Don’t forget the biscuits…


Nestled in one of Dublin’s most famous bars is a night of comedy gold says Catriona Laverty

Let’s be fair, The International Bar is a bit of a dive. But there’s no denying the charm of the comedy cellar upstairs: the room is tiny, painted all black and furnished with an assortment of GAA club stools. The spotlights on the stage are actually four bendy desk lamps duct taped to the beams, and somewhere behind all the black paint is what I suspect to be a large hole in the wall, as the passing street sweeper trucks sounded disconcertingly close.

And that’s part of what makes the Comedy Mish Mash such a fantastic night out. The atmosphere is brilliant: everyone is squashed in, no one is really comfortable, but sure aren’t we all having a grand old laugh.

The evening is co-hosted by Andrew Stanley and currently Fred ‘Spar Ad’ Cooke. Calling him ‘Spar Ad’ is somewhat unfair, as he is a rather excellent stand-up who entertained the crowd hilariously with a host of anecdotes and songs.

The first actual act of the night was Australian comedian Damian Clark, who starred with Stanley in I Dare Ya. The easy interplay between the the lads onstage just added to the feel that this is a familiar, unreserved comedy gig. Clark is a funny guy, who clearly loves to be on stage and left the crowd hiccuping with laughter with his banter-y style.

Next up was comedy sketch group Shinoxcy. There are inevitable comparisons with the Smack the Pony girls here, and the three Shinoxcy ladies certainly have the talent both at comedy and acting to go far on the scene. I’m not sure the crowd were accustomed to seeing sketch shows in the Comedy Cellar, but we quickly got into it and the laughter was flowing – not quite sure about the Mexican Man though.

UCD alum Jarleth Regan was next on the list, his easygoing storytelling style of comedy again had us in uproarious giggles. The only real complaint was that he didn’t stay long enough!

The beauty of this club is that many of our now internationally renowned comedians started their careers here, and many of them subsequently return to try out new tour material before taking it on the road. Last Tuesday was no exception as the big draw of the night was David O’Doherty.

O’Doherty is just brilliant, and seeing him on stage is a great experience. His set was rather seriously disrupted by an embarassing drunk Irish girl in the front row, but he managed to make begging her to leave as hilarious as the material he eventually got to try out. O’Doherty played almost 45 minutes in the end, which for a €5 is a pretty good deal.

As I left The International Bar well after midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I promised myself (as I have many times before) that I’d come back more regularly to this gem of an entertainment night out. This time, damn it, I mean it!

Andrew Stanley’s Comedy Mish Mash is on every Tuesday in The International Bar on Wicklow St, doors at 9pm.