The comedian, Jimeoin, who performs at Vicar Street on Friday, Dec 6, does observational humour well.
He has the facial expressions. He’s light on his feet and he has the pliable body needed to mimic all sorts of carry-on: from the way people start dancing in a nightclub (some begin dancing at the edge of the floor, slaloming over to where their friends are; others stride purposefully to where their friends are and begin dancing on the spot) to birds’ stupid walks.
On stage, he’ll ask questions such as, ‘why do chickens walk like they’re in a minefield?’ before breaking into their jagged gait — walking gingerly across the stage, as if in a pot of glue, looking fretfully from side to side.
He’s been gone from Ireland a long time, a quarter of a century. He was born in 1966, in England (or, as he says when performing in the UK, “an island off the coast of Ireland called England”), but his family moved to Portstewart, Co Derry, when he was a year old.
Jimeoin emigrated to Australia in his early 20s, where he’s been ensconced since. He lives in Melbourne, with his wife and four kids.
“I miss good games of golf, but that’s really it,” he says about being away from Ireland.
“I get to see other places. I never really bemoan the absence of any place. There’s no point in winding yourself up. If you’re not there, you’re not there.”
He filmed a travel series about Australia, Jimeoin Down Under, which was broadcast by the BBC in 2008.
In his early days of gigging across Australia, he realised its immensity and its sparse population.
“Just to see the vastness of the country was stunning,” he says. “On the west coast, you could drive six hours to a gig and not see one person or even a town; maybe one petrol station three hours in. There would be warnings on the way out of town: ‘Do not leave this town without a full tank of petrol’.”
His comedy isn’t in the least political, so his childhood against the backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland doesn’t seep into his live material. He questions whether the 30-year war gave people from the North a dark sense of humour.
“Yes and no,” he says. “People from Northern Ireland are well able to laugh at other things, as well. Sometimes, that became the easiest joke. That would be my little issue with the sense of humour there. You find that the audience will laugh at a Troubles joke, because they know what you’re talking about. It does make you laugh, because you’re talking about the thing you’re not talking about, but then you can overdo that.
“The nationality side of it doesn’t really come into it. I enjoy a game of sport and a bit of rivalry, but, the truth is, I really like English people. It’s just an island next to us. They have a similar sense of humour to us, as do human beings, full stop. We laugh at the same things and we cry at the same things.
“People are very similar. I was born in England. I have really good English friends, and they’re very English, and then you realise both their parents are Irish, and you go, ‘This is all a joke, really’.”
* Jimeoin performs at 7.30pm, Friday, Dec 6, Vicar St, 58-59 Thomas St, Dublin 8. Further information: www.vicarstreet.ie.
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