Patrick Kielty jet-setting between LA, London and …Cambridge

The Tab does some serious investigative journalism and finds out whether Kielty would rather face one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses.

Cambridge Comedy Junction Patrick Kielty standup

The Tab gets down and dirty with the next big name to hit the Cambridge comedy scene. 

Patrick Kielty started out doing stand-up as a student at Queen’s University in Belfast, making a name for himself  when he founded the first comedy club in the city. He was known for performing politically risky material during the Troubles (“things were still pretty full-on and hairy back then”). Those days, though, are long behind him – his television career has taken off now and some have even gone so far as to call him a ‘celebrity’, no doubt aided by his marriage to Cat Deeley.

He’s about to hit the Cambridge leg of his Help tour, playing the Junction this Thursday, but he’s not in town yet: his agent tells me he’ll be calling from Nashville, Tennessee.

As I waited for him to call, my mind wandered and I thought how difficult this transatlantic interview would be in a world without telephones: presumably I’d have to catch a flight to America and, with the use of my many hounds, follow his trail down to a strange neck of the woods just outside Nashville. I’d ask a local Tennessean where I could find him: without saying a word, he’d point with his wizened fingers to a small cabin nestled in the shade of the local buckeye trees. I’d have given him some fishing bait for his help, thanked him, and we would have parted as friends.

Apparently this isn’t Nashville. Who knew.

But the telephone has been invented and soon enough he called me using one of those. I start by asking how life is treating him. By the sounds of it, it’s all prawn and champagne cocktails at his end. He lives a life split between London and Los Angeles (you know, like the celebrities do), and he says he’s currently across the street from a bar in Nashville called Whiskey Rhythms Saloon. He travels between the two undoubtedly to visit Cat Deeley who has apparently become a big deal in America since hosting the hit US show So You Think You Can Dance?

There truly is no business like show business and Kielty tells the Tab he is not one to complain about the attention that fame brings: “I don’t think there are any downsides. You get nice tables in places…they say they’ve upgraded your room”. Gee, the man is balling.

Patrick acting natural.

But the ballers have problems too, you know, and Kielty is getting to the age where he’s taking stock of where he’s at: “Well, the general thrust [of the show] is that everyone could use a little help. I think you get to a certain stage in your life where men of my age maybe take a little speed bump and they think ‘what is life all about?’’’

Instead of ending up “on a shrink’s couch in Beverley Hills, paying hundreds of dollars to discuss my problems”, he has decided to go on tour instead and get some help (and money) from the good folk of the United Kingdom.

“I do my show, and at the end the audience can write down whatever bit of advice they want, and then we choose one, and we put it in a book. So I’m compiling a ‘Help book’ for myself, based on all of the shows. Now, the idea was that I would have really good solid life advice, but what’s happened is that people have just taken the piss out of me…Let’s just say, Tom, the advice has been varied. The help has been very varied.”

But he seems to appreciate honest feedback since “the nice thing is that anybody who comes to see this show realises I am being honest. There is nothing contrived in it.”

Patrick is permanently followed by rain clouds from Ireland.

Since we’d turned to the issue of honesty, I steer the conversation to Anthony ‘Tony’ Blair. Kielty had the privilege of interviewing the perma-tanned and swivel-eyed elder statesman when he was still in office. Obviously I was eager to ask about the experience of meeting such a massive wanker.

“We were talking about Ireland, we were talking about Iraq,” he says of the interview.

“I felt it was very interesting that he was a Prime Minister who was trying to sort out a civil conflict whilst simultaneously creating another one. So I asked him: ‘surely Iraq is just IRA with a Q on the end?’ Then a security guard went behind Blair’s back and gave me the wrap-it-up signal.”

To be fair, that is not really the most probing of questions – in fact, it’s one of those questions that has the potential to make you dumber if you think about it too much. So I decided to move away from politics, lighten the tone, and pose the eternal question: would Kielty rather face one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

“I think 100 duck-sized horses,” he says, although he takes my point about the danger of swarming. “Little pint-sized horses, that appeals to my Irish leprechaun side…the problem with the horse-sized ducks is that you could never make enough pancakes to eat it. That’s a lot of hoi sin sauce.”

Finally, I probe him for any pearls of wisdom he could impart to young comedians: “Yeah, I would say three bits of advice. One, write your own material. Two, lean on the leg that shakes most. That’s a practical bit of advice but when you get up there, one of your legs will be shaking. And my third bit of advice is: don’t get too good, because I don’t want you to steal my job.”

Come and watch Patrick Kielty perform at the Cambridge Junction, Thursday November 5th, 8.00 pm.