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Best known as one third of the Apres Match ensemble, Gary Cooke is branching into straight-up acting – well sort of – in the latest Ross O’Carroll Kelly play, which finds the south Dublin twat coming to terms with the recession. Taking a break from rehearsals, Cooke explains why Ireland is on the way to becoming the new Bulgaria
Paul Nolan, 02 Nov 2010
“It was up to a point, but it was quite different in many respects as well,” counters Gary. “MacBecks was more ambitious in its staging and so on. There are certain similarities in that it’s a particular kind of writing and acting style, but doing impressions and making them real in a semi-acting way, that was something that kind of emanated from Après Match anyway. To be honest, I think Après Match was ground zero for all of that kind of stuff.”
Now 12 years on the go, Après Match – the comedic trio which consists of Cooke, Risteard Cooper and Barry Murphy – have produced some of the most essential Irish satire during that time. Back together for their regular post-match slots during this summer’s World Cup, they performed some of their finest ever sketches, including their sublime of skewering of Tonight with Vincent Browne.
The recession is at the heart of the new Ross O’Carroll Kelly play, and this was the subject Après Match tackled in those sketches, albeit from a very different angle. Instead of creating fictional characters, they instead sent up the empty rhetoric that now dominates Irish current affairs shows. Among the personalities they parodied in typically merciless fashion were Brian Lenihan, Enda Kenny, Joan Burton, David McWilliams and, of course, Browne himself.
“It was a bit of a departure for us,” notes Cooke. “Obviously there’s so much going on in relation to the economy, it’s hard not to touch on it. You’ve got to do something about it – it’s where the hotspots are. It is empty rhetoric, you’re absolutely right. That’s what we were aiming for; it is all rubbish. In many ways, the media doesn’t help with the amount of space that it has to fill, and that’s what Après Match takes the piss out of. The notion that there’s this industry talking about stuff, and none of it is ever going to be put to the test!
“It’s like what Graham Taylor, the old England manager, said about the teams that journalists pick: (Does perfect Taylor impression ‘Your teams never have to actually go out and play,’ I thought, ‘How fucking right he is!’ Whatever you think about a manager, they call it as they see fit. People in the media... some of them might know something about the economy, and many of them don’t know anything about it. There’s too much media in this country and too much fucking talking. It’s fucking pain in the hole to listen to.