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Neil looks forward to flexing comedy muscle in glór

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IT will be a family reunion of sorts for comedian Neil Delamere when he takes to the stage in glór this Friday, writes Jessica Quinn.

Among the audience at the Ennis venue will be Clare hurler David Reidy, and the comedian reveals he won’t be holding back when it comes to making fun of his Ennis cousin.

Neil tells us that David had been due to join his team on Ireland’s Fittest Family Celebrity Special last summer supporting the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

“Fair play to him, he was going to do it originally but he got injured and couldn’t do it so we had to draft in another cousin.

“He’s flying it now. He’s coming to glór and I’ll be slagging him off. It was great craic to do the show, wading through a bog in the middle of Wicklow with your six foot two cousin dragging you over a log.

“It was a strange way to spend a day in August, but it was epic, there was great camradarie.

Clare’s David Reidy in action against his namesake from Limerick

“Now I’ve dragged my arse through a bog on national television and David didn’t have to I will possibly be mentioning that, and when I say that I mean 100% I will be slagging him off and I will be asking him to do something horrendous at some point for charity in the future.”

The star of BBC’s The Blame Game, Fighting Talk and the Newsquiz, is hitting the road with his new stand-up show, Liminal.

“I can’t wait, it’s been two long years since I’ve been in Ennis and it’s always a brilliant gig.

“The night after I do a gig, the biggest solo one I’ve ever done, in the Ice Hockey Arena in Belfast but both gigs provide you with something entirely different.

“Glór is such a good room, it’s one of those perfect sized rooms. It holds 500 people, which is enough to make a huge, big guttural physical laugh, but it’s proportioned so everybody is involved in the joke.

“It is not so big that if you talk to somebody in the front row somebody else is miles away in the back.

“It is one of those perfect family rooms and there is not that many of them. Glór is definitely one of those and something unusual happens nearly every time we go down there. It’s a magic room.

“I remember once talking to some people in the front row and I asked them what they do. They wouldn’t really answer then it turned out they were dancers. I asked were they any good. They said they were choreographers now but we were pretty good.

“Then I asked who did they dance with, they said Riverdance. I said you know what the end of this gig is going to be, you’re going to have to get up and do a bit of Riverdance. And they did, they were unbelievable!”

The performer is in the midst of his tour taking in the entire country and he is thrilled to be back on stage after a challenging few years due to Covid.

“I was able to do bits and pieces, it was weird though because it was kind of like guerilla gigs.

“The restrictions would lift that would allow us to open for a few weeks, we did gigs in outdoor pub beer gardens or wherever we were allowed to do them. We were just trying to get bits and pieces done, trying to keep the comedy muscle working.”

The reaction to the tour so far has been positive.

“People really seem to be up for it. We are getting people who haven’t gone out for two years. I was allowed to do gigs in the north before I was allowed to down here because of how the restrictions worked.

“People have been crazily ready to go out for a laugh and to enjoy themselves. I did Vicar Street last week, which was amazing, I’m doing Derry. The full tour is on now and all systems are go.”

As well as Ireland’s Fittest Families the Offaly native was also one of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars, and was just recently voted off.

He reveals that Clare’s very own Marty Morrissey was on hand to give him some helpful advice ahead of the show.

“I texted Marty and he said just go for it, really sink into it. You just have to be enthusiastic because you’re going to be spray tanned and wearing clothes you wouldn’t normally wear.”

“You just have to put yourself in the frame of mind, whatever they ask of you just do it and wholeheartedly embrace it. The people who do that enjoy it and I think Marty did that very well.

“It was great to take part in, I really tremendously enjoyed it. I was very, very nervous in the lead up to the first dance then, something weird happens in the brain of a comedian or maybe any stage performer.

“On the day I wasn’t as nervous as I expected, something clicks in with the audience in the room. You might nail everything, you might not get everything right, but you will absolutely go for it. I think that’s the only thing audiences want from you.

“They’re not expecting someone with no dance experience to be amazing. And of course to get to train with a world champion is a privilege.

“I’d love to have been able to do a couple more dances, maybe the Tango. I saw Scent of a Woman in my formative years with Al Pacino doing a Tango and I thought that’s what dancing is. I’d also have liked to have learned to jive.”

Comedian Deirdre O’Kane was also a massive supporter during the competition, giving him epsom salts and saying, “you’ll need these, trust me”.

The Banner county holds many memories for the comedian, including summers at Ailwee Caves with his parents and Offaly’s win in the All Ireland hurling semi-final replay against Clare before taking the title in 1998.

He recalls filming The Panel in Ennis.

“Marty Morrissey was there and he was brilliant. We were meant to have a surfer and he didn’t turn up then Andrew Maxwell jumped on an ironing board and did the entire interview pretending to be a Californian surfer. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I’ve a lot of happy memories any time I think of Clare.”

Neil will bring his show Liminal to glór this Friday at 8pm. For more details check here

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