My Comedy Hero: Des Clarke on Tommy Tiernan
'He'll say "this is who I am" and he’ll wait til an audience comes to him'
When I was first getting in comedy about 2000, it was a great time for Irish comedy with Dylan Moran and Ed Byrne breaking through. And for me, Tommy Tiernan was someone who was just so mesmerising to watch. What he does as a comedian is draw people in while never pandering to an audience, he never says to a crowd, ‘I’m your pal, let’s talk’ what he does is say ‘this is who I am’ and he’ll wait til an audience comes to him.
I saw him at this raucous Late ‘n’ Live in the old Gilded Balloon in the Cowgate, where everyone died: even the guy sweeping the stage at the interval died on his arse just for being up here. Tiernan walked on and I thought, ‘here we go, they’re not going to take to this storyteller regaling us with whimsical stories about growing up in Ireland’ but he absolutely took the roof off that gig, just by standing still and drawing people in.
He’s spellbinding and can paint pictures with that poetic Irish use of language and just being bloody funny with it. He’s never compromised or tailored what he’s doing for TV or anybody else; he does what makes him happy and is true to himself: that is the strongest quality you can have as a comedian.
Des appears as part of the following dates: Punchline, Perth Concert Hall, Fri 25 Oct and Picture House, Edinburgh, Sat 26 Oct; The Saturday Show, The Stand, Glasgow, Sat 26 Oct; Jongleurs, Glasgow, Fri 8 & Sat 9 Nov. Des can also be heard every weekday morning at 6am on Capital Radio.