They’ve got the best chemistry on the airwaves. Esther N McCarthy meets Dermot and Dave ahead of the premiere of their live tour at the Cork Comedy Festival.
"Dave slaughters a goat before each show. But the smearing the blood on your balls, is that really necessary?” says Dermot.
“Ooh, edgy,” I think scribbling furiously, shaking my head slightly to dispel the mental image, before cackling away with the two top Today FM DJs.
We’re on the roof garden of the broadcaster’s headquarters, Marconi House, Dublin, sitting in the sun, talking about spirituality and belief systems and how dynamic duo Dermot Whelan and Dave Moore get ready for their hugely successful afternoon show.
“Hey man, it’s a sacrifice, not a slaughter and the PPI radio awards have to come from somewhere,” retorts Dave.
Well, thank the spirits of deceased goats for recording devices because when I’m transcribing the interview later, it turns out Dermot actually said “walls”.
Picture by Philip Fitzpatrick / Collins Photos
The whole interview is like this, me trying to keep up as the lads bounce off each other, lightning quick, laughing away at each other’s one liners, talking over each other, taking up a point the other has made and expanding on it.
It’s razor sharp, zippy banter, that always ends with them laughing with - and at - each other. Just like on their radio show.
They have a genuine rapport and are best buddies on and off the air. They even go the gym together and share a personal trainer who “breaks them in half twice a week”.
They tell me they clicked instantly 14 years ago, when they were first thrown together at Dublin radio station 98 FM.
“We bonded over Alan Partridge impersonations and have been mates ever since,” says Dave, 41.
He morphes into Partridge mode, lip curl, and all. I almost see his hair rearrange into a side parting.
“Err, mine is perfect in terms of its syntax but not its impersonation. His is better but he doesn’t know the lines.”
“Err, smell my cheese, you mother,” say Dermot, 43, in perfect Partridge-ese. Cue me cackling again. God, I love my job sometimes.
You can’t fake this kind of friendship and there’s no denying it translates to great radio. That blatant brag about the PPI awards is proof.
“We’ve won five years running,” says Dermot.
“And they’ve asked him to host it this year,” pipes in Dave, “I’d love to see him present it to himself!”
They’ve also got a Meteor award and a World’s Best Radio Show accolade from New York Festivals taking up space on the shelf.
But before they get suited and booted for PPI gala awards dinner in Kilkenny on October 7th, the lads are psyching themselves up to perform the premiere of “Dermot and Dave Live! The Ah, Sure, Look It Tour” in The Imperial Hotel, on Friday September 23, as part of the Cork Comedy Festival.
They’ll also be presenting their regular afternoon radio show live from Cork.
And how are they preparing for their trip Leeside?
“We’re basically spending a lot of time together in Dermot’s kitchen eating strawberries, coming up with funny things for the show,” says Dave.
Rock and roll, or what?
“I’ve been going to Electric Picnic for years, either working or for pleasure,” says Dermot.
“We didn’t go this year because we’re preparing. Whatever about meeting at the weekend, it’s avoiding the post-Electric Picnic week of having an imaginary nun chase you around with a stick.”
I’m telling ya, the mental imagery is never-ending with these lads.
So what can comedy lovers expect from the show?
“The live show is going to be a mixture of all the characters that we do on the radio show, so Diarmuid Gavin the gardener, Tony Cascerino, Nonie the chocolate seller, Matthew McConaughey, they’ll all be there,” they tell me.
Budget dressing will be the order of the night, explains Dermot, when I ask how they’ll portray the characters in front of a live audience who’ll be using their eyes as well as their ears.
“The show is just going to run. It’ll be more the Aprés Match kind of approach,” explains Dermot.
“If it’s a footballer, we’ll throw on a jersey, if it’s a woman, it’ll be a wig, it’ll be fast.”
“And there’ll be other segments of the show there too,” continues Dave, “like Cheese and Crackers, Dave’s World, Say Stuff to Suit the Music, it’s all there.”
As a fan of the show, I may have mentioned to one or two (hundred) people that I was interviewing them and everyone wanted to know one thing: Is Say Stuff That Suits the Music really as spontaneous as it sounds?
This part of the show is when Dave plays Dermot pieces of music he has never heard before, buzzing him when he wants him to move on and Dermot must, you’ve guessed it, say stuff to suit them.
So, for example, in the inaugural segment for Today FM, Dave listened to random bits of music and came up with voiceovers for Arabian Airwaves, a mobile phone plan, a children’s show promo featuring Peadar the ghost, a tee-up for Channel 4 news show, an Irish ditty, an RTÉ guide jingle and an ad for whiskey from FIFA, all in about 3 minutes.
(You can listen to it at http://www3.todayfm.com/Say-Stuff-To-Suit-The-Music )
It’s on every Thursday and it’s very, very funny.
They are adamant that Dermot isn’t prepped in any way for this.
“Ah, come on, lads, you can tell me,” I say leaning in, waiting for the scoop, ready to AHA! them in a fashion their hero Alan Partridge would be proud of.
“Honestly, you’ll see it in the live show, we’ll do it in a certain way - almost to prove it, because it’s probably the question we get asked the most, he doesn’t have a clue what coming up,” says Dave.
Dermot cuts in, “I wouldn’t get any fun out of it anyway, I do improv comedy, that’s my first love, for me there would be no fun in knowing.”
“Anyway, if I tipped him off, the thing is, the stuff would be more normal. You couldn’t write the stuff he comes out with. And I’m not that sound. Him floundering is one of my favourite things.”
Well, I point out, Dermot isn’t very nice to you when you do Dave’s World.
This segment is pitched as the only truly educational slot on Irish radio where you learn things like what the Q stands for in Q-Tip, and what the inventor of the AK47 really wishes he invented.
It also has the catchiest jingle in all the land. My four-year-old sings it constantly.
“Dave’s World, Dave’s World, if we don’t let him do it, he gets ratty.”
“He does try to catch me out,” agrees Dave.
“That is the microcosm of our entire relationship, him putting sticks into the spokes of my bicycle as I cycle down the road. Him watching as I chin myself.”
They do a little fake fist shake at each other but smiling. They can’t even pretend they hate each other. It’s so cute.
So what’s next on the agenda for the bestest buddies?
“We’re both really passionate about music,” says Dermot, who plays drums in punk rock band, the 123fours.
They play songs by the Ramones, The Undertones, The Clash and any other great bands that start their songs with, One, two, three, four...!
Dave, who has written and produced music for other artists long before getting into radio is more into heavy metal and his band is called COTA.
“Well, it’s not like I’m really trying to be in a band. I was 40 last year and my wife bought me some studio time because that’s what I love to do. I reached out to my favourite band, Murdock, they’re from Offaly. They did session with me. We did a couple of songs, it’s on Soundcloud and all that, and I’m immensely proud of it, but it’s more just for me, I loved doing it.”
Their passion for music is something that served them well.
Their comedy tune for the Euros, Robbie Keane In A Limousine, went straight to No 1 on iTunes.
“We were delighted with that, and we have another song we’re going to release very soon with the same producers,” reveals Dermot.
“It’s another dance tune, it’s got a positive slant, more of a global feel to it rather than strictly Irish.”
“I think music is something we both get really excited about and we’ve both done professionally in different ways and it’s like you just... if you could wave a magic wand, I’d be doing the radio show every day but I’d also be in the studio recording,” says Dave.
“There’s always been a natural desire to do music, there’s outlets like Jingly Bits (where the boys come up with an original jingle for small businesses) and comedy songs over the years but this is the first time we’ve managed to kinda jump into something...”
Dermot takes over, “Something serious, musically it’s serious, the content and lyrics may be funny but we wrote it, we produced it, we take the music and preforming side of things very seriously.”
Dave continues, “We’d love to have an album next year, eight or 10 songs that we’re really proud off, that would be amazing.”
Out of the studio, and away from their frenetic professional life, they’re both married.
Dermot has three children with wife Corina, who’ll be travelling to Cork to see the show.
“Bit of extra pressure for me,” he says.
Their kids are Owen, 10, Matthew, eight, and five-year-old Rose.
Dave and wife Tracy Sheridan have four children, Andrew, six, Sam, four, and 21-month-old twins Nina and Anna.
Is it crazy having twins?
“I think from a family point of view, we managed the transition from two kids to four really well, but the money is insane,” says Dave.
“It’s two of everything. Twice the amount of nappies, baby food, milk, sleeping bags, cots, another car seat, the double pram... we really weren’t prepared for the cost of it all. I asked my wife recently, how are we this broke? Because we’re spending everything we have on the twins.
“People give out about going into Clarke’s and paying €40 quid for a pair of first shoes they probably won’t even wear. Try €80 for two pairs they won’t wear. It’s crazy.”
Dermot’s approach to fatherhood is interesting. He tells me Rose started big school this month.
“There were a few tears that morning alright. She was giving me a hug. The only time she hugs me is when she is desperately afraid, so I tend to do a Michael Jackson thing and dangle her off things. ‘Now you love Daddy, when the lion is chasing you!’”
The two of them crack up as I surreptitiously cross out my note about recommending they visit Fota wildlife park with the families while they’re in Cork.
They have lions, tigers, cheetahs and a rather aggressive peacock down there. Carnage. You’re welcome, Rose.
In the meantime, I’ll look forward to seeing them live in Cork.
Let’s hope the Imperial’s insurance policy covers goat blood on the walls.
Dermot and Dave are on weekdays on Today FM from 12 to 2.30pm.
Cork Comedy Fest September 23-25
The city’s first dedicated laugh fest. As well as Dermot and Dave, there’s Jason Byrne, Kevin McAleer, Bernard O’Shea, Barry Murphy, Heidi O’Loughlin, Foil, Arms & Hog and Eleanor Tiernan in venues such as Cork Opera House, the Everyman, the Roundy and the Imperial Hotel.
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