Dublin’s comedy scene has been described as being relatively quiet for some years but it seems that things have changed and the future looks bright for potential Irish comedians.
Offaly native and comedian, Edwin Sammon, spoke of his experience with the Irish comedy scene and his thoughts on the growing industry.
Edwin, who began gigging part time in 2011 at local comedy clubs such as The Ha’Penny Inn, has experienced success in recent years earning himself a permanent role as Father Gabriel on the RTÉ sitcom Bridget and Eamon after his period on the Republic of Telly. When speaking about how he started in comedy, Edwin mentioned his comedy inspiration. “I always liked comedy but it was when I saw Eddie Izzard do all this weird stuff about Greek gods and history [and] all these weird characters and I was like ‘oh right you can do it like that, you don’t have to just get up and tell jokes.’”
Edwin’s dreams of comedy stemmed from a desire to be an actor at a young age, “I wanted to be an actor, I remembered saying this to a teacher at the time and she told me about a friend of hers who was an actor and spent most of his time unemployed and that kind of put me off.
“I thought ‘well I’m just little old Eddie from the midlands town Birr, I can’t do that.’”
As time went on he proved himself wrong, with comedy nights planned for December 2018 in Riff Raff Comedy Club. Edwin has plans to join fellow Irish comedian, Kevin McGahern on his national tour followed by an Irish tour of his own.
“There’s so many opportunities out there. When I was starting out, the internet and social media were good promotional tools. In terms of venues, there was The International, The Laughter Lounge and The Comedy Crunch that went from having one comedy night to three,” said Edwin.
One of the most difficult things about being a comedian can be over thinking your act and caring too much. While Edwin still feels nervous before shows he said that over thinking can be a comedian’s own worst enemy, but after a battle with bowel cancer Edwin developed a devil may care attitude. “In september 2013, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, I was given a pretty good prognosis and when I was better again I thought let’s try and really push myself here.”
Comedy careers can be unreliable with lots of ups and downs, Edwin’s career being no different. One low point in Edwin’s career was that while being treated for cancer he had to decline a gig alongside his hero Eddie Izzard because of a blood transfusion. “It was like ‘you have cancer, also you can’t do this gig with Eddie Izzard’ so that was a bad day.”
Since then his attitude has become much more positive. He finds it hard to say no to any opportunity. “One of the advantages I’ve found is I normally say yes to things. I’m also always walking around hoping something funny will happen to me or hoping that I have a weird interaction.”
Edwin had done some voice over work and corporate videos before being given the part in Bridget and Eamon. Edwin created the Father Gabriel character for “a few scenes in episode, and four seasons later here I am.”
As for Edwin’s future in comedy, he is in the middle of creating his own sitcom about washed up country and western musicians which he describes as a “hard and long, long process” that he believes will begin on YouTube. “Putting stuff up on YouTube is a good way to get your name out there, that’s where I think I’ll put my sketches up first.”
As far as the future of the Dublin comedy scene he is very positive. “There are way more comedy nights to take part in now than ever before. There is ample opportunities for people trying to make it.”