What’s the story Rory? Comedian who carved a career from social media hits the limelight

What’s the story Rory? Comedian who carved a career from social media hits the limelight

Rory O’Connor, aka Rory’s Stories, is part of a new wave of Irish and international comedians – including Conor Moore, The 2 Johnnies and Giz a Laugh’s Enya Martin – who have used the power of the internet to carve tidy careers.

O’Connor’s madcap social media videos (and his two spin-off Rory’s Stories guidebooks) originally lampooned stock characters from the world of GAA, like the mad mother on the side-line, the free-taker in love with himself and the super sub.

He’s branched out to parody broader facets of Irish life like the workplace, parenting and coupledom, which have helped him build up a nationwide following since launching his Facebook page in 2014, which has the guts of 500,000 followers.

“It’s just a platform,” says O’Connor.

“I did a [theatre] tour at the start of the year and it sold out pretty much all the venues. We’re doing another one now [in the autumn] and hopefully it will be the same. I’m just very lucky that I have hundreds of thousands of people at my fingertips.

“Traditionally if you want to come into stand-up comedy you’d have to go into your small comedy clubs on a Tuesday night, do 10 minutes in front of absolute random-ers.

“Whether they laughed or didn’t laugh is 50-50. I’ve nothing but respect for people who grinded that out for 15 years in order to get into a place like Vicar St.

You’d need a massive passion for it, but I’m lucky I can avoid that by having my following. I know their humour and what they enjoy listening to.

O’Connor admits he might have only ever been to see two comedians live in his lifetime.

Now he’s about to do a sell-out show in Vicar St, Ireland’s most-vaunted live comedy venue. With the fast-tracking route to success comes the downside of having to handle trolling and online abuse.

“I find Twitter is a terrible place for abuse,” he says.

“No matter what I say or do you’re always going to get abused.

"The higher your profile, the more abuse you’re going to get. It’s just the world we live in.

"I remember about a year ago myself and Enya Martin made a video1 based on a man coming home from work and he’s faced by his wife.

“The skit we were trying to do, I see it with my own mam and dad, who are happily married for 30-40 years.

My dad would come in from work and my mam would have a billion questions before he’d even taken off his coat. His response would be: ‘Jeez, would you give me some time to relax.’

“About two days after we posted it, I got back to a hotel in Lahinch – after visiting the Cliffs of Moher – and I had a few missed calls.

"I turned on my Twitter and I’d never seen that level of abuse in my life. It was horrible. Some of them were saying, ‘Rory’s Stories is an ambassador for domestic violence.’

“It showed me how vicious social media can be and how people can take up simple sketches wrong.”

O’Connor, 32, has been a prominent spokesperson for mental health. It’s personal with him – his 23-year-old first cousin took his life when O’Connor was a teenager, and O’Connor has battled with gambling addiction.

A focus on his burgeoning comedy career has been a salvation.

“I remember myself and cousins of my generation made a pact: ‘No matter what happens lads, we speak up.’ Gambling for me was a big trigger,” he says.

“I realised that back in 2013. I met with Gerry Cooney from the Rutland Centre. He said you need to find something to replace your itch for bets, and that’s where Rory’s Stories came from. It’s been a fairy tale story.”

Rory’s Stories is on a nationwide tour, including Vicar St, Dublin, 7.30pm, Saturday, Sept 14.

More on this topic

A sober look at the madness: Cork comedian Tadhg Hickey brings his new show to the Dublin FringeA sober look at the madness: Cork comedian Tadhg Hickey brings his new show to the Dublin Fringe

Comedian Joanne McNally: 'I always saw funny side’Comedian Joanne McNally: 'I always saw funny side’

Simon Amstell: When honesty is the best policySimon Amstell: When honesty is the best policy

Steve Coogan to receive Bafta Los Angeles award for excellence in comedySteve Coogan to receive Bafta Los Angeles award for excellence in comedy

More in this Section

Taste of the sea: Top 8 fish cakesTaste of the sea: Top 8 fish cakes

Learner Dad: I hate nostalgia, I think it’s mawkish and sentimentalLearner Dad: I hate nostalgia, I think it’s mawkish and sentimental

Tackling head lice: Easy treatments to remove itchy creepersTackling head lice: Easy treatments to remove itchy creepers

Getting back to basics with Donal SkehanGetting back to basics with Donal Skehan


Latest Showbiz

Rachel Owen died in 2016 after suffering from cancer.Thom Yorke tells of ‘hard time’ after death of ex-partner in 2016

Ross Mathews said Strictly viewers will come to ‘love’ Visage.Michelle Visage tipped for Strictly success by RuPaul’s Drag Race co-star

Douglas is up for lead actor in a comedy series for his portrayal of an ageing acting coach in The Kominsky Method.Emmy nominee Michael Douglas, 74, says he has no intention of retiring

The biggest night in US television takes place on Sunday.Game Of Thrones looking to end on a high at the 2019 Emmy Awards

More From The Irish Examiner