Thursday 15 November 2018

savage comedy 'pushes boat out'

Former President Mary Robinson as a time traveller. Broadcaster Joe Duffy in nipple clamps. And an actress playing Health Minister Mary Harney with a saddle on her back being ridden around the room by a fellow minister.

Ireland's most controversial comedian Dave McSavage returns to TV screens next month and you can expect him to create some waves.

In 2009 the IFTA-nominated series The Savage Eye became one of the most popular shows on RTE2 by exposing every toe-curling aspect of Irish life, from child-snatching priests to house-obsessed toffs.

Now the 43-year-old is back with a second season which, those who've seen it say, "pushes the boat out" further than anything ever transmitted by RTE.

Health, crime, sport, racism, tourism and the future are the topics in McSavage's mix of documentary and sketches, he dubs 'sketchumentary' .

It's a good thing there's an election called for January, otherwise McSavage, brother of Fianna Fáil Children's Minister Barry Andrews, might have prompted one.

A sketch in first episode Health has Health Minister Mary Harney in the firing line.

Dave McSavage told The Diary: "Mary Harney called hospitals 'centres of excellence' so we've done a sketch where I rename car parks as 'areas of magnificence'.

"To round that off I put a saddle on the actress who's playing Mary Harney and ride around the room on her back".

RTE personalities Pat Kenny and Joe Duffy are other targets. The Frontline host's occasional clangers are lampooned in a recurring sketch called Awkward Moments With Pat Kenny.

While in an episode examining sport and the Irish psyche, McSavage takes on the role of talk show host Joe Duffy.

"We do Liveline and hear Joe interviewing a soccer widow whose husband got so obsessed with the World Cup, he named their daughter Vuvuzelas.

"Then we cut to the studio and see me as Joe wearing nipple-clamps, seemingly aroused by the woman's complaints," said McSavage.

On a more serious note, an episode examining racism in Ireland is filmed at taxi ranks in Dublin where there have been ongoing rows between national and non-national drivers.

The first series of The Savage Eye prompted a number of viewers to complain to RTE about the graphic nature of the show.

However, Dave McSavage said the national broadcaster hasn't asked him to make any cuts to season two.

"In the present time when the church, the banks and Government are all collapsing I feel I have free rein to do what I want.

"I find if a sketch makes a good point and is attacking the right targets, people don't complain. They only write in if it's not funny.

"Yes, this new series might cause waves. It will get a couple of people outraged in Sligo but there's always outrage in Sligo," he said.

Penned by Dave McSavage and collaborators John Cleary, Patrick McDonnell and Dermot McMorrow, top Irish directors Kieron Walsh and Damien O'Donnell are again behind the camera.

The second season of The Savage Eye is due to air on Mondays on RTE from January.

Irish Independent

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