Interview: Irish stand-up comic Tommy Tiernan talks about the role of the "fool" and why he relishes it

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Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan has been performing stand-up since the early 90s. Around his home country, he's achieved monster success, to the point of being considered comedy's answer to Bono (who, according to Tiernan, should be Ireland's answer to the papacy). But around the rest of the world, even places where he has achieved success, his reputation is as a controversial comic. And while most comedians who get lumped under that adjective either seek out controversy, or at least acknowledge it, Tiernan surprisingly does neither. He's shocked his material would even be considered controversial, given that he doesn't see of himself that way in the least.

In advance of his Canadian Just for Laughs tour, I got a chance to speak with the former Father Ted actor in-depth about his perceptions on controversy and the role the media plays into that, some great and interesting thoughts on the role of the "fool" in modern society, Irish poet and mystic (and one-time University of Manitoba professor) John Moriarty, and the new Pope Francis. He even gave us a bit of a love letter to the art of stand-up comedy. The conversation was vast, intelligent, funny, and engaging.

Tommy is currently on a national tour sponsored by Just for Laughs, including a pair of shows tonight and tomorrow night in Toronto, and additional stops in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. You'd be doing yourself a disservice to not check this man out in your city over the next couple weeks. For tickets, please visit

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Tags: Tommy Tiernan, Just for Laughs, stand-up, Father Ted, controversial, Ireland, Canada, spring, tour

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Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found putting on and promoting music and comedy events with The Purple Room in Winnipeg, or co-producing the live comedy game shows Pants on Fire and The Great Patio Showdown. (@comedygeek)

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