Published on February 16th, 2012 | by Amanda0
The Comedy Interview: Simon O’Keeffe
Simon O’Keeffe is a the resident MC of the Capital Comedy Club at the Ha’penny Inn. He is known for his somewhat harsh opinions on certain subjects and his not-so-subtle way of telling people what he thinks. On Feburary 18th he takes the leap with his debut solo show at The Workman’s Club. I caught up with him recently to talk about those opinions of his and his new show.
So Simon, first solo show, how does that feel?
It’s kinda weird. It’s just something I’ve never done before and it’s about time I done it. I think I’ve always thought if people want to see me they could come see me in the Ha’penny. I’ve been headlining way more over the last few years so I’ve gotten used to doing 30 or 45 minutes. I think it’s also about showing people that I can do an hour or an hour and a half too. It’s because it’s something I haven’t done before I want to do it. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking too, even just nerves about getting the numbers in! But it’s looking good.
What can people expect from the show and also where did the name come from?
It’s just going to funny! I don’t want to ruin it by telling you what I’m going to be talking about! In relation to the name, at one point about a year ago I realised I could easily do the first twenty minutes about stuff that was either within 200 yards of my house or where I grew up. I started listening to Arcade Fire about five years behind everyone else and I love their song “Neighbourhood” so I always said if I did a solo show I would call it Neighbourhood #1. The “(Love, sex, death, the Northside)” bit was the ultimate title, cos all the Arcade Fire songs have something in brackets after them so it was keeping with the theme.
You have been quite scathing of certain comedy nights, would you like to elaborate?
The only ones I have a problem with are the free comedy nights. The way I see it is if all comedy nights were free we would be all out of a job. Speaking from my own opinion, free comedy nights are invariably shite. The standards of talent can be high but if a comedy gig is free in people have no vested interest in it, people wander in and out and I don’t think people are going to respect it. Generally if a gig is free, people will be more likely to heckle or sit there having a chat. I can understand why comedians do them; after all they need the stage time. But it’s like internships; they are allowing themselves to be exploited. There are a few misconceptions about live comedy, one is that there is the likes of Vicar Street and then the crappy open mic nights and nothing in between so when someone goes to one of these crappy (free) nights, they will come out with the opinion that “Oh I went to live comedy before and it was crap”. You don’t want to end up in a situation where there are too many clubs and the public don’t know what the good ones are. No one wants to see a situation where comedians need to go across the water to be successful again.
What made you want to get into comedy?
I was handed the comedy soc by Fred Cooke in UCD. I think I still hold the title for having the most members in the society – something like 2500 members maybe. The first gig I ever ran was Des Bishop MC’ing for Andrew Maxwell and Adam Hills. I fell into comedy sideways really. I did a couple of lunch time debates and turned up at the Comedy Society’s AGM to thank them for addressing my newsletter and they were stuck for committee members so I took on the role of treasurer and I got more involved. I MC’d a gig for Fred, it was of course awful but at the time I thought doing comedy was a great way of getting the girls so continued on and eventually did some more gigs and that’s kinda how it started.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Oh dear God.
Where do you get inspiration for your material from/how often do you change your material?
It’s normally stuff that either happens to me or stuff that I see. Some of the new material I add to jokes happens when I am on stage on the spot. Beside my computer at home I have my calendar, four A4 sheets of paper and about 30 or 40 post – it notes. I have my little scoring system for how jokes do. You just have to keep track of how all your material does. It’s a case of just trying to remember all this stuff. If you are touring you would change your set entirely every few years. On the circuit, I think it changes organically; you would use different material in different situations.
You sometimes can come across as a bit “grumpy” online, where can one see “happy” Simon?
Ha! I only come across as grumpy online cos I’m only grumpy most of the time when I am online! Em…what makes me happy? I don’t know…funny stuff? I am grumpy online cos there is a lot of stuff that I have to deal with online that I don’t want to deal with. Getting a smart phone was probably a bad idea though cos it allows me to do more stuff in bed. Actually being in bed makes me happy. Oh and dogs makes me happy. I love dogs. I like going to the movies too. I once had a row with a guy in the cinema when I brought a girl on a first date to the cinema.
We all know the stereotypes that exist in the comedy world, female comedians not being funny for one. What stereotypes do you face?
The main one I get is the not drinking thing. I haven’t drunk for 9 years. But there are the fair few others who don’t drink so it’s not much of a problem. If someone comes up to you after a gig at 11.30pm and they have been drinking since 9pm, that can get a little awkward cos you are completely sober and they are not. They can become aware of that very quickly and they can become very self-conscious, but that’s the only time it can be a problem. People just need to be sensible about their drinking, especially going over to Edinburgh and that sort of thing.
Okay, because you are quite fond of a tattoo or two, your random question is: Who would you tattoo and what would you give them?
I’d love to give Fred Cooke the spar logo!!
So there you have it ladies and gents, we have learned that Simon is happy in his bed, holds a comedy soc record in UCD and is a damn prepared for this comedy malarky!
You can catch Simon debuting his solo show at the Workman’s Club this Saturday Feburary 18th. Tickets are €10 and are available from Ticketmaster or on the door on the night.