Friday 19 April 2019

Comedian reveals how he tracked birth parents to solve family health mystery

PJ Gallagher as Jake Stevens in 'Naked Camera'.
PJ Gallagher as Jake Stevens in 'Naked Camera'.

Fiach Kelly

HE'S known to legions of fans as the whistling and newspaper-waving Jake Stevens.

But yesterday Naked Camera funnyman PJ Gallagher revealed a different side as he spoke about how he decided to track down his birth parents after finding out he had an inherited health condition.

Gallagher, who had a Christmas hit with his stand-up DVD 'Take After Yourself and Be Smile', said his adoption was never a problem because he always knew about it.

"I always kind of knew," he said.

"I never remember finding out. I remember thinking everyone was. I thought that's what happened; you had kids and you gave them to somebody else because it was easier that way. It was weirder for me finding out that everyone else wasn't."

The 32-year-old also said he initiated contact with his birthparents, who are still together, five years ago -- just before he achieved fame with his Naked Camera sketch series. He said the initial spur was an arthritis-like health scare that made him aware of his family history.

"It's Reiter's syndrome. People say, 'Is there a history in the family?' And that was a sort of motivation and got me thinking that I didn't really know who I was, never mind where I came from. And that got the ball rolling that way.

"The more and more you look into it, the more and more interested you become and then you really want to find out and then you get emotionally attached to it," he told Ryan Tubridy on RTE radio.

Gallagher, who has a new US-based Jake Stevens show, 'Making Jake' starting next week, also told of how his adoptive mother had pushed him to initiate contact with his birthparents.

"It was always her idea," he added.

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