Joe Rooney @ The Stand

Classic tales of an Irish upbringing told with both wit and warmth

Review by Polly Glynn | 22 Aug 2018
  • Joe Rooney

Joe Rooney has a sprightly presence as he delivers his debut solo Fringe hour after 20 years on the comedy circuit. Best known for playing Father Damo, a priest in Father Ted who seemed stuck in a rebellious teenage mindset, his set is a far cry from stealing whistles and planting them in the coats of imbeciles. Sure, the catholic guilt’s still there – he speaks of going into a strip club and only wanting to ask the girls how they’re doing as his inner-priest berates him for being a dirty boy, and he’s got an interesting take on how Irish mothers and Jesus are surprisingly similar.

It sometimes strays into oft-trod territory with descriptions of his impoverished childhood descending into something akin to the Four Yorkshiremen sketch. And it'd be interesting to see him step out of his comfort zone. However, Rooney’s at his best when doing something musical. Using his guitar to embody Elvis as God or singing a traditional Irish Sean-nòs song (one with no accompaniment) about a girl in love with a terrorist, Rooney embodies confidence and enthralls his audience.

Joe Rooney: A Holy Terror, The Stand Comedy Club (2), until 26 Aug, 2.35pm, £10

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