Des Bishop on the Art of Comedic Performance

A native New Yorker, Des Bishop moved from Queens to Ireland in his mid-teens in 1990. He first came to prominence with his TV series ‘The Des Bishop Work Experience’ (2004), where he lived on minimum wage in a series of different jobs in Ireland. Mixing this documentary footage with stand-up, the series became one of the most talked-about of the year, and propelled Des into national stardom. He followed with further TV successes ‘Joy in the Hood’, ‘In the Name of the Fada’, and ‘Breaking China’. 

His standup career has similarly thrived. Following on from a critically revered special and memoir about his late father in 2011, Des’s latest show ‘Mia Mamma’ deals with the loss of his mother in 2019. The show sees Des masterfully and hilariously explore the complexity of life and the lack of easy finishes.


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02:51 Upbringing in America and moving to Ireland

07:58 Des’s first experience of stand-up

12:35 Having ‘early-validation’ people

14:18 Moving from a past-time to a full-time career in stand-up

19:38 The impact of audience interaction on his work material

25:16 Des’s process from idea to the final material on stage

33:40 The storytelling approach to telling jokes

39:20 Building confidence that you can guide an audience and take control of the room

42:48 What’s it like to ‘bomb’ on stage?

45:26 Societal messages and commentary through comedy

49:51 Learning Mandarin

52:41 The role of comedy in Des’s personal life

56:09 What is next for Des

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