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Funny Talk: Alison Spittle

It’s been a darn good few years for Ballymore belle Alison Spittle, with our national broadcaster loving her almost as much as her growing live fanbase.

On the RTE front, not only did Alison’s semi-autobiographical sitcom, Nowhere Fast, prove a smash hit, the homecoming queen revisited old haunts and the country life in her revealing documentary Culchie Club.

Despite all de media love, it’s on the stage that Alison Spittle gets her biggest kicks, and as she heads to The Whale on Friday, September 4th – the self-named Worrier Princess launching our much-loved theatre’s return – we caught up with the Mullingar mirth merchant to find out who gives her de chuckles

I started comedy when I was working for iRadio with Bernard O’Shea, who suggested I should try it, and then sorted a gig supporting PJ Gallagher.

I thought it was simply a chance to meet PJ Gallagher and tell all my friends, so I did it. Being onstage was the best feeling I’ve ever felt in my life, and I’ve basically been trying to chase that same high ever since. I did my first solo gig in Portlaoise and I had a good time. All I did was talk about my granny and a hot tub.

My next gig was in the Battle of the Axe, run by Tony Ferns – he supported me and a lot of new comedians. I used to hold a sandwich board in Temple Bar, trying to get tourists into the Battle, and I was also a door person for the comedy club. This allowed me stage time, and I got to develop loads as a comedian. The Battle of the Axe is the petri dish of Irish comedy.

After the radio career petered out, I really had nothing to lose with giving comedy a proper go. And here are some feckers who have inspired me to do so…

My first comedy hero is Conor O’Toole. He’s the funniest comedian in Ireland. I saw him blow away Vicar Street this year, and his show, Deadline!, is a comedy show which requires the audience to make a newspaper. It sold out its whole run in Dublin Fringe, and got five stars off The Irish Times.

Davey Reilly is a gifted MC and thoughtful comedian. He’s taken over The Comedy Cellar, Ireland’s longest-running comedy night, and the line-ups have been stellar.

Julie Jay is an up-and-coming Irish comedian who’s progressing at an alarming rate. She has funny bones, and I can’t wait until the whole of Ireland falls for her. She’s got a podcast with fellow great comedian Emma Doran, so keep an eye out for that.

Maria Bamford is very open about her mental health worries in the funniest way possible. I flew over to see her gig in London; she’s the only comedian I would do that for. She is amazing.

Maeve Higgins is my first beloved comedian, and the longer she goes on for, the stronger my admiration builds. I’d listen to her read the phone book if they still existed. 

You can catch the extraordinary Alison Spittle at The Whale on Friday, September 4th. Do it!