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Thursday 14 December 2017

'If hecklers are rude or abusive they're dead to me' - Deirdre

Deirdre O'Kane performing her stand-up routine
Deirdre O'Kane performing her stand-up routine
Deirdre O'Kane

Deirdre O'Kane has revealed how she deals with hecklers who abuse her at gigs.

The Moone Boy actress (46) got her start in the stand-up comedy scene several years ago and felt audiences often had a level of "mistrust" when it came to female comics that she had to overcome.

"Initially when I was in the clubs, I do think people are a little more wary when a female name is announced.

"I think there might be a moment of distrust and therefore you have to be funny immediately. There is no room for error," she told the Herald.

Advantage

The Louth woman has also had to deal with her fair share of hecklers over the years but insisted she never let them faze her.

"Comedians die on stage when people start talking. Some people welcome hecklers, it depends on how good you are at improvising.

"I usually just say 'look, it's not about you, let's get back to me'. This is my show.

"Some hecklers are good and some are bad. You know immediately if you're talking to a bright one. If they are rude or abusive, they're dead to me. I'm moving on and giving them no oxygen whatsoever," she said.

The TV star recalled an early night in her career when she followed popular Scottish comic Frankie Boyle on stage at a gig in Scotland.

"I remember following Frankie Boyle on stage in Scotland at 1am in the morning. That's not fair," she said.

"He's a hometown boy, loved and adored. 'Lets throw in an Irish bird'. You don't bring on after a Scottish boy who is loved and adored, the Irish one who no one has heard of. That is cold.

"All the other comics there were going, 'Good luck now Deirdre, dead man walking'."

While comedy is not an easy job for anyone, Deirdre believes the men got to be a little more relaxed when they stepped up to the microphone.

"You need to put the audience at ease instantly and the men need to too but I always felt like I had no time to waste. I think the boys can be a bit more relaxed," she said.

Deirdre first tried stand-up over 15 years ago and has built up a loyal fan base since but still believes you're only as good as your last show.

"It's a tough psychological gig. No matter how good at it you get, you still find yourself in tricky situations. It's different when you get your own crowd but it's a tough gig. One night everyone is laughing and the next you're pulling teeth," she said.

Fierce

The actress reckons comedy has become an even tougher game for performers as it is a more popular endeavour.

Deirdre was among a small pool of performers when she first joined the world of stand-up comedy but competition for gigs and money is fierce these days as more and more people look to make a living from it.

"The only reason I stuck at it was it's paying me. It's different now, there weren't as many of us then. It's a much more popular pursuit now," she said. Deirdre also said she hopes to see TV series Moone Boy turned into a film after creator Chris O'Dowd has finished the third book of the series.

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