I suppose if yer readin this you’ll most likely know that I’m a stand-up comedian. The ability to roar at strangers comes fairly naturally (it’s why journeys through cities take me forever. No not because I’m bogged with fans, because I’ve a caveman urge to shout at stupid fuckers out the car window).
It’s a class job in a lotta ways but like every job there’s a good percentage of it pure fuckin hardship (even Justin Bieber has a few ‘gway and fuck yerself’ days). It’s not the drivin or flyin or bussin or…ah fuckit travel in general. It’s not the mad bastards you sometimes have to work with who’d give a dose of ire to a jar of vaseline. It’s not even hecklers (I don’t get many oddly enough), I enjoy em. It’s the flat-out disastrous, hiroshima mixed with ebola, “hey let’s stick comedy on in this place, despite us not having a fuckin notion what we’re at” gigs that’d break the spirit of pig ignorant hard bastard sociopath.
Now don’t get me wrong, I take pride in doing shite rooms sometimes. I once struggled on in an hour long show in Edinburgh where a drunk woman broke down crying 5mins in because she’d been boozin all day in remembrance of her “stabbed-to-death father’s” anniversary. Try keepin a lid on that shit for 55mins. But weirdly we got through it without a single (further) loss of life. No, it’s the “ah for fucks sake, whatsgoinonlads gigs”.
So to get quickly to the point and stop flutin around. I got booked to this gig a while back somewhere in East Cork, I think. Not much was explained to me only apparently I was the man for the job (always a shady sign that some smart bollix has dumped this on ya) and a rough location (sometimes this shit is at a paramilitary level).
So off I trek deep into the guts of the wilderness that is East Cork. Passin through one one-horse town after another. I don’t mind the back roads normally, it’s like findin your roots (Christ I’m some bollix for even writing that). But this fuckin drive seemed to go on for ever. It was the kinda drive that’d have a man lookin nervous at the diesel needle. There was no point checkin the phone to make a call, there hadn’t been a signal for a least 20 parishes. But low and behold, out of the darkness as I rounded a corner, up ahead was…. a little less darkness! Like I said, there was a lot of one Horse towns on the journey but this place looked like it had shot the horse, eaten it and hadn’t even seen a horse since Ireland was ruled by the other shower of bollixes. Signs were not good lads. They were down to just one street light, or maybe they were actually just UP to one street light, I couldn’t tell. But at a glance, if I’d spotted Clint Eastwood standin at the other end of the street, wearin a poncho and hat while pointin a 6 shooter at me, he wouldn’t have looked outta place.
The ‘venue’ popped up on my right, a bleak lookin place that unlike most Irish pub exteriors that go for the ‘thousand welcomes’ look, this place goin for gway and fuck off look (they nailed it).
Parked up, I tip on in to place and there isn’t a fuckin sinner in the joint, except this chubby bloke behind the counter who looked he’d had an allergic reaction to a bee-sting or somethin. “Here to do d’comedaay are yuh” says he. “That’s me” says I. The fucker is sharp, this metropolis hadn’t seen a visitor since the vikings and even they didn’t fancy rapin anyone. They just ate their horse.
He doesn’t bother introducin himself or shakin my hand he just fucks off out the front for a smoke. So now I’m left here in this hay barn of a pub/venue in the eerie town (I’m still not sure of the name so let’s call it Silent Hill) wonderin what in the sweet n crispy Jesus is goin on. I shuffle myself to back area behind the stage to contemplate my choices in life (as ya do) when what sounds like a fuckin Deliverance convention burst through the door. There’s people, lots of em. Well the word ‘people’ would suggest that were all capable of upright walking but fuck me lads, one look at this lot and it’s clear that the phrase siter-brother relationship isn’t an uncommon one. I’d swear I can hear someone with 6 fingers playin a banjo.
Now this wouldn’t normally throw me, I’m not too far removed from the hillbilly set myself (Christ sure I’m only keepin the sleeves on my shirts since I moved up the country). But there’s somethin about the whole scenario that seems ‘left of centre’ if ya get me.
But fuckit we’re here now, as the fella says.
And out I go onto stage to lambast these hillbillies. Oddly enough my opening line didn’t go down too well, “how are ye East-Corkonians?” says I. “Ya bollix” says some fucker at the back. I ploughed on regardless but the tone was set. Now often you’ll hear a comedian give out or make excuses that the audience was a bit off, or they didn’t get me because they’re thick and the majority of time these are just that, excuses. But when I describe to you next what I witnessed in the front row, you’ll get a vibe that weirdness of the gig might not be entirely down to me. 250-300 wild lookin savages standin there (yup, they were made stand as the venue owner in his own words said “fuckem lad, I’m not gettin in extra chairs”) and my eye is immediately drawn to 2 blokes (we’ll call em, Ted and Tim), standin in the front row. Both the lads are sporting shotguns hangin over their arms (broken open because they’re gentlemen), wellies and a bag of what turns out to be a dozen dead rabbits bleeding all over the floor. Now far be it from me to take the moral high ground when it comes to huntin, I love me a bit of huntin but CHRIST ON A BIKE AND MARY ON THE HANDLEBARS lads, there’s a time and a place for this carry-on. I couldn’t have been more surprised if Denis Rodman had just been named our local parish Priest. What made the situation even weirder was that not one single fucker I’m the place saw this as bein out if the ordinary. So what do ya do? You fuckin well ask em whats the story, that’s whatcha do. “Story with the guns lads?” says I. “Out huntin t’seevenin” says Tim. “Couldn’t have left the aul guns out in the Jeep or car nah?!” says I. “Didn’t come in a jeep or car, came in a tractor” says Ted. (Fuckin hell lads this is intense). “Well could ye not have left em in the tractor?” says I. “No windaa’s in the tractor” says Ted. “They’d be robbed” says Tim. The 2 fuckers were talkin in tandem, givin me that Children of the Corn dead-eye look while the gang if urchins around looked on like the lads were responsible and thoughtful gun owners. “And the rabbits lads, did the rabbits have to come in too?” says I. And that was that with Tim and says l. They just dead-eyed me in silence, the same way a shark would look at a poor unfortunate seal that was trying to tell it jokes.
And that pretty much set the tone for the remaining 55mins. Well, 54mins actually because right as I was closing the show some bollix decided now would be a perfect time for a fight. 20 maybe 30 (some of these bastards could pass for 2 people (and that was just the women involved)) rough necks clatterin the heads off each other pretty much told me that that was how the show was endin. I ducked out the back because this had all the makins of somethin even Snake Pliskin wouldn’t hang around for. Turns out there WAS no back door, but I wasn’t lettin that stop me. Out the fuckin “windaa” I went. I didn’t give a shit about the pay, I was gettin out of this place. Leggin it to the car I spot the boys tractor, they weren’t lyin, there wasn’t any “windaa’s” there wasn’t even a fuckin cab on the thing.
Into the car, first gear and I’m off. Fuck that place I was thinkin. Why the hell was I stone-walled from beginnin to end? Was it my material? Were they just a bunch of savages who don’t get out much? Christ I’m not that ‘cultural’. Maybe it was the…….. Oh…. for… fucks sake! I know! My openin line, ‘East-Corkonians’!!!!!
See it was right at that point, about a mile outside the town I slowly drive by a sign that reads,
“You Are Now Leaving Waterford. Welcome to Cork”.
Them poor fuckin rabbits must’ve been wanderin over the county line.