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Funniest Man on Twitter Rob Delaney

1 of 1 Twitter king Rob Delaney
Twitter king Rob Delaney

Winner of the Funniest Man on Twitter Award, comedian Rob Delaney, revealed his Twitter secrets ahead of his Vicar Street gig this weekend.

The 2012 Comedy Central award winner spoke to RTÉ TEN’s about returning to Ireland for the first time since 1998, when he will take to the stage in Vicar Street this Sunday night, April 14.

He said: "In 1998 I came for a week. I learned to ride a horse in Adare for some reason. I love it and am thrilled to be back..."

On receiving the news that he was the first comedian to be awarded the Funniest Man on Twitter Award, he said: "That was great news. I found out on Twitter.

"Pound for pound, you can't beat @serafinowicz on Twitter. It's like it was built for him. And [Irish comedian/writer/Pulling TV show creator] Sharon Horgan is a total comic assassin. [@RealSharHorgan]"

He has also been a long-time admirer of other familiar comedy names: "I grew up laughing to Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, Monty Python, Saturday Night Live...

"Chris Rock and Louis CK's work ethics are amazing. Joan Rivers total lifetime devotion to laughs is otherworldly.

"Richard Pryor is the best standup ever, just his whole approach to subjects and his joy in attacking them. I admire all those people."

In recent years comedians have changed their approach to performance and it’s no longer a case of merely doing stand-up to a packed audience on stage. In addition to the traditional route, comedians are also using podcasts, tumbler, on-line comedy shows and of course Twitter.

In America, for instance, the weekly podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! is proving to be a huge hit. As is The Pod F Tompkast hosted by comedian Paul F Tompkins, which was voted as number one on the Rolling Stones 10 Best Comedy Podcasts of the Moment in 2011.

A number of other comedians including Louis CK, Bill Burr and Ken Marino sell their own shows to online audiences and Delaney also recently joined that group: "Well I love everyone you've mentioned, so I'm happy to be included in the same breath.

"I know most of those guys and admire them all and we share info and insight (with me doing most of the absorbing, since I'm a ‘freshman’ compared to them.)

"So I don't think there's a movement per se, but we might be aimed in the same direction in the way that we get our material out there."

He added: "My favorite part, and the most important thing, is telling jokes on a stage. All the clerical work, and that's sort of where I file the ‘internet’, is pretty useful and close to indispensable, so I think you ignore it at your peril.

"It's like you might not want to do the busy work aspects of managing your career, but tough luck; if it supports me getting on a stage that night, I do it."

In the past the Boston-native has talked openly on stage about his struggle with addiction and we asked him whether it he found it cathartic: "I don't know/care? It's just how I'm built, so I hang it out there.

"I personally have to be open in most areas, if not all, so that I can access the deep stuff I really want to joke about most. If it helps people that's wonderful. but I don't go out there to 'help people'."

As the over 817,0000 fans of Delaney on Twitter (@RobDelaney) will know, his tweets can be quite risqué which doesn’t seem to bother the married, father-of-two.

"The majority of the crap I tweet is total fantastic nonsense. My wife knows that and my kids can't read, so there's no real friction there", he said, adding: "I just consider the medium; Twitter is for running your mouth off and being an idiot, and a family and a marriage is for being as honest and open and hard working and [as] available as possible."

Delaney’s recent stand-up show, Live at the Bowery Ballroom, is akin to his Twitter feed; very funny but obscure and scatter shot. Is this what fans can look forward to in Dublin? "My show at Vicar Street will be totally different material.

"I suppose it's a little harder, heavier, darker and happier, if that makes sense."

The performer has had a number of jobs but it wasn’t until he was eventually let go from one company that he decided to become a comedian, full-time. There must have been times along the journey where he wanted to throw in the towel? "Absolutely…There were many days I almost quit and was actively looking for any horrible job that would hire me during the recession.

"It was monstrously difficult at times."

Things began to take off for him when a number of well-known comedians and writers, including Father Ted and The IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan started re-tweeting him. What words of wisdom would he give to other aspiring comedians? "Work harder than anyone around you, be patient, don't quit and be nice to other people."

His Twitter feed is very popular and has earned him the accolade of being the first comedian to win the Comedy Central Funniest Person on Twitter Award. His tweets to presidential candidate Mitt Romney were well publicized however he doesn’t have a Twitter agenda: "I don't have it planned.

"I have barely any drafts in my drafts folder. I just send 'em out as they hit me. The most preparation I do would be to sit down with a plan to tweet during a Presidential debate."

However that’s not to say that he doesn’t have a grand plan: "I just wrote a pilot for the BBC with Sharon Horgan and I have a book coming out later in the year. Then I'll record another standup special. So I'll keep on truckin'."

Rob Delaney plays Dublin’s Vicar Street this Sunday night, April 14.

Taragh Loughrey-Grant

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