Karen Koren: Improv pits Irish against US guests

George Wendt. Picture: Katie Lee

George Wendt. Picture: Katie Lee

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JUST spent a long weekend at The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland. It was the 20th anniversary of the Festival and it was in full swing when we arrived. In celebration, organisers had invited some of the performers who had been at the very first one. George Wendt, pictured, (Norm in Cheers) made his return with other American Improvisors. They were to join the UK/Irish contingent of comedy improvisors to perform together, but refused on the grounds that home grown improvisors perform “short form” improv, whereas they perform “long form” which is less suggestions and more one story, as opposed to the UK/Irish comics doing short “funny” sets with lots of suggestions from the audience. Don’t think it did much for Irish/US relations.

Obviously there were lots of jokes about the Kardashians and the Irish Honeymoon. Kevin Bridges was there and he took part in the Sunday football match, pulling a hamstring early in the match. Rich Hall, Mike Wilmott, Dom Irrera performed their “hardcore” comedy, it was the last show of each evening and meant to be rude, but in truth was no ruder than any earlier evening show.

Harland Williams impressed me a lot, he performed at the Gilded Balloon as long ago as 1989 and, though a bit greyer around the temples, was extremely funny. Jason Byrne, Tommy Tiernan, Dara O’Briain, Ardal O’Hanlon, Adam Hills, Des Bishop, Glenn Wool were all there performing, with Fred Macaulay compering.

It was good to catch up with these seasoned comedians. I met up with Tommy, Jason, Ardal and Dara and their families over the weekend. Their kids being feisty lovely Irish beauties, who will be sure to follow in their famous dads’ footsteps.