We caught up with comedian Chris Kent to discuss his long-running tour, Christy Doesn't Live Here, his return to work as an electrician during COVID and falling back in love with comedy.

Pushed into comedy by an economic recession, pushed out by a global pandemic; the trajectory of Chris Kent's career has often been decided by circumstances outside of his control.

In 2008, when he lost work as an electrician due to the crash, the Corkonian was inspired to give a career in stand-up a try when he saw people in his home town of Knocknaheeny on Des Bishop's Joy in the Hood - a series that saw the American-born comic host comedy workshops in marginalised communities across Ireland.

Transforming his initial five minutes into a collection of hour-long shows, the stand-up's career was a showcase of slow and steady progress (bar a slight hiccup in 2012 which saw him bow out of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival due to a case of the mumps).

A comic's comic, Kent's anecdotal material and priceless observances had his career reaching new heights with his 2020 tour, Christy Doesn't Live Here, promising a Vicar Street gig - an important notch on any comedian's bedpost - along with a gig at The Everyman on his home turf of Cork.

Then the pandemic happened.

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While the recession pushed Kent into comedy, a pandemic pushed him back out. After a lifetime on the stage, and glimpsing greater success on the horizon, the funnyman was forced to go back to the drawing board, refreshing his CV and moving his family into his childhood bedroom while he figured out their next move.

"I remember I got back from Australia, I was in the middle of my tour and I got an e-mail about trying out for Have I Got News For You? which is funny because I was writing for the trial about the Coronavirus and all that," he laughed.

"It did feel like I was making some momentum. It was the first tour that I felt tickets were selling out early and I had two big shows as opposed to one big show. But look, it is what it is."

"I went back to work, which I wasn't that annoyed about but I was terrified. It was 12 years since I was an electrician and I had all these jokes about being a terrible electrician."

"They were clearly jokes," he adds, "but I had to delete them all off YouTube."

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If a comic is good, their job looks easy, so it's a testament to Chris that so many have assumed his life as an entertainer was a breezy laugh a minute. The reality, of course, was much different. From writing material to booking venues, standing on stage an hour can come at an exceptional cost.

The problem with being an observational comic in particular, says Chris, is that every moment in your day is potential material, meaning that switching off is rarely, if ever, an option.

"It is all consuming. You're never not thinking about gigs. My big life events like getting married or having kids were probably the only time it was off my mind, but I ended up writing shows about all that stuff so it clearly wasn't even off my mind."

"It was lovely to take a break and to put my phone away and not have to constantly worry about tickets and promoting the show and invoicing people. But, to be honest now, I'm really glad to be back."

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With a new found work/life balance and minimal COVID restrictions in place, Kent is finally ready to tread the boards of Vicar Street for his most monumental gig yet. Years of persistence, despite an economic recession, a global pandemic and a surprise case of the mumps, have finally paid off.

"Since I came back, getting my break really doesn't occupy my mind in the same way. I'm in love with comedy again. I'm trying to create my own path now, stick with the comedy, and do the gigs and try to grow my crowd. I'm genuinely so happy to be back."

"I can't wait for Vicar Street," he continued. "I still can't believe it. I remember playing it for the first time 12 or 13 years ago when I opened for PJ Gallagher and it was insane. I had never played for a crowd anywhere near that size. Being a support there is unreal so when it's me and my own show and my own crowd, I just can't wait for that."

In 2022, Chris has more stories, more kids, more jobs, and a keep cup to compensate for his guilt about overpopulation. Get your tickets for Christy Doesn't Live Here at ChrisKent.com.