How the devil are you, Ciarán Dowd?

Ciarán Dowd: King Rodolfo. Photograph by the awesome Idil Sukan (seriously, check out her other work)

He’s back! For anyone who’s followed Rodolfo’s illustrious career so far, you’ll know this is going to be a treat. If you want an hour of pure escapism (and who doesn’t?) this is the show for you.

Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
The Minions are the funniest little fellas, they get up to all sorts, always getting mixed up in some shenanigans. It’s great stuff.

What’s one of the best compliments you’ve received and what was it that made it significant for you?

Edgar Wright once told me after a gig that I was “fucking funny” – and to hear that from the guy who made Spaced, which had been so formative for me growing up and wanting to get into comedy, felt very affirming/nice/cool/yummy. Also he came to the gig with Oscar Isaac, who’s a stone-cold babe and really added some glamour to the moment, but who kept his cards much closer to his chest. If I had to guess I’d say he thought my stuff was “weird” and I was “a man who looked too much like a potato”. Maybe I’m projecting.

How old were you when you started telling jokes and can you remember the first one?

At secondary school it was fun to make the other students laugh but any mouthy little twat can get a reaction out of that mob, I realised if I could get the teacher to laugh that really felt like something. And that became my entire goal. In some ways I’m probably still just craving Mrs. Gallagher’s attention but I’m not sure she comes over for the festival, so what’s the fucking point of anything?

Describe your ideal front row audience member.

Short legs so they don’t encroach on my space. I like my space.

Which comedy routines have you watched until you know them by heart?

As anyone who’s done tech on one of my shows and tried to follow along on the script will tell you, I barely know my own routines by heart. But when I was 13 I bought the DVD of ‘Tommy Tiernan: Live’ (there are more inventive names out there), and probably watched it twice a week for a year. If you put a gun to my head and said I had to word for word recite an hour of comedy I’d have a better chance with his show than one of my own.

What did you miss most about comedy in the last two years? What do you value more now
because of it?

Well look, if I’d chosen to take a break for 2 years and done it on my terms it could have felt like a nice sabbatical and opportunity to recharge after what had been a full-on couple of years of work. But it didn’t feel like that because it came with the complete annihilation of everything I’d worked pretty hard to build over a lot of years, all momentum and trajectory were gone in a second and everything got shut down. So I think a lot of comedians are still sifting through the wreckage of that and wondering where they fit in the new landscape – looking at this year’s brochure it appears I fit in as some sort of grandad figure to all the new kids. But I value having an opportunity to create and be creative again and to have a platform and use for my stupidity; I don’t know that I value it more now, I’ve always felt very lucky to get to do this for a living, but I am very happy to be back and excited to perform in a way that maybe I wouldn’t have felt without the enforced suspension.

Which podcasts can you not live without?

I try to avoid the comedy ones – busman’s holiday. The only one I listen to every day is a
sports one called ‘Second Captain’s’ – they’re the best in the biz and it’s nice to think about
something else for an hour a day. Especially this close to the opening of a show when it can
become all-consuming.

What is comedy’s greatest benefit for the world?

Well it’s an entire industry whose sole purpose is to try and find joy in things and bring that
joy to people. Not many people doing that, comedians and doughnut makers. Not everyone
will like what you do and you may fail to achieve it – but the purity of the intention is nice I
think. Especially in a world so full of absolute bullshit.

Which shows do you have a great feeling about at this year’s Fringe?

Well they don’t need my endorsement after all the reviews, accolades and awards they’ve
already gotten for these shows but Liz Kingsman’s ‘One-Woman Show’ is the best I’ve seen in
a long time and Tim Key’s ‘Mulberry’ is phenomenal. Always love seeing Fin Taylor, Dan Cook,
Garrett Millerick, Pierre Novellie, and Glenn Moore. Also for my sketch roots a hearty
recommendation for ‘Crybabies’ and ‘Just These Please’.

Tell us about your Fringe show.

It’s a follow-up to the character comedy show Don Rodolfo that I did in 2018. Follow-up, in
that it’s the same character, not that you need to have seen the previous shows. Rodolfo is a swashbuckling lothario and unrivalled buffoon who rises through the ranks of society to become King of England, he looks back over his inglorious reign as one of the most bloody, violent and sexy periods in history, and has to face his legacy, fatherhood, his own mortality and the baying mob at the gates. So it’s epic in scale but full of really stupid shit.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Just to say that this is the most ambitious show I’ve ever done, the scale, the set pieces, the
amount of funny in it, I’m really excited by it and I hope people will come along and really
enjoy it. And if you want see you there!

Click here to buy tickets for Ciarán Dowd: King Rodolfo

9.50pm | Pleasance Dome (Queen Dome) | 3-28 August (not 17)

Published by Punchline

Your secret source of comedy knowledge at the Edinburgh Fringe

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