After the success of the Comedy Stage at last year’s Glasgowbury, the G Spot stage returns in 2012 and will feature top local stand-up talent such as Lurgan funny man Micky Bartlett. Originally coming to the attention of Northern Irish audiences after appearing on reality show “Find Me The Funny”, Micky has gone from strength to strength. He is the current resident MC at Mason’s in Derry and has been featured on many BBC NI sketch programs including “LOL” and “Diarmuid Corr’s Sketchy”. Many will be familiar with his “Audio Picnic” collaborations with fellow comic Colin Geddis – we chat to Micky as he prepares to mix it up with some of our best musicians up the mountain this weekend.
► Was comedy something you always wanted to move into?
Micky: Yeah pretty much, I’m told my first words where “is this thing on?”. I was always messing about when I was younger, doing impressions of teachers (sometimes for other teachers so they must have been good impressions), and when I went to University I found out that stand-up could be an actual job, so I started writing and trying to get stage time, and now look at me! Living with my ma, I have £3 in my pocket and just went through an ashtray looking for a butt…..stay in school kids!
► You have gigged in many different places, including appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. How does the Irish comedy scene compare to other places?
I think the Irish scene can be a bit tougher than the other places, especially Northern Ireland. Everyone in this country is a comedian, furthermore they can smell bulls**t a mile away, so most audiences here will call you out straight away. In England the audiences are more used to seeing live comedy, so they’re a bit more forgiving and placid, I prefer Belfast though, because it scares the s*@ite out of me.
► For many musicians appearing on an elimination-style talent show can hinder their future career. After appearing on BBC NI’s “Find Me the Funny” a few years ago, did you ever feel it had a negative effect on yourself trying to make it in comedy?
Not really, when the show came around I had already been performing as a stand-up for about a year, in my head I was a veteran (I was wrong), but I think I knew enough at that stage not to let myself get sucked into all the TV rubbish. I’m always suspicious when I hear the words “who knows? After this you could be a big star”, at the audition for “Find me the Funny” I think I heard that 27 times in the first 15 seconds, so I walked into it with open eyes, after that I made a conscious decision to curse every time I was on camera, so as to limit the amount of screen time/potential damage. Realistically though, I don’t think enough people even watched that for it to have any real affect!
► You were recently featured in Trucker Diablo’s video for “Voodoo” along with Colin Geddis. How did this collaboration with the band come about?
As far as I know one of the lads from the band contacted Colin about making a video, he rang me and said “get the moobs washed…we have work to do” and the rest is homoerotic history.
► You appeared at Glasgowbury last year as the festival brought in a comedy tent for the first time. What was that experience like, and how was the festival crowd different compared to audiences you’d usually play to?
Last year was absolutely insane! I loved it! The comedy tent was packed all day, but you had no idea if people had been there since the start of a joke, or had just walked in! On top of that I think LaFaro were in full swing on the main stage when I was on, so I didn’t know whether to tell jokes or crowd surf.
► While at the festival is there any acts you’re looking to check out?
LaFaro, I missed them last year so I’m definitely going to try and catch them this time round.
► Worst gig?
Going on in the middle of a karaoke competition, in Lurgan. The MC didn’t tell them I was a comedian, and they where all VERY drunk. He also couldn’t hear me when I told him my name, and introduced me as “Ricky Martin”….I was then swiftly coined out of the establishment.
► Favourite gig?
Grand Opera House in Belfast in May this year…..I mean…G-spot Comedy tent, 2011.
► Best heckle you’ve ever been at the receiving end of?
A guy once walked up to the stage and very quietly just went “You’re not funny” and then walked away…it was brilliant! Nobody had ever done that to me before, I was used to people going “yeeeeeeooow….your maaaaaaa”…but that guy was a pioneer of heckles! I couldn’t come back to him because I was the only one who had heard it, and furthermore it really bloody hurt!!!
► Favourite one liner?
My favourite one liner is from a comedian called Sean Hegarty…but he’d kill me if I told you so just go pay in to see him!
► Biggest comedic influence?
I don’t think I have one specific one, if Billy Connolly, Richard Pryor and Dylan Moran made a baby, and then Louis C.K, Chris Rock and Tommy Tiernan made a baby…and those babies grew up and met each other…then had a- actually frig it, put down anyone but Jim Davidson.
► Do you have any other comedy plans in the pipeline outside of stand-up?
Hopefully I’ll be filming a show for BBC N.I in September, myself and Colin Geddis are also working on some videos to be shown at a show in Armagh Marketplace on 31st August…but apart from that I’ll just be doing stand-up.
Catch Micky Bartlett live at Glasgowbury 2012, Saturday 21st July. He will be on stage @ 9.20pm, “G Spot Comedy Stage”.
Twitter ► @mickybartlett