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A stand-up, Saturday Night TV star and now triathlonist, John Bishop still reckons his mates are far funnier than he is.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 02 Oct 2012
At this point I fail to inform him that Flatley himself hails from Chicago. Maybe the mistake perversely proves his point.
“It’s something that I can’t ignore, I have to make reference to it. But it’s not the definition of what I am. It’s like Billy Connolly being from Glasgow. It’s part of who he is, but it’s not just who he is. “
What it does mean is that he adores coming to Ireland, a country with a similar sensibility and wit.
“I love the Irish,” he grins. “My style of stand-up comedy is story-telling. When I came over and started doing the Kilkenny festival and the Iveagh Gardens festival, getting involved in the Irish comedy scene, it was lovely. The audiences are receptive and enthusiastic. I think the Irish have such a good relationship with the Scouse mentality. We’re both born optimists. Everything can be shit, but Jesus we can have a laugh. There’s always that little bit of ‘something’ll turn up’ and I think that comes across in your comedy audiences. People turn up thinking, ‘we’re here for a laugh’ – they’re halfway to laughing because they came there. Where you do a gig in London and the attitude is, ‘well, I’ve arrived. Now perform for me’.”
Given Bishop’s current status, even London crowds are likely far more enthused to see him these days. Coming late to the business, it is a decade since he was voted Best Newcomer by BBC Radio Merseyside and a mere three years since his big break came on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. Since then, he has been an ever-present on some of Britain’s biggest panel shows and has recently earned the only slightly tongue-in-cheek title of ‘Mr Saturday Night’ due to his BBC One show John Bishop’s Britain, where his easy, straight-to-camera style has garnered comparisons to the late Dublin comedian Dave Allen.
“That’s a massive compliment. I used to think he was brilliant, Dave Allen. Look, I’m happy to be ‘Mr. Anything’, to be honest! If it happens to be popular, that’s great, if it stops being popular, there’s nothing I can do about it. Is this the happiest I’ve ever been? Well as I say I’m an optimist. I think I’ll be happier tomorrow. That’s the way to look at life. If you say you’re at your happiest then this is it! This is the best you’re going to get! “