Hist-erical Tiernan visits College

By Hetty Hughes

Winner of the 2006 “Ireland’s Funniest Living Person Award” Tommy Tiernan addressed a packed Chamber in the GMB on 20th January, whilst taking time out from his sell out run at Vicar Street. This renowned and incredibly gifted comic entertained the room as a guest of the Hist for over an hour, with tales about his childhood, education, stand-up experience and even his children.
After confessing to the crowd about being incredibly nervous about speaking that day, Tiernan went on to explain the “lethal” nature of his profession.
Tiernan, a passionate speaker, regaled the audience with anecdotes of his experiences on the comedy circuit. An altercation over material with Des Bishop, blaming a bad gig on Andrew Maxwell along with descriptions of how different countries and even counties received his comedy were a few of the stories he gave in response to the audience’s probing questions. Tiernan also humbly confessed to preferring a smaller, more intimate performance setting as it makes “more magic possible” between him and the audience. As a well-seasoned professional, Tiernan attributes his success to a true love for the “simple, most wonderful art form” that he considers stand-up comedy to be.
Inevitably, the controversial aspects of his humour came to the forefront. In 2009 Tiernan gave an infamous response in a pre-performance interview regarding anti-Semitism, a response he confessed almost stopped his career dead. At the time, Archbishop Diarmud Martin described tiernan’s comments as “offensive to all who feel revulsion concerning the Holocaust, one of the most horrific events in human history”.
Tiernan described how he used to “delight” in verbalising the greatest source of tension in the room in order to gain a reaction. Today however he can make light of the situation, affirming that the Jewish community had every right to be concerned over his remarks: “After the trouble they’ve had, you’d be worried too!”
For a man refused entry to the priesthood due to his lack of academic success, Tiernan gave every impression of being a highly intelligent, shrewd and discerning professional. His run at Vicar Street has currently sold over 21,000 tickets.