The shape I'm in: Neil Delamere, comedian

Before starting a new tour, veteran US comedian Jerry Seinfeld tests out his material on the small club circuit, tweaking his content depending on the reaction of seasoned audiences.

Neil Delamere goes a step further and travels to countries where English is not the first language.

“If you do gigs on the continent, you have to slow down. It makes you pare back your comedy — you deal with big broad issues or big broad images or scenarios rather than wordplay. Sometimes doing a gig in Scandinavia is a really useful tool — it helps you to change the focus of the joke or a show.”

But audiences in Northern Ireland — where he presents the BBC’s The Blame Game — seem to have no trouble keeping up with the fast-talking man from Edenderry.

“People in Belfast can understand people who live in Dublin and come from Offaly,” quips the 38- year-old.

A multi-tasker — there is also a Today FM show on Sunday mornings — he has a simple philosophy when it comes to work. 

“If you’re curious about things and you’re engaged in them, then the audience can read that of you as well —whether it’s a radio, studio or live audience — just keep going and when you get bored stop. It’s worked so far for me.”

Neil Delamere, Handstand, The Everyman, Cork, Sunday, June 4.

What shape are you in?

Mainly apple shape. Like a happy Granny Smith. Would like to be a bit fitter but I’ve the usual excuses people make, being busy and work and travelling a lot. 

On the plus side, I’ve started doing resistance training recently so at least I’m a bit stronger than before. The oul jogging could be reintroduced though.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

A few years ago, a salad would be something that somebody else ate and not me. I was always a meat and two veg person. I used to concur with a friend who used to say, ‘salad is like licking the ground’. Didn’t like it. Didn’t know what it was for. 

In recent years, I’ve had a full about change — now I try and eat a salad or two every day.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

I’m pretty much addicted to chocolate. It’s my downfall in terms of healthy eating habits. You can keep your savoury snacks. You can also keep your other sugary offerings masquerading as desserts. 

Panna Cotta is a delinquent’s excuse for a dessert and anyone who likes it should not be trusted. You need chocolate.

What would keep you awake at night?

Not much. I worry about things during the day. I’m trying to be a proponent of the school of thought from your man in Bridge of Spies.

Tom Hanks says to Mark Rylance:

“You don’t seem worried”.

“Would it help?”.

That and ‘this too shall pass’. It gets you through an awful lot. You’ve got to realise the only constant in life is change.

How do you relax?

I walk my dog Charlie, a hairy lurcher, and I play indoor football. Separately, I might add. The dog won’t play football anymore since he had a perfectly legal goal ruled out for offside.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Stephen Fry.

What’s your favourite smell?

My Da’s pipe tobacco — Velvet Plug. It came in a silver foil wrapper with a little orange sticker on the front. He had a contraption that a fella made in Bord na Móna and he’d slice it like you slice cheese. As a kid, I used to help him rub the tobacco and get it into a combustible form.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

I’d like to go a healthy- looking golden brown in the sun and not be someone who once got sunburnt between the passenger door and the boot of the taxi in Spain. At night, I got moon burnt.

When is the last time you cried?

When I got bad news about the aforementioned madra. He’s only about six years old. There is not much that can be done for him. He won’t be with us much longer.

What traits do you least like in others?

Pretentiousness.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I can be careless sometimes. I lose things constantly. I’ve the lost and stolen credit cards number on speed dial. I’m very easily distract...

Do you pray?

Nope.

What would cheer up your day?

An episode of Billions.


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