We sat down with comedian Andrew Maxwell to discuss how Ireland whet his appetite for weirdness, his fascination with the world, and why he loves gigging in the Austrian mountains. Watch the interview above...
The culmination of his last two Edinburgh shows, Andrew Maxwell's aptly named All Talk tour will cover two areas. The first half will discuss the world around us - "Your Brexit, your Trump, populism, social media, all that sort of pushing and shoving" - while the second half will touch on the comedian's personal life or, as he puts it, "Situations in life where I made a fool of myself".
Before the interview, I was assured by comics and journalists alike that I would have no problem getting Andrew to open up on camera. The man was infinitely interested in the world around him and had facts, theories, notions, and ideas at the ready - no matter the topic at hand.
Was he always such a chatterbox?
"Yes. And a little bit of a hustler," he laughed. "My first foray into showbusiness was when I was three and I would pretend I was a leprechaun at family events and block the stairs and charge people to use the toilet."
The entrepreneur credits growing up in Ireland - a country that he believes to be full of wonderful oddities - with inspiring much of his material. From accents and politics to the weather and relationships, the 44-year-old has spent his career delving into Irish quirks to find out how they compare and connect us to the rest of the world.
"I'm kind of fascinated by the world. It might just be me, but when you grow up in a place as weird as Ireland, it whets your thirst for weirdness," he explained.
"The Troubles is, obviously, a massive tragedy for all of us," he continued. "But it inspired me to learn about Lebanon. Lebanon is a 14-way sectarian fight so, I mean, it's that sort of thing."
"I just find that Ireland is endlessly inspiring, but then you take it out to the outside world and measure it up against other countries and go, 'wow, there's a lot of weird stuff everywhere'."
Renowned for his frank social commentary, Maxwell went viral earlier in the year while talking about Brexit stating, "It's not the Irish border, it's the British border in Ireland. The Irish border is the beach." The clip was watched by over 200 million people worldwide and had over 250,000 comments.
"Brexit is really demographic," he muses. "It's only a sport for over 50-year-olds, so there aren't that many young people who are that interested in it - or are into it. Brexit only kind of works if you don't know anything about the rest of the world."
"Through social media, there has been an explosion of social awareness and self-awareness as to where you fit into the world and just knowledge about the rest of the planet so there hasn't been too much guff from it [the clip]. I think it stands true."
"It's just consternation, confusion…. we get all British TV, we get all British media, so we know Britain way more than Britain knows Ireland. It’s like a valve that flows in one direction." @andrewismaxwell on Irish knowledge of #Brexit #politicslive https://t.co/32y2XeRbQ7 pic.twitter.com/oZLpYLtUSF— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) 2 November 2018
The last 12 months have been great for the comedian, who has recorded an episode QI and has appeared on the new political panel show Breaking The News for the BBC and Roast Battle on Comedy Central.
As well as touring the country with All Talk, he'll play the Galway Comedy Carnival this weekend before heading to a ski resort in Austria in the new year to play Altitude, a festival he founded with fellow comic Marcus Brigstocke.
As if that wasn't enough, Andrew also has a very secret TV project coming up that he "can't talk about", and is developing a sit-com about middle-aged dads in Dublin - a role he figures he might know a thing or two about...
For more information on the Galway Comedy Carnival - click here.