This much I know: Des Bishop, comedian

My idea of misery is having no-one to laugh with.

I always liked performing for people. But I didn’t actually think I could be one of those people who performed for a living.

I do it because it is the thing I enjoy most. I always want to be up on stage, if there is a chance to perform. Even in a situation like karaoke or during a workshop, I want to be the one who is singing or talking. I can’t sing well, so that’s not great for people who go to karaoke with me, but I do try to make them laugh with my awfulness. I enjoy the buzz and the energy, but, most of all, I like entertaining people. It seems to be an instinct in me.

I went through the usual job desires, which included being a lawyer and a priest. My mother loved watching whodunnit shows, so lawyers were always putting in big performances. Obviously, the only gig I was getting to, as a kid, was mass and the priest had the stage, so that seemed attractive, too.

My biggest challenge in life, so far, has been getting clean and sober.

We grew up in a working-class area of Queens, NY. There was not a lot of exposure to any of the arts. Sports were nurtured strongly, but very few people I knew expressed much open desire to explore their artistic side.

I was definitely outgoing. I was never called shy. I guess, at times, I could have been called hyperactive or a wise-ass, but I think kids with my personality have a bit more freedom to express themselves nowadays.

Collaboration is great in the creative process. I often think stand-ups can be too averse to working with others to develop ideas and even write jokes. There are just so many things you can unlock when you work with someone else, that may have stayed locked away in isolation. I am still writing away with Arthur Riordan on various things. I like writing with him, because he has skills and experience that are valuable for me to learn. We have a similar desire to use history as a setting for our stories.

I can incorporate writing into my everyday routine, but I like to head away sometimes, just to keep me focused. I am a major procrastinator, so the heading away to write thing is more of a protection against that.

I don’t have an everyday routine, but I have a routine I like to try to implement when I am in a place for a while. Traveling just messes that up, but once I have more than a few days in a place, I can settle in and get the routine up and running. Its mostly just exercise and coffee shops, to be honest.

The trait I most admire in other people is the ability to let things go.

My main fault is the inability to let things go.

My idea of happiness is being with people I love, by the sea.

Comedians need an audience to come and see them, for the whole thing to work, and TV is a way to get them to know who you are.

Spending a year in China has been great. The biggest reason I did so was because I was curious about the place and the language, and I was pretty sure many other people were, too, so it seemed like a good place to make a TV series about.

I wasn’t into languages at school. I got 9% in Spanish in my first year at UCC and had to repeat the year. (And stop drinking!) My desire to learn Irish grew out of an interest that had built up though years of living in Ireland and hearing endless debates about it. After learning Irish, I did discover that deeper connection you make with people through language and even the process of learning. The desire to make more connections has increased the desire to learn more languages. The great thing about Chinese is 20% of the planet is now covered.

I am disciplined when a task is put in front of me. I am not disciplined when it comes to everyday maintenance or with long deadlines.

So far, life has taught me that I am not right all the time.

See Des Bishop’s ‘Coming Home’ tour: November 1, Dolan’s, Limerick; November 2, GB Shaw Theatre, Carlow; November 5, Pavilion, Dun Laoghaire; November 6, 7, and 8, Everyman Theatre, Cork; November 9, Civic Theatre, Tallaght; November 13, Solstice, Navan; November 14, Glor Ennis; November 15, Wexford Opera House.


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