Money’s a big laughing matter

COMEDY and economics seem unlikely bedfellows but it’s a marriage the organisers of a new festival which kicked off yesterday hope will be a winner.

Kilkenomics is this weekend’s offering from festival city Kilkenny and brings together well-known comics such as Des Bishop, Neil Delamere and Karl Spain; economists such as David McWilliams and commentators Fintan O’Toole, Constantin Gurdgiev and Olivia O’Leary.

Given our economy’s underwhelming performance in recent times, black comedy is likely to be high on the agenda for the four-day event which is aimed at blending “insightful economic analysis and commentary with hilarious comic observations,” say those behind the festival.

The title of last night’s opening show was What the Hell Just Happened, while coming up today are Jargon Busting and The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One. Highlights of the weekend include 23 Things They Didn’t Tell You About Capitalism, and What If , on Saturday, as well as Fantasy Budget and Ireland’s Got Economists!, on Sunday.

Homegrown comedians like Colin Murphy, Barry Murphy and Fred MacAulay will provide laughs, but they are joined by international experts like Peter Schiff, one of America’s most successful investors who has been right on issues such as sub-prime lending, banks, the dollar and gold.

Meanwhile, Bill Black’s mastery of banking fraud and white collar crime is renowned while economist Ha-Joon Chang believes the washing machine has changed our lives more than the internet.

Perhaps mindful of the trouble the euro is in at the moment, Kilkenomics has created its own currency — the Marble — on the premise that Ireland has had four currencies in the last 40 years — so why not one more? It can be exchanged 1:1 with the euro, but is worth €1.10 in Kilkenny’s pubs, restaurants, venues and many shops just for this weekend.

Kilkenomics is taking place in five different venues in the city.

* Programme details are available online at kilkenomics.com

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