Saturday 24 February 2018

American comedian tells Conan tales of 'drowning simpletons' and 'fighting Protestants' from Ireland

Chris Gethard on Conan O'Brien
Chris Gethard on Conan O'Brien
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

US comedian Chris Gethard shares an Irish ancestry with Conan O'Brien and he told the TV host about his 'beautiful' and 'miserable' recent trip to Ireland.

While he described it as a "fascinating place", "the most beautiful place I've ever seen, kindest people I've ever met," he added, "you are only 30 seconds away from the saddest conversation you ever heard".

He visited his grandfather's village and relayed some of the anecdotes he heard.

"My family used to own a pub and this elderly lady said, 'I remember Kelly's pub'," he said, "I said I'd like to see it.  She said, 'No, that building was destroyed by bombs' and that's the vibe."

He continued, "I was like, 'Why did they bomb it?  She said, 'That's just how it goes here'. 

"She sent me to this elderly man's home.  He knew my family.  My wife and I went to his home.  Quickly, one of the first things he said with us was, 'I've owned a gun for 30 years but I haven't fired it in 10'.  That's a badass old man thing.

"My wife is like, 'Oh, did you do a lot of hunting growing up?'

"He's like, 'I've never been hunting a day in my life'

"I asked him, 'Do you remember any happy memories involving my family?'

"He said, 'I do remember once, your great uncle saved a simpleton from drowning in a pond.'

"I was like, 'If it involves the word 'simpleton' it's not a happy story'."

He then said he called his mother from a field and asked if his grandfather had ever told her anything happy about this place.

"She said there was one little bridge over a stream and he always talked about how much he loved it.

"I said, 'Could I see it?'  She said, 'Yeah, he and the other Catholic boys used to fist fight the Protestants on that bridge.

"The field used to be an orchard owned by my family until my great grandfather gambled it away and then went blind."

Conan spoke for everyone when he said, "Okay, lovely stories."

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