An evening with comedy’s Mr. Nice

By Corey Drewry

Patrick Monahan is often asked a question along the lines of “how did you get into comedy?” And he will often reply that he needed a job that allowed him to talk to people, and as supermarkets were closed at night, the decision was almost made for him.

An infectious personality that bursts with energy, and the pleasure he gets in talking to a crowd and being social shines through in his performances, which are as inclusive as you’re likely to come across, without being wet and drippy. Though his is open to all-comers, Monahan is keen to talk up the variation present in today’s comedy, that events like the Leicester Comedy Festival aim to broadcast to the wider public, sections of which may still be finding out what tickles their fancy.

“There’s a comic for everybody, if you want gluten-free, you can get it,” he quips.

With that in mind, the comic’s broad appeal can also be traced to his background. His Irish father and his Iranian mother relocated to the North East when he was three; a rare collision of cultures that has clearly helped shape his personality and sense of humour.

patrick monahan_0239_photo by steve ullathorne

 Tickets for Monahan’s show, Rewind Selector 90s, are available from ticketsource.co.uk, for between £10-£12.

He says that diversity “is great for stand up”, but “is not much of a deal breaker” in the UK, in comparison to the US, a place at the forefront of comedy, both in terms of the performers, and the material they have to work with.

It may seem now that there is a saturation of circumstances to poke fun at with the current President, but Monahan remembers a time when there was just as much low-hanging fruit, if not more.

“In the old days with Bush, you didn’t necessarily have to make a joke, you could just mention him and get a reaction.”

Perhaps because with Trump the novelty has worn off. Also, with the advent of technology, there is the acknowledgement of the ever-present funny people of the internet. The new-blood having forced traditionalists to adapt and “sharpen up”.

“You’ve got to up your game!… you’re not just competing with your peers and other comics; you’re competing with everyone.” Something that he believes bodes well for the quality of material out there, and also for the prospects of up-and-comers.

“You see it when there’s something topical, you get text a joke, a meme, or a video. When you do something funny, it can get out.” For Monahan, this reality takes the form of gentle trolling of his girlfriend, Lily Lovett shared on his Instagram account (see the Christmas present wrapping special). The playful efforts to drive the former Inbetweener cast member away have seemingly backfired, as the two now work on a fledgling dating show together.

Monahan is not content to be Middlesbrough’s answer to the late Cilla Black and is fresh from a stint playing the ‘baddie’ in the panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A role that took some persuading to agree to. It was initially pitched to him that it could be one of the talents in his triple-threat, which fell on deaf ears. “My triple threat is: I make cake, eat cake, and watch Netflx.” Hobbies that he is especially good at with the amount of time spent in hotel rooms.

Despite the reluctance, he’s glad he tried his hand at something new. It turned out to be quite the departure from some of his more raucous corporate gigs, where “three people are faced the right way and the other 300 are hammered, throwing potatoes at each other”

Additionally, as one of comedy’s perennial good guys, there was the unusual experience of being disliked on stage. “I’d never dream of doing anything serious on stage, with this I could.”

Self-deprecating, warm, and funny, Patrick Monahan will be at this year’s Leicester Comedy Festival, and he wants to talk to you.

The Irish-Iranian funny man from Middlesborough will descend on Leicester’s Sue Townsend Theatre, on February 10.

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