Friday 22 November 2019

Pat Shortt's Greatest Hits

D'Unbelievables - Jon Kenny and Pat Shortt (left). Photo: RTE Stills Library
D'Unbelievables - Jon Kenny and Pat Shortt (left). Photo: RTE Stills Library
Killinaskully. Photo: RTE Stills Library
Breakfast roll man: capturing the Celtic Tiger years?
Mattie and his veh-heee-killl. Photo: RTE Stills Library
Pat Shortt in Fr Ted. Photo: Tony Gavin

As Barry Egan talks to comic legend Pat Shortt, we look at some of the performer's highlights on stage, TV and in the charts


Pat Shortt and Jon Kenny had us bursting our sides at culchies back in the day. Try that now, and you'd be accused of inciting hatred against muck savages. Or whatever the politically correct term is, these days. A favourite character on D'Unbelievables was the 'Right Funny Man Darcy', a sarcastic teacher, who will be familiar to anyone who went to school in Ireland. Sure, the humiliation didn't do me any lasting harm, says you, still having the nightmares about sitting in class without your pants on.


Most Irish shows are inclined to steer clear of 'Allo 'Allo! style stereotypes. Killinaskully had a German character called Dieter Langer. Ve love zat. It would be wrong to say the show depicted your typical Irish village. Mainly because it didn't have a housing estate called Angry Dubs Who Couldn't Even Afford to Buy in Meath, Wha'? Or a small business called Two Culchies Who Grew Beards So They Could Sell Overpriced Rocket In Farmers' Markets.


Pat's comedy-drama about a guard from the country, working above in the big city. Are you sure that wasn't a reality show, says you, still waiting to come across a guard with a Dublin accent? Don't be so smart. The Templemore accent is more contagious than last year's strain of genital warts in Magaluf. Walk around the town for half an hour, and you'll be talkin' country by the time you get back to your car. Or veh-heee-killl, as it's known locally.


You might remember that Pat's character in Father Ted wore an "I Shot JR" T-shirt. Some say it would have been more accurate if he had worn a "Frankie Say Relax" T-shirt. We say a T-shirt celebrating a song about orgasms was still a no-no in rural Ireland. "Frankie Say Wait Until You Are Married". Now you're talking. RTE made its own 1980s show depicting a character that made JR look like a priest. It was called The Nine O'Clock News. Starring Charles Haughey. As himself.


The chin-scratching brigade like to argue over the piece of art that best captured the Celtic Tiger years. It's fair to say they won't consider Pat's song, The Jumbo Breakfast Roll. It's fair to say they should. Other countries celebrate their wealth with skyscrapers and infrastructure. We ate half a pig in a petrol station every morning for three years. Will Pat get the credit for capturing this in a simple song? He will in his roll.

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