RAG week: a week dedicated to raising and giving money to the charities around us. And what better way to raise money than at an outrageous comedy event? The Laughter Lounge by O’Connell Bridge hosted the Father Ted headliners Patrick McDonnell and Joe Rooney, more commonly recognised as ‘Eoin McLove’ and ‘Father Damo’, in an event organised by S2S and Trinity Ents.
Upon arrival, we were ushered downstairs into a red room lit by dim lights and scattered with candles on tables. I sat down comfortably beside my best friend and her boyfriend (comfortable due to the generous leg space, not the fact that I was third-wheeling). Our free cocktails were brought to us as we waited for the first act to take the stage. The room quickly filled up, due to the incentive of free cocktails before 7.30pm, and it was interesting to see the room held an eclectic group. Ranging from a group of men in suits to college students, this was clearly an event that appealed to a wide audience. A heady mix of what looked like a nightclub, only fragranced by the cheesy odour of nachos, made for a relaxed atmosphere.
Our host for the evening, Ian, secured not just our momentary attention but a steady round of applause all evening; his slagging of the audience ensured people were engaged from start to finish. And it’s clear this playful banter rubbed off on audience members. One couple on their first date summarised most people’s experience of the view-obscuring first row, playfully heckling those nearest the stage by pleading them to “please go away!”
Peter Flanagan was the first up on stage in the three-part show. He joked about controversial topics such as abortion and Ireland and the UK’s relationship. A brief nod to Father Ted was made with “A Lovely Girls Competition” which delighted the crowd but must have confused any non-viewers as two girls paraded around orange traffic cones and gave their loveliest laugh.
After a fifteen-minute interval, where an abundance of nachos and cocktails were swiftly consumed by the audience, Patrick McDonnell took to the stage. Immediately he had the audience in fits of laughter with his Father Ted catchphrase, “I have no willy.” A favourite joke with the audience was his bemoaning of the Leaving Cert. Calling on the Americans and Europeans in the crowd he told them how difficult the Leaving Cert was and how we all had to do “about twenty subjects”. His tongue-in-cheek bit about the subject he failed – masturbation – was a crowd pleaser , giving us reasons as to why it was “too hard” and how he had “failed the oral”.
Joe Rooney was the last act that night and he proved his immense talent not just in comedy but musically, whipping out a guitar to make up cheeky songs. He told us about his dislike of strip clubs, remembering the first time he went to one. He joked that all he could think about when giving the strippers money was “how many sandwiches I could have bought”.There was a great moment of insight where he pointed out how much he spent on vet bills and it was what he thought about as he passed a homeless man on the street: “We treat animals better than we do humans.”
A mixture of a social gathering and truly funny acts made the evening a thoroughly enjoyable way to raise money for charities. It was a fundraising strategy that was well-executed, with the Laughter Lounge being an ideal venue; it made the evening a completely chilled-out affair, without a pressurised atmosphere to fundraise that might be more prevalent in bidding events. If you like helping people, having a laugh and drinking free cocktails with friends then keep an eye out for the next comedy fundraiser.