In the space of 12 months, Sinead Quinlan won a nationwide search for the hottest new talent in comedy and wrote and filmed a brand new series for RTÉ Player in the middle of a global pandemic. Seriously, Sinead is there anything you can't do?

This time last year, Cork native Sinead Quinlan had never done a stand-up gig. 

While speaking at  a fitness event, she met former Hardy Buck Stephen Kelly and told him that she had always dreamt of becoming a comedian. Impressed by her performance skills, Kelly promised to help her out. And that he did, inviting her to do a set at his gig a couple of months later with 3 Left Bucks at The Wonky Donkey.  

Fast forward 12 months and she has done gigs around the country, performed on live TV and won The Ray D'Arcy Show search for best new comedy talent.

She also wrote and filmed a brand new comedy series, Seriously, Sinead for RTÉ Player in the middle of the global pandemic. 

We caught up with Sinead to find out about her new show, what helped her get survive lockdown and what kind of advice a Hardy Buck gave her. 

Tell us what Seriously, Sinéad is all about?
It's about my dreams of being a successful stand-up comedian being put on hold over the small matter of a global pandemic. I swap out the stand-up gig crowds with a diary. You’ll see me writing in the diary and hear what I’m writing down. Then it cuts to scenes where I’m acting out the stories I’m telling. You’ll hear about my ventures into the new world and my attempts to get my career, love life and social awkwardness back on track. It’s a lip sync series which is really cool because it’s funny in itself when you hear my voice coming out of someone else and there’s loads of really cool animation in it as well.

What was it like putting a show together during a global pandemic?
I felt so lucky to be working on something so exciting when so much of the entertainment industry had been put on hold. I wrote it during lockdown and it gave me something to focus on as all the comedy clubs were closed. As we all know things keep changing every week in terms of the virus so it was a bit stressful when it came closer to filming it as I didn’t know if we would get it done. We got it filmed thankfully so I feel very grateful for that and it’s something that can hopefully make people laugh, we all need the laugh these days.

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What three things have helped you get through lockdown?
My Instagram: I post things on there regularly and making funny videos actually helped me so much and if I could make people laugh then even better. I’ve found it a fantastic way to switch off. It's a place where I don't take myself seriously, get to be as creative as I want and just get to have the craic.

Music: My headphones are almost attached to my body! I listen to music every day and not to sound dramatic but I can’t describe with words how much music means to me.

Spice bags: This is my go-to takeaway. I cook a lot to be fair but when I do get takeaway, I get a spice bag as it brings me such happiness!

Has Stephen Kelly from the Hardy Bucks given you any good advice?
He told me when practising my set to have music or some noise on in the background because if you practice in complete silence you might get thrown then when on stage by a noise from the audience. I thought this was actually really good advice especially when starting out.

Do you feel any pressure after winning the Ray D'Arcy competition?
A small bit because people suddenly had expectations of me then but I think the only person who really puts the pressure on me is myself. I give my absolute all to everything I do, I’ve always been like this and can be quite hard on myself at times but we’re always learning and there’re always improvements to be made.

What kind of people would you say your type of comedy is aimed at?
I’d like to think people of all ages could enjoy my comedy to be honest because I talk about normal everyday things. My material is mostly real-life experiences so it’s very relatable.

Do you hate when people ask for you to tell them a joke? 
I wouldn’t say I hate it but it doesn’t do me any favours because I tell stories rather than quick jokes. A lot of the one-liners are super cheesy and I love cheese, it’s my favourite sandwich but it's not my style of comedy.

Who are your favourite comedians?  
Robin Williams, Billy Connelly, Will Ferrell, Foil, Arms & Hog, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Miranda Hart, Kevin Hart, Ricky Gervais, Maeve Higgins, Nate Bargatze, to name a few.

I like them because they are all really great storytellers, off the wall mad and could have you laughing at the most mundane of things. I love when people find comedy where you’d least expect it.

What are your favourite comedy shows?
Father Ted, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The IT Crowd, Faulty Towers, Friday Night Dinner, again there are so many it’s impossible to choose just one.

I love a crazy storyline and again making comedy out of everyday life and turning it into something absolutely hilarious!

Click here to watch Seriously, Sinead? on RTÉ Player