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"As The Bishop Said"
Back with a Bang, Des Bishop discusses his most technical show to date and how Alcoholics Anonymous inspired an upcoming project.
Dave Hanratty, 01 Oct 2012
It may be some time, however, before that project comes to fruition as Bishop once again prepares to fully immerse himself into a community as he ups sticks to China for a year with an RTÉ series to follow. A far cry from Connemara but Bishop knows the lay of the land, believes that there is tremendous potential for exploration and is confident that come 2014 we’ll be watching him do his thing in fluent Chinese. As ever, it’s a personal project, one that took four years of shopping around. Given his track record with RTÉ, you might be surprised to discover that getting commissioned doesn’t come easy.
“It never worked that way with me,” he says. “After Joy In The Hood, they offered me a chat show and I guess I could have become one of the faces of RTÉ, but it was never… I mean, that’s not a criticism of them trying to get me to be that, but it was never what I wanted to be. And funny enough, a lot of people think that I’m just some RTÉ guy, but I made a documentary about minimum wage, about marginalised communities, about the Irish language and about my dying father. None of those are mainstream! People try to criticise me as being some fuckin’ mainstream performer and all those things, but there’s not a fuckin’ mainstream channel in America that would even look at those ideas.”
In that regard, Bishop’s CV should speak for itself. There will always be a section of the audience that remain sceptical to comedians tackling serious issues.
“It’s not a play,” he muses. “Part of people’s creative ambitions is that there is something in it for them at the end, but that is nothing to do with ego. It’s everything to do with how human beings work. That’s why we have orgasms. We probably wouldn’t make as many kids if there wasn’t as much in it for us in the making, you know? ‘What a selfish bastard. He had a kid so he could blow his load? What a cunt!’ It’s just part of being human. People can question your motivations. You just drive on and you make interesting shit. I haven’t seen that documentary Russell Brand made about addiction and I want to see it. Funnily enough, I have something similar in with RTE but I want to see Russell Brand’s one. People will say he just loves the sound of his own voice but the guy gives a shit about this thing. If people get something out of it, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad reason to do it.”