A Friendly Chat with Colum Tyrrell of The Stand Ups

I sat down for an internet chinwag with Ireland’s brave big hope in New York, Colum Tyrrell, The young lad is off in the big apple trying to make it big in stand up. 

Before he made the leap, a camera crew followed him, Myself, Robbie Bonham, Niamh Marron, and Chris Kent around Ireland for a few months. While we stew in the worry of how we’ll be portrayed, we had a little chat for Headstuff.org 

What were you hoping for when you moved?

I was hoping to see the U.S and learn how to be a great comic by testing myself in the comedy mecca of the world.

What were you afraid of?

Becoming homeless. I didn’t have much money when I came, but some friends of mine bought me a blanket to keep with me, so even if everything went wrong and I ended up sleeping on a park bench I always have the blanket. I slept on trains some nights when I had nowhere to stay and that blanket kept me sane.

Have you met Louis CK? 

Not yet.

Who’s the biggest comic you’ve gigged with?

Judah Friedlander. I’ve seen tonnes of huge comics play tiny rooms but never when I’m performing. I run a monthly show in Queens and I’d love to get Hannibal Burress to drop in. We’ll see.

What’s the standard of comedian like over there? 

Personally I think its the highest standard in the world, just due to the sheer number of comedians there are in the city. But like everything, the more people doing it also means the more terrible people there are doing it at the bottom.

New York is so big, does the scene have tribes?

There are tonnes of tribes, cliques and scenes here. It’s a great city to find your audience in. A performer could choose to perform only in Brooklyn alt rooms or only in Manhattan Bear Pit comedy clubs and still get up every night of the week.

What’s the differences between the scene in Ireland and New York?

Obviously the size is one, but its serious business here too. Comedians from all over globe have moved here to ‘make it’ so they’re not messing around. They eat, drink, sleep comedy. It hugely motivating to see people dedicate so much time and energy into their craft but I’ve also seen people get so consumed with success that they forget why they told jokes is the first place. Ambition is a beautiful thing but you should also be happy chasing that dream, in my opinion.

Has New York changed you? 

I feel it has. I feel more focused on what I want in life and I’m more self aware about my effect on the people around me. I want to achieve my goals in life without being a self-centered asshole. It’s hard to tell if that’s NYC or the amount of LSD I’ve taken here that has changed me.

Colum Tyrrell
Colum Tyrrell

Has New York changed your comedy? 

I hope so. Not drastically but the technical joke writing has improved I hope. I express more opinions on stage these days but that just comes with experience also. I’m trying to do more self promotion these days which I’m normally terrible at so i started a weekly podcast  lowlife diaries available on itunes and soundcloud.

What’s an IHOP like? 

I have no idea but I do love eating pancakes and waffles for breakfast now. My mother would be very disappointed in me having dessert as the first meal of the day.

Have you gigged outside of New York in America, what’s it like?

I’ve only been to New Jersey. Anyone that watches The Sopranos knows which is pretty much the 6th borough of New York. I want to visit the south and perform but I’ve been so busy here it’s hard to get time.

Do you follow any of the American sports? I do but I’m not the best fan. I go to Mets games a lot but mostly just for the hot dogs,the big foam hands and the “do do do do..” song.

Have you tried a corn dog? what does it taste like?

No I haven’t but I will get one this week and report back my findings.

Please do, write an article for us about it, so c’mere what’s the plan?  are you coming back? I live here now and plan on staying here for the next few years but I will be back in Ireland in July for shows and festivals. I’m bringing my debut hour to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August called  the hookers and blow show. I’ll have some previews of that in Dublin in July. I have all my dates on columtyrrell.com when they’re released.

What do you miss about Ireland?

My family, Irish audiences and chicken fillet rolls.

How did you feel being a documentary subject?

I liked it. Really brought out my narcissism. Although having cameras follow me all the time was daunting. I tend to speak before I think which is fine with friends and there’s no recorded evidence.

How do you hope to be perceived?

Funny is always the most important. After that maybe likeable. I’m a nice guy despite face-value and all evidence.

Colm is indeed a nice guy, catch him and loads of others on The Stand Ups. Episode one is available on the TV3 Player here and episode two airs on TV3 this Saturday, April 23rd at 22.30