We sat down with Irish comedian Jarlath Regan to speak about his new show, his recent organ donation and the origins of his hit podcast, An Irishman Abroad. Watch the interview in the video above.
"We expect, now, for comedians to talk about their hard times, but it's got to be funny," says Jarlath.
The stand-up is bringing his new show Organ Freeman to Vicar Street this January where he will discuss the topic of organ donation - a theme that is close to the comedian's heart, or kidney as it were.
Last June, Jarlath's older brother Adrian, who currently lives in the United States with his wife, discovered that he would need a kidney transplant after battling a condition since childhood which has seen his kidney function deteriorate over the years.
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Although an organ is no small ask, Jarlath immediately signed himself up as a donor and thankfully, in February of this year, the surgery went off without a hitch. A heart-warming story of brotherly love, no doubt, but where exactly does the comedy lie?
"Real comedy lies in difficulty, in discomfort and hard times; nobody wants to hear about how everything went great and everybody ended up happy at the end - it's a difficult situation for any family and, mainly, this is a funny show aimed at making a conversation about organ donation," says Jarlath.
Thanks for all the messages guys. We're both over the moon with the results. So far so good. #KidneyDonation #BeastMode #IrishBrothersAbroad pic.twitter.com/xqKaBu8qc8— Jarlath Regan (@Jarlath) February 3, 2017
So, how does one turn familial gallows humour into comedic gold for a large scale audience? Practice, practice, practice.
"That was maybe the biggest challenge of it. Trying to respect the characters and the individuals involved; my family, my wife, my son but to keep it funny and over the course of twenty-seven shows at the Edinburgh Festival, it evolved and became the show that it is now."
Other than donating his organs, touring a show and designing Christmas cards, the London-based comedian is keeping busy with his hit podcast An Irishman Abroad which features in-depth interviews with everyone from Blindboy Boatclub to Pat Kenny.
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The combination of Irish people and long-form interviews is a perfect fit according to the podcast pro who says that Irish people are natural interviewers.
"Most Irish people know how to interview because most Irish people have a good track record in drinking pints or tea and long-form discussion and podcasts are essentially listening and responding," says Jarlath.
After 221 interviews, with a wide range of interviewees, speaking on an array of subjects from feminism and mental health to homelessness and immigration, who has Jarlath learned from the most?
"I would say, usually the ones that are the longest in the making; the ones that I've had to research for the most amount of time because some interviews take longer, the waiting list for them is longer so I would say I probably know more about Bob Geldof than anybody"
Jarlath Regan will bring Organ Freeman to Vicar Street on Friday, January 12th, 2018. Tickets are on sale now.