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The gongs all here
Funnyman musician Paddy Cullivan discusses Ireland’s first musical comedy awards event – and the highwire act that is balancing melody and laughter.
Paul Nolan, 21 May 2012
This month sees the inaugural Irish Musical Comedy Awards at the Laughter Lounge, with the event taking its cue from the UK version, which has served as a launching pad for the likes of Frisky and Mannish, Jay Foreman and Irish act Abandoman. The success of Flight Of The Conchords and Tim Minchin, not to mention homegrown performers like Dead Cat Bounce, David O’Doherty and The Rubberbandits, has proven that there is a huge appetite for this particular style of humour.
The Irish wing of this movement, of course, also includes The Camembert Quartet, familiar to many as the house band on The Late Late Show. The group’s frontman Clint Velour, aka Paddy Cullivan, will be one of the judges for the Irish Musical Comedy Awards, which will feature performances from a dozen finalists, drawn from the video entries on the event’s Facebook page. To top it all off, there will be performances on the night from Cullivan and the aforementioned Rubberbandits.
Paddy, who played solo shows recently in London and New York, notes that musical comedy has enjoyed a massive surge in popularity in recent times.
“It’s huge,” he acknowledges. “The Camembert Quartet put out two albums in 2002 and 2004 – that’s how we met Ryan Tubridy and got The Late Late Show gig. Those albums were full of musical comedy, especially ‘Boybands Are Cunts’, which I’m revising for the tenth anniversary. I’ll be performing that at the Laughter Lounge. There is a musical comedy tradition in Ireland; Dermot Morgan would have done ‘Thank You Very Much Mr. Eastwood’ in the ’80s, and before that you had Rosaleen Linehan and so on.
“But musical comedy has always been a kind of side note all over the world, because stand-up was looked at as being the pure version of what comedy is. Then, strangely enough, people like Victoria Wood came along in the ’70s, and if you think of The Beatles, they would do at least one comedy number per album. Rock ‘n’ roll always had people like Ian Dury and Frank Zappa, and humour was definitely a component in what they did. But it was never accepted in comedy circles – there was always this kind of snobbery about it. But I think since Tim Minchin came along and blew it out of the water, musical comedy has come to the fore in a big way.”