- 11 Nov 20
"There’s the prospect of a stormy winter. This is when mental health is going to take a real beating, so this is when any semblance of contact or connection or entertainment or something uplifting is most needed."
Life without parties, clubs, live music and entertainment has been fairly bleak for the last few months, but a new comedy trio are vowing to boost the Irish spirits during the second lockdown.
The Party T*ts are an act comprised of Ailish McCarthy, Ben Verth and Neil 'Keego' Keegan, and their longing for stand up comedy and the buzz of great house parties led them to collaborate.
The crew are hosting a brand new weekly show, inviting the public into their living rooms every Thursday at 8pm on the Party T*ts' Facebook Live.
The show will host different party every week - stag, Halloween, anything that takes their fancy.
Their debut had over 1,000 views in its first weekend and reached 1,200 people, with their sophomore outing reaching almost 5,000 people and receiving over 1,000 views in two hours.
There's no doubt that The Party T*ts have spotted a gap in the party market, and they're only getting started.
"We all met at a socially distanced gig and we hit it off, we just loved making each other laugh," Ben Verth recalls.
"We really enjoyed being back at stand up comedy after many months of not being on stage. We felt it might be a while before we got to perform again, and on the DART home we came up with the idea that we would like to collaborate on something fun and positive to lift spirits (under the influence of some spirits)."
Verth is a stand up comedian from Edinburgh, now living in Dublin, and has gigged all over the UK and Ireland. He has written and performed for BBC Scotland TV's The Karen Dunbar Show, Only An Excuse? and Scot Squad, and is co-owner of Edinburgh's multi-award-winning Monkey Barrel Comedy Club.
Ailish, Ben and Neil wanted the show to be inclusive for the audience, especially after virtually all events were cancelled this year.
"As comedians we feel obligated to make people laugh," Ailish says. "So that's what this show is about - it's a hybrid if doing something we love combined with entertaining the public as we go into lockdown 2.0."
A graduate of the comedy course from the Gaeity School of Acting, Ailish McCarthy has performed stand up in the Vodafone Comedy Festival, MC'd at the Hazelwood tent in Electric Picnic, hosted a Funny Women's workshop, performed in YukYuks Vancouver, Edinburgh, London and comedy clubs all over Ireland.
Ailish and fellow comic Sinead Walsh's show 'WingWoman' is programmed as part of the Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe 2021, Brighton Fringe 2021, and Camden comedy with more dates to come.
"Covid is tough for everyone," 'Keego' adds. "I think we came to a realisation that we needed something new to get through this one. The first lockdown was tough enough. This was going to be something different.
"I think comedians sense how difficult lockdown version two is going to be, much like Die Hard 2, it won’t be as much craic as the first," 'Keego' explains.
"We leave politics, bills, lockdown, annoying neighbours and Covid at the door, we are just here to get a community together to laugh."
'Keego' began his comedy journey in February, but a pandemic quickly followed. Pre-Covid, 'Keego' was gigging all over Dublin and the surrounding counties.
In terms of the live industry, Covid-19 has had a drastic impact on the careers of the trio.
"I moved here and I had a job, comedy was the job," Ben comments. "Then comedy and live entertainment on all levels suddenly stopped, and I didn't have a job. And anything else that I was remotely skilled in - event management, tourism, history - was also gone, so I've been not just unemployed but unemployable for months and months with no end in sight.
"I'm from Edinburgh, so I’m also cut off from friends and family. I’m with my partner and everything is broadly fine, but this show is an attempt to try and be myself again after several months of, well, feeling a bit useless frankly."
Ailish describes the Party T*ts as an outlet for people who want to forget about the global health crisis.
"That's one rule of the show - we are New Zealand, where there is no Covid. It's a space for people to leave that at the door and speak about things we would usually talk about."
It's an opportunity to forget all of that for an hour. What would the future of the livestream party show be, after the lockdown ends?
"I'm hopeful live comedy will return, even if it comes in the form of socially distanced gigs," Ben says.
"We feel that this could have legs once restrictions ease and we can go back to performing in socially distanced gigs that come with regulations," Ailish adds.
"We'd love to have a live show in Dublin where we give the audience party bags and we would continue the panel dynamic where we have a different theme for each show. We feel very exciting times lie ahead."