Northern Ireland

Tommy Tiernan praises 'incredible' audience focus after banning mobile phones

Comedian Tommy Tiernan banned mobile phones from a recent Dublin gig.
Comedian Tommy Tiernan banned mobile phones from a recent Dublin gig.

COMEDIAN Tommy Tiernan has spoken of why he is banning mobile phones from his gigs.

Audience members at a recent Vicar St show in Dublin were told to keep their phones in a special locked pouch during the performance, with staff on hand open them when requested.

He is reported to be the first Irish performer to use the Yondr pouch phone system, describing it as a "fantastic experience."

Discussing it on the Tommy, Hector and Laurita Podcast, he said the constant presence of mobile phones at gigs had become a distraction.

"What happens is, say Vicar St there was 1,100 people there, so we have somewhere between 1,100 and 1,300 bags and it’s a patented thing," he said.

"People are notified beforehand to say this is going to be in operation and the reason for it is to give everybody a better experience and you’ll pay more attention to the show when you don’t have access to your phone."

Having to hire extra staff and pay for the bags, he admitted it was "not cheap" to carry out but said the focus of audience members was "incredible".

It follows a recent controversy for the Navan comic, when he was criticised for telling a joke about African taxi drivers.

Criticisied by RTÉ presenter Emer O'Neill, who walked out of the gig, Tiernan later called to apologise for what he accepted was a racist joke.

The controversy later resulted in taxi company FreeNow cancelling the sponsorship for Tiernan's RTÉ chat show.