- 13 May 20
No. 14 in a Series. Interview by Shamim Malekmian
Brian Gallagher has a gag about flying into Dublin Airport with his long beard, short hair and warm Limerick accent. While having his passport stamped, he jokes that "I'm not the terrorist, by the way.” A weary airport officer scoffs that the comic doesn't know the difference between "a terrorist and an eejit.”
When the pandemic shifted the focus from long beards to dry coughs at airports, Gallagher was flying back home from a cancelled European tour. He was in no mood for telling jokes.
In addition to his work as a comic, Brian Gallagher is a part of The Try Channel on YouTube, where comics and entertainers eat novel food and record their reaction to strange tastes. He was relying almost entirely on comedy for his income. And it was going very well. Last year, he had an unbeaten run at the Edinburgh Fringe with his show A** Whole New World. This year, however, under lockdown and feeling cancelled, the Dublin-based comic is inevitably feeling the pressure. As therapy, he talks to his plants and cuts his own hair, as he tells Hot Press.
Your life as a comedian changed with the pandemic…
In its simplest form, there are no gigs. I'm at home, and no comedy club is open. It's quite a dramatic change, going from gigging every night to nothing. Overnight. But it has given me more time to write and be creative. When you're gigging you don't have the time to be creative. Now there's no excuse.
How have you been finding life indoors?
I'm one of those people who are not overly stressed about staying indoors. I have plenty of food. I've got my laptop, my internet, my television. I'm pretty happy at home. I have a nice balcony with flowers and plants. I have my coffee there every morning. I'm happy enough.
How do you spend your days?
I talk to my plants. I do my emails, writing, recording. I cut my hair. Did I tell you this? It wasn't a necessity. I did it out of absolute boredom.
And you have plenty of hats to cover it.
Yea, I have 46 hats (laughs).
Are you not shaving your beard?
I can't touch the beard. No way (laughs).
Didn't they say it would be good if men shaved their beards during the pandemic?
I would say this is a conspiracy theory, pushed by Gillette and Wilkinson Sword (laughs).
What do you miss the most about the outside world?
I miss driving. I drive to gigs, and I think driving creates a good thinking space. It’s my meditation, my mindfulness. I find not being able to drive slightly irritating. I miss having somewhere to go and the anticipation of getting there.
Is there anything that you took too much for granted?
Being able to walk into a shop.
We've talked about this before, but tell me again about your financial devastation.
My financial devastation: Please send money (laughs). No, it's not easy when your source of income has been taken away from you. I don't have a massive mortgage, but I'm under financial pressure. Hopefully, this won't last too long. I really feel for people who have massive bills and financial commitments that they can't meet. It's very stressful.
Is live comedy going to change after the pandemic passes?
I feel like we are in a cinema watching a movie not knowing when it will end. But I think the world will get back to normal eventually, and people are going to be hungry for stuff to do, whenever this is over.