Arts Q&A: Comedian Gene Fitzpatrick on Dan Gordon, Charley Pride and Wayne Dyer
Jenny Lee puts people on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Co Down comedian Gene Fitzpatrick
1. When did you think about a career in comedy and what were your first steps into it?
I decided around 1980 I could have a career in comedy, having done hundreds of charity shows and semi pro gigs to test the reaction. Then in 1981 I won the Benson and Hedges Entertainer of the Year which gave me the confidence to believe.
2. Best gigs you've been to?
I really enjoyed Neil Diamond live at Croke Park in the 80s – just awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed working on a cruise ship with the amazing Charley Pride in 2017 and closer to home I went to see Dan Gordon doing his Frank Carson show, Rebel With Out a Pause. Dan was sensational and the director did an unbelievable job, 100 out of 100 for that show.
3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band?
If I was to have a party at my age (74), my band would be from the 60s. So The Searchers or, from home, The James Peake Experience.
4. The record you'd take to a desert island?
Frank Sinatra Greatest Hits. I could pretend a seashell was a microphone and sing My Way and New York New York till I got hoarse.
5. And the book?
How to build and sail a boat. Or anything by philosopher Wayne Dyer.
6. Top three films and why?
The Shawshank Redemption, The Quiet Man, The Blues Brothers – iconic movies that will last a lifetime.
7. Worst film you've seen?
I can't remember because I would have left halfway through and deleted the experience from my memory.
8. Favourite authors?
I love anything by Wayne Dyer, Peter May, Ian Rankin and Fergal Keane.
9. Sports you most enjoy and top team?
My favourite sports teams would undoubtedly be the great Down GAA team of 1960, 61, 68, 91 and 94. Also the Ireland Grand Slam team and golf's Rory McIlroy.
10. Ideal holiday destination?
New York in summer and the Canaries in autumn. If the weather in Ireland could be depended upon, Donegal would just be heaven.
11. Pet hate?
People who can't accept that other people have valid opinions.
12. What's your favourite:
Dinner? Indian, Indian and more Indian.
Dessert? It has to be baked Alaska.
Drink? Being teetotal, there's nothing I like better than a mug of tea or a pint of water.
13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?
Arthur Downey who entrusted me to be godfather to his son Arthur. I knew him since he was no height when he rode a butcher's bike around Banbridge. He's still no height.
14. Is there a God?
Of course there is. In fact I was talking to Him or Her this morning.
:: Gene Fitzpatrick will be staring alongside Jimmy Cricket, John Linehan (May McFettridge) and George Jones in the comedy show You Must Be Joking at Newry Town Hall on September 5, as part of Iur Cinn Fleadh Festival. Tickets available from Buttercrane Shopping Centre, Sean Hollywood Arts Centre or online at Iurcinnfleadh.com.