugh. If the audience sees it’s real and they are getting a sense of that, they pay attention and going to want to be there and more importantly want to come back.
What are you plans for the future?
The future plans I can share with you (ooh mystery) are that I would like to have a weekend comedy club in a friendly atmosphere, getting as many people laughing as regularly as possible. That’s the immediate aim. Of course I’d like to be doing the Olympia and Vicar Street, etc. but I’m not sure I want people walking up to me on the street except of course if it was offer me money to play with my male sexual organ…
Random question time. So, Aidan, as you are all about the truth… tell me two truths and one lie about yourself.
(Lost for words for a few minutes) Right I’ve got them now! I’ve had the same phone for 10 years, I think Obama had the best interests of the people at heart and I once dressed up in my friends sisters underwear (I am going to let you decided which are the truths and which is the lie… have fun)
So there you have it. We have learned that Aidan is a master of the truth, eats only organic food where possible and would like lovely ladies to approach him on the street. If you would like to see Aidan in his stand-up form, head to Anseo every Wednesday where he will not only be making you laugh, but trying to give you sound advice through the medium of laughter too.