Wednesday 21 March 2018

Supply of laughs meets demand at economics bash

Celebrity economist David McWilliams
Celebrity economist David McWilliams
Comedian Bill Black at the annual Kilkenomics event in Kilkenny

Maeve Dineen

THE economy hasn't given us much to laugh about over the last number of years but this weekend our tragic economic collapse will provide the material for the annual Kilkenomics comedy festival in Kilkenny.

Never one to waste a good crisis, the four-day economic/comedy think-in is the brainchild of economist David McWilliams.

Described as "Davos with jokes" it features a plethora of comic sketches and discussions in theatres and pubs across the marble city.

One of the highlights of the festival was Colin Murphy's 'Guaranteed!', a comedic play reconstructing Ireland's banking boom and bust – as it was seen from inside the corridors of power – up to the night of the bank guarantee in September 2008.

A cast of five play a myriad of ministers, bankers and bureaucrats as they wrestle with the unfolding crisis.

Directed by Conall Morrison, the play offers an entertaining and lively take on the the biggest financial gamble, and arguably the biggest policy decision, ever taken by an Irish government. The play treats its subject with wit and flair and plays out why for some of the senior executives in high-flying Anglo Irish Bank the guarantee is a cause for hilarity.

Another intriguing event is a discussion this evening in Cleere's pub about the provenance and accuracy of economic forecasts. It is called 'Pulling it Out of Our Arse?', a reference no doubt to where John Bowe allegedly plucked the figure for Anglo's bailout requirements.

No economic festival is complete without a look at the property market and economists Stephen Kinsella, Constantin Gurdgiev, Ronan Lyons, along with comedians Bill Black and Colm O'Regan will look at our ongoing love affair with the property market.

With the troika leaving town this week, the standups will put the economists under the spotlight and talk through crucial issues such as the prospects for the Irish economy in 2014 and what happens after the troika leaves.

There are more intriguing talks too on issues like the economics of sport, behavioural economics with one of the world's leading experts, Dan Ariely; and there is even a discussion also the economics of the popular 'Game of Thrones' TV series.

The show will close tomorrow evening with McWilliams, Ariely, and Megan Greene teasing out 10 ideas to help Ireland recover and grow.

Ten? These days we'd settle for one or two!

Irish Independent

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