How Cat Laughs made stand-up mainstream
Des Bishop and Ardal O'Hanlon on how Cat Laughs took stand up mainstream
"I have played it 12 times. The first gig I had I was hosting Milton Jones and Haddie Hayridge in Cleeres. It was sold out, of course, being such a small venue, and I remember it being one of the easiest gigs of my life.
"The great thing about it is that its importance to your career isn't too huge – that pressure would ruin it. However, I have made some important connections and some great friends who went on to help me in many ways.
"Also, in terms of your confidence it is huge, because for that weekend you have a sense of being part of the main attraction – that was really fun and gave me a sense of achievement early on.
"I remember seeing Michael McIntyre for the first time in the Ormonde Hotel and I have a strong memory of thinking, 'My God this guy just knows how to tear a room apart'."
"I was there the first year and I would have been very sceptical.
"It was incredibly ambitious, in a pretty unlikely location, and Irish comedy was small at the time. We were playing to small audiences, kind of an indie-crowd, but Richard Cook had put a lot of thought and planning into it. It was well prepared and just took off.
"It took stand-up comedy into the mainstream in Ireland. I think you had guys in the audience who thought they could have a go.
"Myself, Barry Murphy and Kevin Gildea started organising football matches there – Irish comedians versus the world. The first year, we had 20 people on the sidelines, but eventually we had 2,000.
"My big memory would be playing in the first match and scoring a perfect hat-trick .
"We all stayed in the Club House Hotel one year, and I recall all the comedians raiding the kitchen at 6am. Dylan Moran was there cooking rashers sandwiches for everyone."