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My life was unbearable after losing job - Shortt

COMEDIAN Alan Shortt said he descended to a dark place after losing his job with a Dublin radio station.

Work dried up completely for the 44-year-old when he was was let go from Q102 and he found himself struggling to support his family.

He remembers leaving the radio station "in a state of shock, walking out to Dun Laoghaire, the sun was shining, it was a beautiful day".

He walked to the lighthouse and sat looking out to sea thinking: "What was all that about?"

Shortt describes the year after his job loss as the worst. He was forced to return to Cork with his family but could not sell his Dublin house, so he rented it and then rented in Cork.

He says the year "was just a disaster. There was no work happening at all. Gigs had stopped. My normal business at that stage was corporate gigs, after dinner functions, doing compere, doing MC.

"Nobody was spending money. The tap was turned off completely. There was a gap of three months of paying rent in Cork and nothing coming in.

"All of a sudden there was €1,500 being squeezed out of you every month. What you learn when you are not earning anything is that the money disappears straight away. It's gone, sucking you dry."

The comedian says at that point he hit a wall and experienced a terrible darkness.

In an interview with RTE radio he describes " a complete feeling of nothing mattered, nothing cared, didn't want to talk to anybody, thought this was the end."

The turning point came when he started to write about his experience. "If I went into a really dark place I would write those thoughts onto the computer and leave them there."

In late 2009 he did a play. "It got me a whole new level of confidence, being able to go up on the stage again and act and make myself cry and do all sorts of things and it made me think I must be good at what I do.

"I changed my whole thought process in gigs. Instead of doing gags and normal stuff, I just spoke about reality, about where we are, where we were."

Shortt says he is not financially as well off as previously but is in a much better place.

"It's how to manage the debt. It's constantly talking with the bank. Some stuff will have to stay on interest only."

csheehy@herald.ie


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