After turning the big 4-0 last year, one of Ireland’s best-loved comedians, Des Bishop, is embracing his age and finding inspiration in it for his new stand-up show.
‘Grey Matters’ tackles the issues confronting him these days, including returning to live in NYC, being surrounded by other people’s kids, gender and marriage equality, the dangers of Snapchat, dating a Chinese woman, and reaching 40.
The New York native has become known for his documentary-style comedy shows, including the recent ‘Breaking China’, when he spent a year living in China and learning Mandarin, but he’s looking forward to returning to straight stand up where he can riff about whatever is on his mind.
Asked where the idea for the new show came from Des responds, “Well, I just got older!”
“I’m a little older, my hair is grey and I have now officially accepted I’m sort of an ‘in-my-day’ kind of comedian. You know in my day it was very different to now and so there’s a lot of fun to be had with the generation gap,” he adds.
After more than 15 years working as a stand up comedian, Des explains how he keeps things fresh for his fans. “I’m the same as the audience. I don’t want to keep talking about the same stuff so, 15 years ago I was talking about what it was like coming to Ireland as a young American, and nowadays I’m talking about what it’s like looking at a 20-year-old and realising that their life has been so different to mine and they’ve had a completely different existence to me. “These people know nothing about what it was like to grow up in the 80s or what it was like to be in college in the early 90s. They know nothing about that and there’s great fun to be had with that,” Des adds.
He says that, as a naturally creative person, he constantly pays attention to the changes in his own life and tries to make sense of them in a funny way. “We’re never as unique as we think we are and most of the time people identify with each other.”
Des, who returns to The Town Hall Theatre with ‘Grey Matters’ on 18 and 19 March, has a special connection with Galway, where he spent time back in 2008 in a bid to learn Irish for his show ‘In the Name of the Fada’.
“Around the time of ‘In the Name of the Fada’ there was a special connection with Galway just because a lot of the show was about Connemara and a lot of people in the city have connections in Connemara. People have a love affair with Connemara and it just feels all that more cultural in Galway. It’s definitely one of my favourite stops on my tour.”
After immersing himself in Irish, even making an appearance in the charts with his rendition of ‘Léim Thart’, and learning Mandarin for ‘Breaking China’, Des says he has no immediate plans to learn another language. But, never say never.
“If I was going to do it again I’d do it with Arabic and there’s a number of reasons for that. Like China, it’s a culture that people don’t really know too much about and there’s a lot of misconceptions about it too. And obviously there’s a huge amount of controversy so I think it would be very rich for observation and comment,” he says.
“If you look at Europe over the last year the influx of Muslim migrants has become a major issue and to be able to tap into that in a way that’s much more informed than reactionary then that would be pretty amazing.”