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Having already wooed the bejiggers out of Greystones in June, as part of the Improv Comedy Night, Sharon Mannion returns to The Whale with not one but two shows this autumn. 

More than just a pretty and pretty bewildered face, the woman not only knows how to be funny, without a script, but she’s pretty darn great with one too. As anyone who has witnessed Sharon’s turn as the immaculate Concepta in TV’s Bridget & Eamon.

And now, with her own show, The Curse Of The Button Accordion, coming to Greystones on Thursday, September 20th, and Sharon joining forces once again with Joe Rooney (Father Ted, Killinaskully) and Danny Kehoe (Red Rock, Moone Boy) for The Comedy Improv Horror Show on Saturday, October 20th, Mannion would appear to be at the top of her game.

Having risen rapidly up through the ranks in recent years – thanks to the likes of Moone Boy, Roy and Irish Pictorial Weekly – it’s onstage that Sharon has the most fun. Which is why she teamed up with buddy Joe and even bigger buddy Danny for their shared nights of unscripted mayhem and unbridled silliness.

As the lady prepares to bring the damned funny to Greystones twice againwe asked Sharon for her comedy inspirations and, firstly, how the hell she got suckered into this ridiculous line of work

I went to acting college with every intention of being a serious actor, to the point that I used to get really upset when I got cast in the comic and quirky roles. When I left, I got the odd gig here and there but things didn’t really take off until I started doing improv. I loved everything about it, and for the first time in my life, I enjoyed being funny. I started doing stand up and writing sketches as well, and that kind of led on to everything else.

These days the bulk of my work is comedy. I perform weekly with the Dublin Comedy Improv, have appeared in shows like Republic of Telly, Roy, Irish Pictorial Weekly and, most recently, Bridget & Eamon. I still do the odd serious role, which is lovely – I have a small part in the recently released Michael Inside, which has just won an IFTA.

I’m also, of course, currently touring my self-penned one-woman show, The Curse of the Button Accordion, which is a comedy about my life growing up in rural Roscommon – can’t wait to bring that to Greystones…

My inspirations

Ryan Stiles
It’s probably no surprise, but growing up I was a HUUUUUUGGGEEEE fan of the imrov show Whose Line is it Anyway? on Channel 4. This was long before I even really knew what improv was, or that I could do it myself on a real live stage. Ryan Stiles was a personal favourite, years later, I retrospectively gained a newfound respect for Colin Mochrie and his set up skills.

Tommy Tiernan
Tommy Tiernan was definitely my biggest stand-up inspiration. I just loved his truth on stage. I’m still a big fan and I love his chat show. I’m shocked that people are shocked that he’s such a good interviewer; to me, his genuine interest in people has been evident from the early days.

I could watch Frasier all day, and I often do. The characters, the storylines, the language. It’s the perfect sitcom as far as I’m concerned. My husband and I even included a quote from Frasier Crane in our wedding day booklet – ‘Love is an awesome force, it can make us do things we never imagined. For you see, we don’t actually choose love, it chooses us. And once it has, we are powerless to do anything about it.’ Perfect.

Amy Poehler
Where do I start with this woman? She’s basically my God. Parks and Recreation is another favourite sitcom, and she plays Leslie Knope to perfection. I’ve recently re-read her book, Yes, Please, and it was even better second time around. Somebody once told me I was like the Irish Amy Poehler, and I nearly cried with happiness.

Will Ferrell
He just absolutely tickles my funny bone. I regularly find myself down a YouTube rabbit hole of clips of his. Outtakes, on chat shows, old SNL footage – it doesn’t matter, I’ll watch anything that he’s in.

Father Ted
No list like this would be complete without mentioning Father Ted. It’s basically the best sitcom ever made. The end.

Derry Girls
I’m firmly on the Derry Girls bandwagon. I loved it. I especially loved that it was a bit rough around the edges in parts – that only added to its charm in my opinion. I can’t wait for the second series.

The Nualas
I loved the Nualas growing up; I used to watch them on latenight stand-up shows on BBC2. Again, this was long before I really knew what live comedy was. Years later, I got to work them when Sue was unavailable for a tour of theirs. It was a lovely moment for me. It always feels great to work with strong females who have effectively paved the way for the rest of us.

You can find out more about Sharon’s solo show, The Curse of The Button Accordion, on Thursday, September 20th here, and her Comedy Improv Horror Show with Joe & Danny on Saturday, 20th October right about here.

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