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'I've lost interest in Savage Eye, I want to get involved in more movies'

FUNNYMAN David McSavage is not your average comedian.

The straight-talking star is not afraid to go very, very close to the bone.

But he can't make up his mind whether he actually still enjoys making Savage Eye, would prefer to move outside of RTE or would like to increase his female fan base.

It's a risky business, mimicking celebrities to within an inch of their lives, but it's to hilarious effect and it is why RTE wants him back time and again.

When he steps into character – be that Mary Robinson, Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh or Hector O hEochagain – the Dublin-based stand-up delivers punchy, controversial material and cares little about the reaction it evokes from his subjects.

GOLDMINE

But touching on sensitive subjects is part of the charm of The Savage Eye, his satirical goldmine that has returned to television screens with a fourth installment.

The 48-year-old will introduce new characters as well as welcoming back old ones, and while there are plenty of laughs in store, there's a lingering sense on talking to the creator that he's bored.

I put this to him and, unsurprisingly, he simply says it as it is.

"It's a case of thinking sometimes, 'Oh no, is this as good as it gets for me?'" he ponders. "For the first series we were very enthusiastic, then by the third I just wasn't. The fourth season I wasn't that keen to do at all – I have lost interest to a point, to tell the truth," he adds. "I'd really like to not have a show on RTE – I'd like something I make to have an audience further afield."

McSavage tells me he's keen to take on something entirely different. He's currently writing the script for his next project, Poor Me and the B*****ds.

"It's a pilot that will be in black and white and it's not purely a sketch show," he says. "Hopefully something will come of it."

After a part in John Michael McDonagh's movie Calvary, McSavage has also caught the acting bug.

"It's definitely something I would really love to do more of, but waiting for a good script is a pain," he says.

"The route I'll take is write a script myself and just write me into it, I'd say. I have an agent in the UK and I did an audition for Sons of Liberty recently, but didn't get it."

It's an avenue he wants to venture down further, courtesy of a few hours spent rehearsing on the Calvary set with screen veteran Brendan Gleeson, and he's not fussed about failing in auditions.

"Brendan puts so much work into what he does and he was great to spend time with," he says.

"His approach was very revealing. He was talking about the character like a private investigator and really trying to get to the bottom of who he was. It was very interesting to see."

Although his contribution to Calvary was small, McSavage is still reeling from the response he received from cinema-goers.

"It's unusual to have a nice, sparkly reaction from people," he says. "What must it be like for film stars? Unbelievably different to what I usually get, I imagine. It would be like being a mayor of a town or city as a big actor. Maybe it would meet a need in me."

But back to The Savage Eye. The latest series has a go at the gardai, Rihanna and Daniel Day Lewis.

VAMPIRE

Probably much to his disgust, Liveline host Joe Duffy will once again make an appearance in a sketch, this time as an "emotional vampire" who sucks the life force out of listeners.

Duffy is not a fan of McSavage's efforts, but it's water off a duck's back.

"I think Joe sees himself as some kind of moral or ethical guardian and it's self-appointed," McSavage says. "I couldn't give a f*** if he doesn't like it.

"In a way, you're paying tribute to these people when you impersonate them because you're saying they're culturally significant.

"Pat Kenny never reacted and Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh said she loved the impressions of her. Maybe I'm asking for a slap, but riling people is actual- ly not why I do it. It's earning a living, it's what I do."

When interviewing McSavage, the son of Fianna Fail TD David Andrews and a cousin of Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy, you get the feeling that he will always try to shock you with a crass statement or contentious opinion.

You have to assume he's in character, playing some kind of role that he has devised for himself.

The writer started out as a street entertainer in Temple Bar Square. He knows his craft and he is unafraid to poke fun at what he describes as societal flaws in Ireland today.

Whether he is translating that on the small or big screen, you can be absolutely positive that his desire to tell it like it is will never abate.

For him, it's just being honest about how he perceives life going on around him.

"I'm ashamed of this country sometimes," he concludes.

The Savage Eye returns to RTE Two on Monday at 10pm.

SEE TV REVIEW, PAGE 49


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