Eleanor Tiernan plays The Civic on Friday 1st December and we had a chat in advance of the gig.

Can you tell us a bit about your background? Where did you grow up?
The sophisticated clientele of The Civic will not have heard of the place I grew up. It’s called Athlone and it’s a town in the Midlands of Ireland. The town has two claims to fame, apart from producing my good self. One is that it was the birthplace of world renowned tenor Count John McCormack who you need one of those big gramophones to listen to. The other is that in the 1970’s our local team Athlone Town FC drew with AC Milan in a European Cup game, a feat an Irish club has yet to receate. My mother and father who were courting at the time attended the game and it might have ended their relationship when my mother asked just as the game was nearly over if the Italians were the ones with the brown legs.

Who were your earliest comedy influences?
I learned everything from my father. When we were young he used to play a prank on any kids that would come to our house. Sitting in the drivers seat of the car he would ask them to approach the front of the car, saying that there was a smell of rashers from the bonnet. The kids, curious, would lean forward and try to get the salty bacon smell. Then just as they were concentrating very hard Dad would blow the horn and make them jump two feet in the air. He has impeccable comic timing and can keep a straight face in the most ridiculous of situations.

How did you get into the comedy business?
I was training as an actor but i began to get scared about how hard it is to get work. An actors can be far and away the best person for a role but it may go to a celebrity because they will be a bigger draw for the overall production. It seems so unfair. People who pursue acting as a career are absolute heroes.

Can you tell us a bit more about the show at the Civic?
Yes, it’s a belter so strap in. It’s the story of my decision to leave Ireland thinking that would solve all my problems (Spoiler alert: It didn’t). I wrote during and after the Brexit referendum in the UK and is very much on the edge of what it is acceptable to say about the matter over there.

Where do you get your material?
Any time I feel angry/embarrassed/confused I try to make a note of what it is that has me befuddled as it may turn into a possible premise for a joke or anecdote. It’s a wonderful cathartic process as you feel like you are turning a negative into a positive. I would encourage everyone, not just comedians to try it.

How do you deal with hecklers?
I tell them that their call is important to us and that if they don’t mind holding, an attendant will be with them shortly.

What advice would you give new comedians starting out?
I would say don’t fall for any of the hype that surrounds certain people. In the entertainment industry we have a habit of putting people and things on pedestals that they don’t deserve and it’s often a way of covering something up. You end up thinking things are a certain way and can’t be changed. You cannot afford to give away your power like this. Anything is possible. Be patient and question everything.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
A few years ago I was at the Montreal comedy festival in Canada when I heard that an absolute comedy hero of mine was on a show in a nearby venue. It’s a man called Martin Short who kids of the 80’s will remember as Fronc, the wedding planner from Father of the Bride. Irish/Aussie comedian shared my eagerness to meet Mr. Short and so we abused our artists passes to get backstage at the show. We hung around hoping for a sighting but there was nothing. Eventually our hero appeared caked in makeup and about a foot shorter than I had imagined. We approached with caution and expressed our admiration for him which he accepted with grace. It may not seem like much to other people but definitely a career highlight to me.

You have been on lots of television programmes from The Savage Eye and Republic of Telly – do you prefer stage or television?
I don’t mean to dodge the question but i really do love both. Stage is incredibly invigorating because the performer is directly connected to the audience while with telly there are other people who decide what the audience gets to see. However with TV you get a few chances to get it right but on stage there’s no going back if the performance is less than perfect.

Are you looking forward to your gig at the Civic?
Very much! I did a number of student drama productions there and it feels like coming full circle to be back doing my own show.


Eleanor Tiernan- People Pleaser

Friday 1st Dec 8.15pm
Tickets €12