Arts

Arts Q&A: Comedian and actor Jon Kenny on U2, Stevie Wonder and Munster rugby

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Irish comedian and actor Jon Kenny

Jon Kenny stars in The Matchmaker

1. When did you think about a career in acting/writing and what were your first steps into it?
After years of playing music with a band (Gimik) during my teenage years, I dipped my toe into acting in my early 20s with a local drama group and surprised myself. This was fun, exciting and a challenge as I am dyslexic and had struggled with reading at school. But it worked and opened up a whole new world. The amateur drama league is very strong in Ireland and do great work, which sometimes I feel doesn’t get enough respect or acclaim.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to?
Top of the list is Stevie Wonder in the RDS. Having listened to him for years and having all his albums, to see him live was pure magic. Second would be U2 in Slane Castle around 2001. My son Aran and I started the day by going to a match in Landsdowne Road and finished off with this gig to remember. Number three is any night in a local hostelry – Mary Howard's – in Bruff, Co Limerick, where I live. It is a great house for music and song and it’s free of charge.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?
A cross between the Buena Vista Social Club and The Kilfenora Ceili Band and I’m happy.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island and why?
Stevie Wonder’s Songs in The Key of Life. It is a complete album for every occasion.

5. And the book?
I could do with Robinson Crusoe giving me a few tips.

6. Top three films?
In Bruges, The Death of Stalin and Oliver, the 1968 musical drama with Jack Wilde and Ron Moody. In my youth, it transported me to a different world of an all-singing, all-dancing Dickens’s London.

7. Worst film you've seen?
I’ve never sat through a bad film – I couldn’t suffer that. I really don’t like anything with too much CGI.

8. Favourite authors?
Per Petterson (Out Stealing Horses), Wily Vlautin (Lean on Pete) and Gerard Donovan (Julius Winsome).

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team?
Rugby Union all the way and Munster, of course.

10. Ideal holiday destination?
France. I love the language, the food and the culture.

11. Pet hate?
Pettiness, when people make a big deal over nothing.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Fresh fish cooked simply.

Dessert? I don’t really do deserts that much, but real ice-cream is nice.

Drink? A nice dry, crisp white wine.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?
My wife Margy… still crazy after all these years.

14. Is there a God?
Yes I do believe in God and she must have a great sense of humour.

:: Jon Kenny stars alongside Mary McEvoy in John B Keane's comedy The Matchmaker at Belfast's Lyric Theatre from July 4-6. Tickets from Lyrictheatre.co.uk

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