- 26 Apr 20
Shane Clifford used to work at a small Tesco for many years - until, eventually, he had an ‘RB' (as distinct from an r ’n’ b). A retail breakdown: he just couldn’t take it anymore! And so, he quit his job and left the country for Asia, as you do.
On his return to his hometown of Tralee, he began making-up funny sketches and uploaded them onto his Facebook, modestly named Shane's Brilliant Page. The videos gained traction. He started to make a name for himself.
A cinema lover, Clifford's clips bring experimental films to mind: they achieve the kind of offhand "where is this going?” appeal that good comics strive for. Viral success kickstarted a stand-up career. Shane now lives in Dublin and gigs in popular venues regularly. He’s a changed man – one who hangs his scissors on the wall, as emphasised in one of his short clips.
DTo keep himself sane during lockdown, Shane Clifford records his podcast, the equally modestly named Shane's Brilliant Podcast, on an ironing board (sorry, I’ll read that again!). He also confesses to having had a lockdown breakdown and shaved his head, a decision he regrets, wholeheartedly. Whatever you do during a lockdown, don't shave your head, he advises Hot Press readers.
Hmmmm. I think I’ll follow his advice on that one…
Shamim Malekmian: Did your life as a comedian change as a result of the pandemic?
Shane Clifford: I was doing maybe four or five gigs a week, for the last nine months. So, they are all gone. For the first two weeks, it was kind of cool – a kind of a break – but the novelty has worn off. My girlfriend is a retail worker, and if she gets it, she is definitely going to give it to me.
I saw that you shaved your head.
I shaved my head, first of all, because there are no hairdressers open. And second of all, because I was afraid of going bald, so I wanted to see how I would look like if I had no hair. So, I used that as an excuse to try it out. And I immediately regretted it. My heart sank when I looked at myself in the mirror. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I think you look all right.
(Laughs) Thanks! “I think, you look all right.”
What do you miss the most about the outside world?
Cappuccino. I'm like a proper cappuccino drinker. I don't like instant coffee. For me, having no access to a proper cappuccino is a disaster. It is the most problematic thing of all. I know people are out there with serious issues, but yes, getting my coffee and walking in the city centre and just getting the vibes of the place. I went for a walk the other day, and it was so weird, it was like I was in a movie. It was just me and delivery drivers.
Was there something that you now regret having taken for granted?
Probably everything, but the worst part is not being able to touch and hug people. I think it's just hard for everyone, not to be able to see their loved ones. And yes, I definitely took my cappuccinos for granted (laughs)!
Do you think live comedy is going to be changed permanently by the pandemic?
I think it's going to take a very long time for it to get back to normal. Because the best comedy is the comedy you get in the smallest room with a lot of people packed in. People are now so aware of how germs and viruses are transmitted. I think it will even impact on things like going to the movies.