An interview with Alex Kealy, political comedian and ‘marvellous stand-up’ , Alex is about to embark on his debut UK tour with an hour of comedy about the emotional roots of our rational thoughts. Despite this he still found time to chat to us.
1. Hi Alex, thanks for your time, your tour kicks off in a week or so, what can we expect from the show ?
It’s a show about the emotional roots of rational thought. We think and claim we’re rational but I think the forces that truly motivate us are emotional, irrational. The show’s about that, and how once we reach a view our arguments are more interested in self-justification than true exploration. There are also some cracking jokes about brain scanners, farts, conspiracism, travel guides, jaffa cakes, the mind-body problem, Bruce Springsteen and cheeseburgers.
2. You’re described as a political comedian, what got you interested in politics in the first place ?
I accidentally fell into a cauldron full to the brim of politics as a baby and I’ve never been the same since. These days I’ll just be at the pub having a nice time with mates and suddenly my eyes will roll into the back of my head and in a ghostly tone I’ll start reciting the names of past Chancellors of the Exchequer. It’s ruined a number of dates.
3. And what about political comedy, what took you down that avenue of humour ?
I was worried about being too successful so I thought I’d take up a sub-genre of comedy which necessarily alienates half the audience just as an insurance strategy to avoid being recognised on the bus in 15 years’ time.
4. Given that political differences can bring out extreme reactions in people, what’s the most extreme reaction you’ve had to your comedy ?
I increasingly get heckles as fact-checks, which is an odd one. “But what about the tech solutions to the Irish border, mate!” is a change from “you’re shit”.
5. People discussing political opinions on Facebook a good thing or a bad thing and why ?
The opinion is in the eye of the beholder. Seriously, I do think the problem with a lot of politics on social media is that we don’t see the human beings behind the words on the screen. So much communication is non-verbal and I think in person we are all much more keen to find common ground – those goddamn faces we have, evolutionarily imploring us to empathise. Basically, each time you tweet angrily at someone, you should have to see an 8 second video of them playing with their child and then a prompt comes up with “are you sure you want to continue?”.
6. We can’t go any further on the subject of politics without discussing the immediate future of the UK. In less than fifteen words, what are your thoughts on the future given the last few years political mayhem.
Brexit isn’t over but people are so exhausted they’ll believe Tory mantra that it is.
7. A few comics we’ve interviewed have said they’ve found discussing the same old political subjects over the past few years to become boring, what are your thoughts on this ?
See above! Audiences are pretty sick of it. I can even tell when I do political comedy about another topic that everyone is just delighted not to be thinking about the B word. I think it’s made comedy tricky because a lot of comedians who aren’t political have found a need to have some sort of take on Brexit when actually those comics are fantastic observational or surreal or anecdotal comics, and shouldn’t be required to have some piping hot brexit satire.
8. So, the tour is taking you all over the country, are there any particular towns or cities where you’re particularly nervous or intrigued about how they’ll react to your comedy / opinions ?
I’m only gigging in lovely cities that I’m excited to perform in, so no tour dates getting thrown under the bus in this question, thankyouverymuch. Although there are elements of the show I’m excited to retool for the Dublin tour date in terms of British political references, though I’ve found in the past Irish audiences are pretty clued-in to British politics. If only the British government would pay similar attention to Irish politics…
9. Just for fun now, which of your body parts would you swap and what would you replace it with ?
Hovercrafts for hands, please.
10. Thanks for your time, aside from the tour, what can we expect from you in 2020 ?
I’m writing another show for Edinburgh 2020, which I hope to tour afterwards. It’ll be about advertising, tech, addiction, silicon valley and monopoly. I expect I’ll also sidle some more relatable observational comedy in amongst that.
You can find a full list of tour and and tickets HERE