Friday 18 January 2019

Adam's 'big happy head' as he holds comedy gig in aid of SOS

Comedian Adam Burke is giving the proceeds of his second date in the Mill Theatre to the suicide awareness charity Suicide or Survive - he tells Mary Fogarty why

Adam Burke.
Adam Burke.

After selling out his June date in the Mill Theatre in Dundrum, comedian Adam Burke is putting on a second show, on July 14, in aid of Suicide or Survive.

'The Big Happy Head On Ya!' is the apt title of the show, in which Adam imparts, in suitably amusing fashion, some of the methods he uses to maintain said happy head in his own life. Burke has a busy summer ahead, hosting the comedy at Groove Festival in Bray, hosting two nights at the 'All Together Now' festival, and continuing to bring 'Hardy Har Comedy Club' to audiences at the Harbour Bar each month.

'I know Suicide or Survive through youth work,' said Adam, who works with a youth group in Ballywaltrim. 'It's a cause close to my heart with the line of work I'm in.'

He also did some work with the group 'What's the Story', warming up for their first live podcast for SOS.

Aoife Dooley of 'Your Wan Nikita' fame will open for Adam on July 14. She was a finalist in the Best New Act competition, and has battled her own issues with self-confidence as well as an adult diagnosis of autism.

'It's great that at this stage in life she's able to explain feelings she had in the past. She was picked based on her talent, before I knew any of this. But she's the right fit for it, it's almost like a bit of destiny,' said Adam.

This is Adam's first solo show outside the Harbour Bar. He has previously written and performed three separate hours of comedy.

He decided to change the annual schedule a bit with a gig outside of his home town.

Luminaries such as Fred Cooke and Danny O'Brien had done the Mill, hence the choice. The show is in the studio space at the theatre, and a June 30 date sold out quickly.

Adam has been doing comedy for eleven years and, in a previous incarnation, was a wrestler under the moniker 'Adam Abz'. He's also a youth worker, father to a gang of girls, husband to long-suffering Sandra, and frequent Bray Open Forum agitator.

He recently reached the finals of two prestigious competitions - Show Me the Funny and Ireland's Got Comedy Talent.

He and others who have been on the circuit for a decade or more were being introduced as 'fresh new faces'.

'I was looking around the green room. All of us had been doing it a long time!' he said.

That's the nature of the business and Adam has persevered good-humouredly, in pursuing an art he loves dearly.

On foot of those competitions, a slot at The Laughter Lounge followed, as well as the hosting job at All Together Now in Waterford over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

That includes the job of bringing one of his comedy heroes, Tommy Tiernan, on to the stage.

'To share the stage with that kind of company will be amazing,' he said.

At this year's Bray Comedy Festival, it was the cast of Steve Frost's Comedy Improv who were the comedy royalty for Adam. and they were gentlemen all, never mind being supremely funny.

Adam is a natural host and enjoys that roll.

'If I could do nothing else but work as a host for my entire career, I would,' he said.

Putting people at ease is something which comes naturally to the Bray man, whose sharp wit never veers into snide territory, yet keeps the punters laughing.

The comedy world is a small community and those on the rise or at the top tend to look out for and remember those coming along behind them. As a promoter, Adam subscribes to that ethos when booking acts for Hardy Har or the comedy festival.

He's booked the household-name Rubberbandits, as well as acts doing their first few minutes of standup and everyone in between.

Dara O Briain remains the holy grail for Bray Comedy Festival, but at four years it's a festival still in its early childhood (if not its infancy) compared to giants like the Kilkenny Cat Laughs.

Adam bumped into Dara in the Harbour Bar and the superstar gave his fellow Bray man plenty of encouragement.

'I'm the one who keeps tweeting you!' was how Adam introduced himself. 'I know', said Dara, like a comic Han Solo.

There isn't a venue big enough to accommodate O Briain at the moment, but Adam has some ambitious plans for the years to come as the festival develops.

For tickets to Adam's solo show in Dundrum, go to

Bray People