Comedian Shane Todd's desire to become a Holywood megastar

Co Down comedian, actor and 'banter merchant' Shane Todd is one of the rising stars of the Northern Ireland stand-up circuit and he's gaining plenty of traction abroad. Ahead of debuting his new show Holywood to Hollywood at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then taking it to the stage of The Ulster Hall, he spoke to Michael Jackson

Hot Toddy – Holywood's would-be third megastar Shane Todd just hangin' in the H'ood Picture: Emma Kenny Photography
Michael Jackson

What can you tell us about the new show?

It’s an hour long stand-up show. Holywood to Hollywood is about me trying to make it in LA. I went out there to do some gigs and experience life out there, because it’s the stand-up capital of the world and I’ve always wanted to go. It quite self-deprecating, because it obviously didn’t go the way that I had planned. The basis of the show is that I’m from the same Holywood as Rory McIlroy and Jamie Dornan, and they’re around the same age as me, and I’m sort of worried that I’m getting left behind.

What has been your worst gig?

I did a corporate event for a supermarket chain in The Holiday Inn in Belfast – for their Christmas do. Nobody could see me on the stage, and the disco had kind of started. Then they stopped it for the comedy, but everybody kept talking and nobody introduced me as a comedian. The mic was less audible than people's voices, so it was just essentially me standing in a corner talking to nobody – actually, one guy was listening.

You often joke about lack of recognition and how Holywood council haven’t let you switch on the Christmas lights. Why do you think the council haven’t given you the call?

I really thought that this year would be my year. I’m worried that they think I wouldn’t do it, but I’d like to appeal to them and say that I’m willing to do literally anything to do it. I’ll pay them. I’ll bribe government officials, it doesn’t matter. I just think that the people want it.

Who is the funniest comedian you know?

I would say the funniest comedian I know is Kevin McAleer from Omagh. He has a very alternative style of comedy and storytelling. He was coming through at a time when a lot of comedians were doing the same material – for example, Troubles-based comedy – whereas Kevin was doing something totally original. Even now, I’ve seen him maybe three or four times, and I’ve gigged with him once or twice, and he’s still a huge influence on me.

Who is your favourite comedian?

My favourite comedian at the minute is Kevin Hart. He’s hilarious, and I love his work ethic. I watch and listen to everything he does. His work ethic is really infectious and it drives me to work harder too.

Do you have a favourite one-liner?

A guy came up to me during a Northern Ireland game, and because I’m a comedian, people want to tell me jokes. He said, ‘Did you hear about the man who stole the shepherd’s pie?... The shepherd was raging.' I had to pretend that it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard but it was decent.

If you were a sauce, which sauce would you be and why?

I think I would be barbecue sauce. I think it’s a versatile sauce, and it goes with a lot of things. I like to do stand-up, acting, and podcasts, so I think I’m a bit versatile. There are people out there who are maybe sceptical of barbecue sauce, who maybe just think you have it at a barbecue, but I think it’s an underappreciated sauce. It’s sweet.

:: Shane Todd, Holywood to Hollywood, The Ulster Hall, Belfast, September 16; tickets


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