“This show should really be called Six People Who Think Less of Me Than They Did Last Year,” laughs Offaly-born comedian and panel show favourite Neil Delamere, who is set to perform a trio of Northern Irish dates in the next few weeks.
“This is all about squeezing the humour out of all the people I’ve had run-ins with over the past while,” he continues of his Smart Bomb tour which arrives at the Burnavon, Cookstown this evening and then moves to Down Arts Centre on March 2.
“I had this idea of myself as a placid person, but while writing this show, and considering that the common denominator in all these difficulties has been myself - I think maybe I should revise that opinion,” offers the stand-up, whose panel show appearances have displayed his winningly quick-as-lightning wit.
Maybe I offer, it’s actually the rest of the world that has the problem and he is just put upon?
“Well, yeah, I always do feel it’s the rest of the world that has the problem!,” he laughs again.
“Part of what happened when I was writing this show was that I found myself winding people up deliberately because then I might get more material for the middle or the end of the show.”
Art imitates life after all. If you’ve been winding up Delamere you may indeed be featured in some of the meandering, zig-zagging gags here, but the comic has considerately changed the offending people’s names. Next year he might do a show that names all the people he is actually annoyed with so as to create a kind of “perpetual motion of funny grievances”.
Delamere is currently riding high as one of the biggest names on the Irish comedy scene and was recently nominated for fronting RTE documentary, There’s Something about Patrick, which exploded multiple preconceptions and myths about Ireland’s patron saint (apparently Patrick, who is often associated with Co Armagh, never actually made any mention of Armagh in his lifetime, committed some kind of offence in his youth and his favourite colour was not green but blue). It also involved Delamere posing in fifth century saint’s garb for the promotional material, holding a staff and swathed in green.
Neil grew up enjoying American sitcoms, but never realised comedy could be a career option for him until, while a student at DCU, he saw Dara O’Briain performing in a bar and immediately realised he wanted to follow suit. And Delamere quickly proved successful, with laughter-heavy performances on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as BBC NI comedy panel show The Blame Game.
He’s looking forward to his Northern Irish dates, which he insists will involve a “cathartic airing of grievances in a frenetic and funny way” and concedes that the unique cast of his mind, hyper-quick, full of banter and invention, is perhaps a product of growing up in rural Ireland. “I’m pretty sure there is something in the water down in Co Offaly - some sort of funny juice.”
Neil Delamere, Burnavon, Cookstown tonight; Down Arts Centre, March 2; Market Place, Armagh, March 14.