VIDEO: Meet the Galway native who’s making quite the impression by ‘cracking the crowd’

Shane Cunningham, 20, has made quite the impression on the public with his ability to impersonate well known characters such as Daniel O’Donnell and Michael D Higgins.

VIDEO: Meet the Galway native who’s making quite the impression by ‘cracking the crowd’

The Galway native impressionist has performed at weddings, socials and balls around the country and can be recognised also from his online videos and success on national radio.

He studied drama for five years at the All Star Performing Art Academy in Mayo and there was asked to take on different accents for pantomimes and Shakespearean plays.

“I was able to catch a good grasp of the different aspects associated with the accents. From then I became obsessed with the ability to copy people’s voices and change my own voice. I spoke in a different voice almost every day,” Shane told the Irish Examiner.

“It was after watching Mario Rosenstock and Oliver Callan that I attempted the impressions and before I knew it I had five or six different voices,” he said.

Shane’s first time standing on stage and performing alone was when he decided to enter a talent show where he won, and from that moment on he knew it was the right path to take.

Shane started impersonating people about about six years ago and learned how to grasp many different voices over a short period of time, however, it is only in the last three years that he has done it professionally.

“Some of my witty charming characters include Daniel O’Donnell who sings a song to his mammy, Francis Brennan does a health check and Michael D Higgins tell stories about the past, which is always a favourite as the majority my audience is of an older generation and can relate to the stories.”

Shane describes how he gets nervous backstage prior to a gig and needs his own space to talk to himself for preparation.

“One of my funniest and embarrassing moments  was when I slipped away to the bathroom to practice and I was in a cubicle when someone walks in and there I am talking to myself in three different voices and your man asks "are you alright in there?" I stayed silent.”

Having the ability to make a crowd laugh feels great and puts Shane at massive ease when performing. “Only people in this business will understand the feeling of cracking the crowd,” he said.

“I remember performing in the Royal Theatre Castlebar, alongside country music stars such as Nathan Carter, Michael English Derek Ryan, Mike Denver and Jimmy Buckley to a crowd of 2,500 people. Walking out to a full crowd was amazing.”

“It’s one thing to stand up and tell jokes but when you engage with your audience like I do and make them the centre of attention then I, as an entertainer, feel what the crowd feels and sometimes to my enjoyment of the whole experience I too burst into laughter.”

Reminiscing on memories of his performances, Shane said, “I’ll never forget the first time someone took out the tissues. This women was in the front row and she took out the tissues halfway through a joke and as it was getting funnier and I too had my work cut out to hold back the laughs. So as you can imagine the atmosphere and general feel good factor is well above average."

People may also recognise Shane from his Facebook videos that he uploads regularly. These are sketches that showcase his talent to the world of social media.

“It’s really to get the name out there and help build a bigger fan base. Facebook is like my little diary if you like, it’s where booking are made and upcoming events are posted,” he said.

Shane has enjoyed huge success on national radio, however, at twenty years old, his main goal now is to appear on a TV chat show so the public can finally put a face to the voices often heard on radio.

In the new year he hopes to tour with a new show that he put together himself by bringing it to small halls or hotels.

“You know what they say, start small and work your way up.”

Shane is available to take bookings for weddings, parties, or whatever the occasion may be. He can be contacted through his Facebook page or send an email to

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