Karen Koren: Even the cats laugh in Kilkenny

Dara O Briain
Dara O Briain
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Last weekend my daughter, Katy and I were in Kilkenny attending The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival.

It’s probably the best comedy festival in the world - a comedian’s comedy festival. The comics hang out together and have great ‘craic’ as they say in Ireland.

The festival has been going since 1995 and I have been nearly every year It gives me an opportunity to see comics from all over the world do 20-minute sets in line-up shows.

Over the years there have been some amazing acts there including from the States Bill Murray, George Wendt, Louise CK, Zach Galafianakis, Harland Williams, Emo Philips, Bill Burr, Lewis Black, Doug Stanhope, Marc Maron, Mitch Hedberg and Dom Irrera.

Dom first went to Kilkenny in 1996 and has been a regular every year since. Other regulars include Rich Hall, Mike Wilmot, Fred MacAulay, Adam Hills but mostly it’s the Irish comics who dominate from Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan, Jason Byrne, Dara O Briain, Ardal O’Hanlon, Andrew Maxwell, David O’Docherty, Barry Murphy, Deirdre O’Kane.

This year was no exception, The Irish comedians and American Rich Hall were all thereas well as others including Aisling Bea, Nina Conti and another regular Kevin Bridges.

Traditionally there’s a Sunday afternoon football match, Ireland against the rest of the world, which this year Ireland won, primarily due to the fact that the rest of the world were pretty unfit. I’ve never seen so many beer-bellies on a football field. Still they managed four goals, which is not bad. Scott Gibson was on the team with Kevin Bridges and Adam Hills in goals, Scott scored one of the goals.

It was the comedy we were there for, however, and we saw at least three shows every day during our three-day visit.

Dara O Briain was one of the highlights as I’ve not seen him do stand-up since his rise to fame hosting game shows on television. Aisling and Deidre were also exceptional and I’ve invited them back to our Festival here in Edinburgh next year.

n Karen Koren is artistic director of the Gilded Balloon