Tuesday 18 June 2019

'You put the work in and give yourself the opportunity to be lucky' - Longford comedian bags slot on Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Sean Finnerty
Sean Finnerty
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

An Irish comedian is gearing up to perform on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

While the show has welcomed homegrown talent including Saoirse Ronan and Liam Neeson to the sofa over the years, Sean Finnerty, from Killoe, Longford, believes he is the first Irish comedian to perform stand-up on the show.

Sean, who lives in New York, earned the coveted slot after he was spotted by a booker for Fallon at the Stand Up NBC comedy competition in Houston.

"I got to the semi-final and had a really good set.  I felt really good about it and I flew back to New York on the Sunday and had a message from the booker asking if I'd send a transcript and do an audition on Tuesday," reveals Sean.

"The thing is, I was originally supposed to perform at Stand Up NBC in Charlotte, but I cancelled and switched to Houston, which worked out well in the end!"

Sean spent Wednesday night practicing his set at three of New York's top comedy venues ahead of the show's taping today.

"I feel pretty good about it," he tells Independent.ie, "The set, I feel it's ready to go.  It's been working really well for me."

Sean is understandably vague about the content, but admits it revolves around observations an Irish person would make about America, "with a little bit of reference to how we are at home - I think I have a mention of the gardai in there somehwere."

His parents have flown over to New York to support him for his big break on a show which will also feature Cobie Smulders and Michael B Jordan.

Sean has been honing his craft in the Big Apple for the past seven years and it has been a baptism of fire.

"It's been good but New York is a tough, tough city to pursue stand up," he admits.

"It's the best city to pursue it in but it's always tough because this is where some of the best comedians in the world are," he says.

"If you're looking to get in with the clubs before you manage the TV breakthroughs and all that you're competing against people who have been on TV on numerous occasions and have been doing it for years."

His plans post-Fallon are modest - he's hoping to start performing in front of audiences, hit the road, and "headline some clubs" and he's heading to LA next month to launch himself on the scene there.

"It's one of those things where you put the work in and give yourself the opportunity to be lucky," he says.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs on NBC in the US on Friday night.

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