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Outside it's America
In Ireland, he’s the biggest name in comedy – a superstar who can pack them into live shows and shift DVDs by the jumboload. But having conquered his homeland, Tommy Tiernan faced the question: where to from here? The answer was America, the Holy Grail for anyone in the entertainment business. The story of his battle to win hearts and minds is captured in Jokerman – Tommy Tiernan Takes On America, a documentary series that is about to hit the screens on RTE. But first, there’s the important matter of a Hot Press interview to attend to.
Olaf Tyaransen, 17 May 2006
When’s the last time you went to mass?
The last time I went to mass? Em, I went to a religious service in America actually. This guy called Joel Osteen. Again, it’s in the third episode of this thing. It’s based in Houston in Texas and they have a Friday night service which gets 22,000 people in. The church is going so well that they’ve bought the basketball arena off the Houston Rockets. And the basketball team moved and this place is full on Friday nights. They get about 5,000 people on a Saturday. But that was the last mass I went to.
Did you hear about the church that’s using U2 lyrics as part of their service?
Yeah. Bob Dylan lyrics now you could understand. Or a bit of Leonard Cohen. Nick Cave, even. But U2?
Not a Bono fan then?
Ah, no – I think Bono’s great. I read that book of interviews with him recently [Bono On Bono by Michka Assayas] and I was really, really impressed by the Bono who came across there. Like Eddie Izzard, he’s somebody who’s not afraid of the big idea, and launching himself for it. And if it fails, it fails, but the excitement and the thrill is going for it. No, I actually think about Bono a lot. I’m very curious about him.
Have you met him?
I’ve met him a couple of times, but only very briefly. You know, "Hiya – who’re you?" Ha, ha! But I’m very interested in him as a man, and some of the stuff that he does repels me, and some of the stuff I find very interesting.
What stuff repels you?
I couldn’t be specific, but I guess... Do you know the way sometimes you see something in the papers and you go, "Ah, would you ever shut up, you twit!" But I do like him. I think he’s a fantastic... Em, I’d be bewitched by him, maybe. The stuff they’ve achieved is phenomenal. I fantasise about walking across deserts with people. There are people that I wonder if I had to walk across the desert with that person, and the two of us spent a month where we were forced to know each other, what it’d be like to have to do that. I’d love to do it with Bob Dylan. Our lives don’t offer us the opportunity to get to spend time with people we’re really interested in. But I’d love to do that with Bono. More than the other three. What’re their names again? Ha, ha!