Pat Shortt bringing new show to Civic, that’s right

By Mary Dennehy

CLEVER, down-to-earth and not one bit like Tom out of Father Ted, award-wining comedian Pat Shortt is bringing his unique and relatable comedy style to the stage of the Civic Theatre this May 7.

Pat is one of a few Irish actors that have managed to successfully craft a career on stage, TV and the big screen, with Pat winning national and international awards from Dublin to Cannes – and most recently received high praise after gracing the stage with Daniel Radcliffe in The Cripple of Inishmaan, which showed both in the West End and on Broadway.

LIFE Pat Shortt 

Crowned Tipperary Person of the Year in 2009, Pat is a hardworking performer who has a natural interest in and fascination for Irish life – and over the years he has managed to craft characters that audiences can relate to, and laugh at.

Pat is back touring with his new show Selfie, an interactive production about a singing undertaker Mossey Burke, which has enjoyed top reviews both here at home and in the States and Australia.

Ahead of his visit to the Civic Theatre in Tallaght on May 7, Pat took a few minutes out to speak with The Echo.

How did your career in entertainment start? 

I started out as a musician, I was a sax player. I was playing music with John Kenny and we started bringing a bit of comedy into the show just for a bit of fun. Over time the comedy started to push out the music and we started focusing on the funny stuff. It happened really organically. I’m back playing a bit with a blues band but it’s just a hobby really. 

Were you funny growing up? 

I don’t know! I think there’s lots of funny people out there who can make people laugh but the trick is getting that humour onto a stage. You have to learn how to structure a show and package your comedy so that it’s interesting and engaging for an audience. I’ve learned everything I know through experience, me and John Kenny learned the hard way. Sure, one time we did a gig in a DJ box in a nightclub in Kilkenny. I think looking at the two of us inside the DJ box was funnier than what we were saying but we had to make it work.

Was it tough for you and John at the start?

Absolutely. We were definitely Ireland’s hardest working comedians. We didn’t just do the comedy circuit in Dublin, we were hitting small towns in Kilkenny, Cork, West Kerry, places where we were faced with a lot of abuse from the crowd! It hardened us up though and we learned how to interact with the crowd and go back at them.

How do you develop characters? 

All my characters are ordinary people, I don’t tend to do famous people. I find ordinary people more interesting and I’m fascinated by people’s mannerisms. Most of the characters I develop are not based on one individual, there are a number of different people in any one character – this is what I think makes them work.

Is any character your favourite? 

I always liked to do politician Maurice Hickey, he was absolutely useless but he was so engrossed in his own self-importance that he thought he was brilliant. A lot of the characters I do live in a world that is the big world to them. The live in a little parish down the country but to them it’s the centre of everything. I’m enjoying playing Mossey Burke in the new tour Selfie as well.

Tell us a little about your new show, Selfie? 

Like all of my shows it’s based around an event that I like to bring the audience into. Selfie is about a singing undertaker called Mossey Burke and the chaos that can happen around a funeral. The show was a vehicle for me to talk about Irish people and death and it gets people to look at themselves, how they carry-one, and the craic, of course. The audience ends up being the people at the funeral, so that’s fun.

LIFE Pat Shortt Garage

The play has been really successful in America and Australia, how does the humour translate?

I’m not sure, but it works. We played in New York to a mainstream American audience and we got great reviews. I think they liked the daftness and the silliness. A lot of comedians are quite angry and I think people liked the feel of my show. The reaction in Australia was huge, we were playing to 1,600 people a night and we’re heading back to extend the tour into central Australia and New Zealand.

You’ve managed to be successful on the stage, television and the big screen, how did that happen? 

I’m very lucky to have been able to do all three, which gives me the chance to be at an international film festival and after, head to Tipperary to do a comedy show. I enjoy all aspects of the job and don’t think I could pick a favourite. I just finished a feature film called The Flag, which will be out in cinemas later this year. It’s set in 1916 but turns into a comedy caper. It was the first time I did some mad big stunts, so that was interesting.

Did you do all the stunts yourself? 

Not them all, I had some help with some of them!

Selfie will show at the Civic Theatre this May 7 at 8pm. Tickets cost €28 and for further details visit or call the box office on 4627477.

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