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Amy Huberman & Liam Hourican

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

"iCandy with Liam Hourican is the tasty new morsel launching Channel 4's forthcoming Comedy Lab season, at 11.05pm on Monday 19th April.

Written by Liam Hourican, David Crann and David Stone, this side-splitting sketch show features Hourican playing original characters, such as a Dutch mountaineer with a taste for human flesh, a driving instructor with anger management issues and a TV lifecoach with a murky past. Plus the newly elected Irish Prime Minister unveils some hilarious policies in a bid to change the world.

The episode also contains outlandish impressions of well-known personalities including 'When Louis Theroux met Michael Jackson in the Afterlife' and 'Peter Stringfellow's Community Outreach Programme for Teenagers'.

The all-Irish cast of iCandy also includes Amy Huberman (The Clinic) Laura Donnelly (Best: His Mother's Son) and Jim Roche (The Tudors) and it was shot entirely on location in and around Belfast.
Liam Hourican is an up and coming new Irish writer, comedian and performer.

Liam studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, which boasts Matt Lucas and Catherine Tate amongst its Alumni. His previous credits include Ape (E4 Comedy), George Gently (BBC) and The Clinic (RTE). Hourican has also starred in several stage productions including King Lear, Merchant of Venice and Othello. He will also be appearing in the new series of IT Crowd (C4).

iCandy was delivered to Channel 4 by Green Inc Film and Television. The Comedy Lab is a new talent initiative that gave birth to the careers of stars such as Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais and the Fonejacker Kayvan Novak". REF: PR Office
iCandy is produced by Green Inc and is the only Irish produced comedy Lab show to air this year.

Liam Hourican

How did you get involved in this project?

I co wrote this project with David Crann and David Stone. Green Inc in Belfast produced it. We are the only Irish company to go through the comedy lab so that's a great honour.

What kind of characters do you play?

Some of them are celebrity impressions. Some of them I just found interesting. I do Peter Stringfellow and Gerry Adams was another one I did for a long time. Something strange or out of the ordinary is always interesting to do.

Where do you get the inspiration for these characters?

For the straight ones - I look for people I know or I try to make larger than like characters that are fun to play.

Who were your favourite characters to play?

I guess I liked doing the Dutch mountaineer. I guess you do some characters and there's something about the voice and how they are open and expansive than others and I think it's more fun to play them. Also the Dutch character is open and friendly and you enjoy playing that more than an uptight ones.

Stringfellow is a fun character to be for the same reason - he's got an expansive persona.

What was it like to work with Amy?

It was fun - Amy is a great comic performer. She only worked on it for about two days. She is very relaxed and she is fun to play opposite against.

Were you able to pick people the other actors for the show?
Yes, I did in some ways. I have a friend in some of the sketches and I liked Amy. She was our first choice.

This is a big deal - doing a comedy lab show - that has helped launch the careers of Ricky Gervais and Jimmy Carr - are you nervous as to how it will be received?

We do it with an aim to get a series out of it. I have been doing this work as a comic for four years which is a very quick development. I am glad how far I have come but you are always aiming higher. What I would like to get out of this is a series. We are keeping our fingers crossed.

I don't know how they finally decide but I suppose it's a mixture of a lot of things and I think how it is received is very important and another thing might be if they think you have enough to continue with for a series. You really don't know what are the factors but you just want to do a really good job.

You grew up in Belgium - is there humour different to the Irish?

Their sense of humour is really different to the Irish. Irish sense of humour is wacky and they like jokes a lot. The English sense of humour is deadpan and it's all about manners. The Irish sense of humour is a bit more mad.

The Belgium sense of humour is a bit about their life and it can be very dark. One of their movies 'Man Bites Dog' it was one of the first mockumentaries and it was about a serial killer followed around by a camera crew. It was so dark but they can also be so funny.

You are also soon to be seen in The IT Crowd?

Yes, I just really have a cameo in that where I play a security guard. It was good fun. Graham Linehan (Father Ted) is brilliant and he knows exactly what he wants and he gives great direction.

How did writing come about - were you just fed up with the roles that were available and this gives you a chance to be more in control?

That is how it came about. There was no work in Ireland for me so I didn't want to sit around waiting so I started a group in Slattery's on Capel Street and we did a few nights and then I discovered I wasn't too bad at the writing and set about creating more parts for myself. It was as you said out of necessity.

You also performed at the Fringe Festival and is it true you tried out some of the characters from iCandy?

There are quite a few of the characters we used in the festival after we shot the show. We also showed some clips of the show. It was great to see the reaction.

Amy Huberman

One of the writers David Crane saw a short film I did a few years ago and then he asked could we meet up and then he told me the concept of the show and would I be interested.

What was your favourite character to play?

A random mix of them. We filmed so many of them and then it gets whittled down. It's mainly Liam's baby. I played a schoolgirl in one and the teacher - Liam- is playing a Matrix style teacher. I also played Michael Jackson.

How did you play that?

It was pretty easy he spoke like a woman anyway and I wore black eye liner and dressed in black. It was all off the cuff. A lot of sketches come the day before. It was more jokey rather than serious impression of him. Once you get the costume it all comes together.

I did enjoy playing the school girl in Liam's class where he only wanted to teach The Matrix.

How do you prepare for these roles?

Like with 'Your Bad Self' - you can work on the script but it's hard. We did a workshop out in RTE and then you can bounce off other people. I think with the comedy stuff it's more fruitful when you can work off the other actors.

Are they then able to make changes to the script?

Definitely they are able to see what is working and what's not. Comedy is a difficult thing to get right so it sometimes it needs a bit of fine tuning. I learnt a lot from standing back and watching that process. You see quickly the vibe that they want to go for.
Liam has been writing this for years so I am really just an accessory.

I write as well so it's nice to see someone's baby come to light and it's very much his sense of humour. Sketch shows are great for its random sketches' Liam does Louis Theroux which is great.

People knew you as happy go lucky Daisy in The Clinic and then now you have done 'Your Bad Self' - is that a conscious decision to focus on comedy or was it that it just happened to come one after the other?

Not really a conscious decision. I guess I have been lucky as I have been approached to do some roles by different companies as the industry is so small in this country. I think in the beginning people were like I didn't know you were into that.

I think by doing 'Showbands' and 'A Film With Me In' they are more comedic type of roles and I must admit I really get a kick out of playing those kind of parts. I feel it's a comfort zone as well. That's also the type of writing I do as well.

This is a big deal - doing a comedy lab show - that has helped launch the careers of Ricky Gervais and Jimmy Carr - are you nervous as to how it will be received?

I can imagine Liam will be nervous but for me I am happy to be going along for the ride. It's exciting to be a part of this. I hope it works for everyone. For me I am well used to things going out but also in my mind I am convinced that it is myself and my family that get to see it. That's my world I suppose.

It's sad the clinic is over but it's good for me to be able to pursue other parts. My English agent keeps sending me comedy scripts so maybe they are labelling me as that.

Are you working on your second novel?

At the moment the writing is taking so long and then there is the wedding preparations as well and my head is in another planet. I am trying to do a bit every day to keep on top of it.