Who’d have thought channelling the vibe of a 1970s game show host would work for a 24-year-old Dublin comedian?

Complete with the camp, ooh-er-missus, outrageous wrist flicks, hair tamed into a beautifully retro bouffant and silly skips across the stage... well, it does.

The Marquee was introduced to the sensational Mr Al Porter by The Sugar Cubes eight-piece band and bizarrely enough, he started belting out ‘Copacabana’, interspersed with comments about who he was going to ride.

His act is ribald, raucous, and very raunchy.

But don’t be fooled by his old-timey purple-suited appearance. Al’s intelligence, timing, and sheer determination to get his audience onside makes him one of the best stand-ups in the country. And the jokes were coming so fast, if you didn’t like one, there was another on the way.

Now Porter knows funny. He regales with tales of growing up with his mad ma; he covers religion (he seriously considered becoming a priest when he was a teenager); class; the difference between a bitch and a geebag; and a routine about him revealing he’s really black was just hilarious. He’s an entertainer, is our Al.

The best part of he show for me was when he picked on a guy in the front seat for the entire show (it’s always great when it’s not you).

Aoife Hughes and Pearse Hughes, with Ciara McNelis of Innishannon, before going to see Al Porter perform Live At The Marquee in Cork yesterday. Pic: Darragh Kane
Aoife Hughes and Pearse Hughes, with Ciara McNelis of Innishannon, before going to see Al Porter perform Live At The Marquee in Cork yesterday. Pic: Darragh Kane

To be fair, his band, The Sugar Cubes, did warn the front row they could be in for a bit of a battering.

The tent at the Marquee included all age groups last night and we all went along for the ride on the Porter Express.

It was by no means a sold- out show but the energy made up for the absence of a bursting-at- the-seams Marquee.

He was ably supported by the very funny Eric Lalor — watch out for him. He helpfully told us: “Al’s really fucking gay. It’s not an act.”

Tallaght troubadour Porter has had his dark times — his brutally honest and courageous interview on Cutting Edge when he spoke openly about his depression and medication, and various newspaper and magazine interviews where he has talked about the bad years when he was in college. But it’s fun flamboyant shtick on stage.

Porter looks much older than his years, and his CV shows he’s packed a lot in.

Niamh Walsh and Keith McIntyre of Kildorrery head to see Al Porter Live At The Marquee. Pic: Darragh Kane
Niamh Walsh and Keith McIntyre of Kildorrery head to see Al Porter Live At The Marquee. Pic: Darragh Kane

A child performer, he was cast in his first show at the tender age of nine as the Artful Dodger — who else?

He also starred in I, Keano when he was 10 and has performed in pantos every year since he was a child too, still selling out the Olympia. He’s a regular on UK comedy panel shows, has done Live at the Apollo and opened for Michael McIntyre. And of course, he’s settling into his new lunchtime slot on Today FM, and going to host TV3’s Blind Date. But it’s on the stage, under lights, expectant faces looking up at him — that’s where Porter belongs. In the limelight, basking in the love and laughs of the audience.

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