Don’t Make Me Come Up There! (Part 1 – Intro)

October, 1987:

It’s past midnight. I’m lying in bed, in a darkened room, tears rolling down my face, my sobbing quite audible. My parents suddenly burst into my room, a look of worried concern on their faces.

“Rob. Rob, are you okay?”

I take the earphones out, looking at them, momentarily confused by the question.

“Yeah, I’m good. Was just listening to Billy Connolly.”

Relieved, they leave, and I go back to crying my little eyes out at this man’s comedy genius. A grown man, making this 17 year old, on his own, laugh like a drain.


October, 2017 (30 years later, maths fans):

I’m sitting in the rec room of a treatment centre, with about 10 other recovering drink and drug addicts. Billy Connolly is on TV, doing his thing, as brilliantly as he did 30 years ago. Everyone is laughing. Everyone except me. I’m sitting, completely ambivalent about what I’m watching, at first, then steadily getting more and more down. I go for a walk around the grounds.

‘Shit. Fuck. Shit.’

Welcome to the world of the failed stand-up comedian. In an attempt to work out what went wrong (although it DID go right for a time), I’m… well… I’m writing this. Obviously. I already know the basics. We’ll divide it up roughly and say half my fault, half ‘comedy’s ‘. My own hubris and ‘addictive behaviours’ didn’t help, but at the same time, led me TO comedy. Then there’s the matter of live comedy itself, particularly here in Ireland, with all the usual Irish traps and pitfalls, that leave comedy, in its present form, a mess of ‘have-a-go’ comedians AND promoters that bring nothing special to the (badly lit) stage, and muck it up for anything of substance to attract an audience. You could also blame the recession and the internet. Like, I really DO have plenty to work with here!

So, to the point, this is the story of comedy in Ireland, and also the story of me, and my place in it, what led me towards being a comedian (I was a late starter at 33), and what comedy in general means / meant to me. I’m afraid we’re gonna have to start right back at…ooh, early ’80s here, kids, but I’ll get to the meat fast as I can. In fact we’ll do a bit of Quantum Leaping about the timeline to keep it interesting. No wait, that would imply time travel and the ability to change what once went wrong. Think more ‘Highlander’. Yes. Mmmm. Flashbacky.

Anyway, back before ’80s flashbacks were a thing, and actually happening live, I was a bit weird. I couldn’t quite grasp what most other kids were into, like this ‘football’ thing (even though I wore a Liverpool sew-on patch on my jacket – good cover, eh?). In fact, the older I was getting , the harder I was finding it to understand my own age group, and consequently most friends I had were a year or two behind me, which made primary school quite a solitary existence. I wasn’t really the social type (no ‘class clown’ action in THIS tale, I’m afraid, folks). I’d spent most of the ’70s (wait, what, a flashback WITHIN a flashback? Whaaaaaaa?) consuming Enid Blyton books, and every comic Fleetway put out, because as a past-time, it was better than fucking rocks at factory windows. I’d a healthy fear of authority that stopped me going down that route anyway. Also, Star Wars had happened, something that didn’t seem to amaze any of the local kids as much as I.

By the time secondary school started, I’d two main interests. Drawing, and music. My main musical love was classical (did I mention I was weird) and by 13 could read and write sheet music. I’d a tiny Casio keyboard with which I’d listen to film soundtracks (Blade Runner, Raiders, Jedi, that sort of thing), learn them by ear, and write down all the musical notation. There WAS no ‘talking to girls’ at this point in my life. I was also developing the dream to be a cartoonist of some kind. At 15, loneliness drove me to check out music that normal people were listening to, and I eventually settled on Queen as my number one band. Well done, Rob. Queen. THAT’ll win the hearts of teenage ladies and the camaraderie of adolescent heterosexual lads. Loneliness persisted.

Luckily, TV back in the late 70s / early ’80s still dealt mostly with ‘entertaining’ an audience (remember that?), and there was no shortage of comedy to lodge itself into my brain for life:
Morecambe & Wise, Dick Emery, Kenny Everett, Python, Spike, Dave Allen, The Grumbleweeds, yes even Russ Abbott, all left indelible mind-stains.

Then, largely in part to one of my new-ish school friends, Ronan (a lad as nerdy as myself, and still a friend to this day), I discovered the comedy LP. Monty Python’s Life of Brian being the Holy Grail. Eh… wait… That doesn’t… Never mind. Anyway, we’d take turns each weekend buying whatever comedy albums we could find, and taping them for each other. There wasn’t a lot available, this is Ireland in the 80s, and consequently we were left with a collection of mostly… Niall Tóibín. Yep. There ya go.

Then ‘Billy & Albert’ came out. It was the sound of 1987, school had finished, and anything was possible. The future lay ahead. Then life threw me my first big kick in the balls. I got thrown into an apprenticeship I didn’t see coming, upon leaving school. It was the ’80s. Jobs were scarcer than sex, I’d no real say in the matter. They’d turn out to be four very tortuous years for me, and I was possibly insane and alcoholic by the end of them. AAAAAND there’s your comedy ‘in’ right there.

In those four years, there was only ever one comedy moment that still sticks in my mind. I saw Michael Redmond on a random TV show, possibly Channel 4, a funny lunatic, on his own, in a brown raincoat, and I remember thinking ‘Wait. Can Irish people do this too? Be on British TV?’. That one little nugget was the only real input I can remember ’til we get to the ’90s. I was busy that whole time just trying to fend off reality.

To Be Continued…

dont wname

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I Was Cured, All Right.

Hello. How’s things? You good? You LOOK well. Well… You could probably lose the nose ring, it’s not really you, but, no no… it’s your choice, I know! Anyway…

It’s been a while since my last proper blog, about 7 months. Last July I went into an alcohol treatment centre, for a 3 month program, and would go on to stay another 2 months. It was… an experience. WHAT I experienced I’m not quite sure of yet. A very religious heavy recovery program, it had its up and downs. And I WILL go into it properly one day, just not right now. I currently live in an ‘after program’ halfway house, probably for the guts of this year, so I wouldn’t be in a position to write of my life in ‘The Village’ (as I’m now referring to it) honestly enough yet. Suffice to say, although I carry resentments towards some involved, I haven’t fallen down a religious path (some of my friends nearly thought I would. C’mon. It’s Me!) and I at least picked up some carpentry skills on the way. And yes, it kept me sober. Still have a head full of shite though, as the picture down below details roughly. Continue reading

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A (very) Brief History of Live Comedy in Ireland

Here ya go:


I’ll follow up with a PROPER history of live Irish comedy some day soon, but this is the general gist.


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Cartoonist Problems…


R. 🙂

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“One Day, I Shall Come Back…”

Greetings, the Ether. As I write this, I’m about 8 hours away from the road to recovery. Sounds cheesy, I know. But the fact is that tomorrow morning I head into rehab, for the next 3 months, away from all electronic communication. It’s my first time ever in residential care for alcoholism, though I’ve had a long past regarding recovery, having previously had 8 years of sobriety, I found myself, 6 years ago, slipping back into the alcoholic lifestyle. There were several ‘triggers’ but I need not get into that now. Suffice to say the last 6 years have gotten very messy, particularly in the last 3 or 4 months, fallings out with family and friends, bridge burning with colleagues, police involvement, homelessness and turning into someone horrible. I have not been at my best. Since April I’ve been through (and put others through) a lot of shit. Bouncing from couch to couch, with the odd night of sleeping rough (my own drunken choices at the time).

The dreams were the worst, when sleep DID come. Dreaming your family have taken you back in / made peace with you (I said something horrible to a family member I wish I could take back), or dreaming of finding money in places you’d forgotten, because you’re now obsessed with your lack of money. Even dreams of casually talking to an ex who was once a best friend, then waking up to find it wasn’t real, THOSE are the dreams that really punch you in the stomach. I’ve even had fallings out with people during bouts of sobriety too, all the stresses and strain of having to depend on others for a roof, and building tension. An awful existence.

I look forward to rehab. It seems like a strict enough program, partly religious based. Though I am not in anyway religious I can get behind this (note to self: mentally replace any mentions of ‘our Lord Jesus’ with ‘Samurai Jack’) if it aids recovery. There’ll be other stuff like meditation, and actually doing some WORK about the place, as well as counselling. All in all, a good package. I’ve managed to stay sober since I first contacted this particular rehab centre, over 2 weeks ago, so I’m hoping this is the end of my drinking (or any other form of mind-altering). Anyway, suffice to say, I will be off the grid for the next 12 weeks, so apologies to anyone trying to contact me over this period. Hopefully I shall come back a better man (or even just a man), and start getting back on top of my life. I wish everyone the best, and talk to you all (hopefully) one day soon.


photo (2)

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Some Cartoons…

3 this week… 🙂





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Howdy McDoody. A couple of bits for you, this blog. I’m knuckling down getting some cartoon strips done which hopefully will be disseminated into the ethernet in coming months. In the meanwhilst, here’s a couple of recent podcasts I partook in.

The Comedy Cast had me in for a nice long chat about Irish comedy, and life in general.

Also, last week had me discuss the reality (or not) of Atlantis, with Those Conspiracy Guys.

AND here’s a bonus cartoon:




Coming soon…


Posted in Alcoholism, Biography, cartoons, Doctor Who, humour, humour scifi, irish comedy, My Own Ignorant Opinion, Philosophy, Podcasts, Radio, standup comedy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment