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Spotlight On: Irish comedian Peter McGann

"There's a whole new audience who are hungry for a bit of craic and a bit of light in grim times..."

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For this week’s Spotlight On feature, we chatted to actor, writer and comedian Peter McGann.

After studying film production in college in Galway, Peter began writing and directing short films and sketches – including Sure Look This Is It#ComingHome and Christmas Party.

The Wicklow native began sharing his comedy sketches on Instagram and Twitter, and became a huge hit with viewers – creating hilarious characters such as Filter Dad and the Forex Trader.

As lockdown halted live gigs, Peter noticed people were going online to get their comic relief, and saw his social media platform grow massively.

During an exclusive interview with Goss.ie, Peter opened up about staying true to himself and the joy of bringing laughter into the lives of others.

 

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How have you kept motivated and inspired during lockdown?

Before lockdown the odd video would do really well but now, so many people are watching and sharing. There’s a whole new audience who are hungry for a bit of craic and a bit of light in grim times. For me, the motivation is that there is an audience now. It’s exciting.

[Knowing that I’m bringing laughter into people’s lives] is very rewarding. I get very in my own head sometimes and think, ‘who do I think I am sharing these videos?’ And then you see that people are actually enjoying them. So that’s nice, I do like that about it – people are actually getting something out of it.

Putting yourself out there in both acting and comedy requires a lot of confidence. Were you always as confident as you are now?

No, definitely not. That was never something I would’ve ranked myself on. As a child, I would’ve been confident with people my age and who I hung out with, but if I ever had to go up on stage I would be genuinely quite nervous. That took a while to get the hang of.

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All the stuff that I put out are through characters, instead of doing it as myself. It puts you out of your own head a bit instead of overthinking everything, which I am prone to doing. It’s not the best trait to have if you’re doing this sort of thing, but there’s ways around it.

 

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A post shared by Peter McGann (@peterjmcgann)

Are you working on anything exciting in the year ahead?

Myself and my co-writer have developed our new play. We’ve written two before so it’s the third of a trilogy, and the Abbey Theatre are after giving us some money to develop it further.

Aside from that, I’m working on a series with that same writer and Deadpan Productions so they’re the two major things that are happening at the moment. Other than that, I’m just working on my sketches, writing and putting stuff out there all the time.

Would you ever write and star in your own comedy show? 

I’d absolutely love to. I think I’d be better suited to that than I would with like a sketch show. Some people are so good at sketches, I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. I think I’m good at coming up with weird characters and getting the odd joke in, but I think I’m much better suited to doing a show or a film.

I’d much rather do something that you’re in with the character more, and build on the character over a period of time. Myself and my co-writer John Morton are in the early stages of a show… It would be a comedy, but not fully a comedy – more of a genre kind of piece. So if that’s picked up that would be the dream scenario, but it’s definitely early days. Writing good, character-driven comedies is my end goal and my hope for the future.

What would your advice be for someone who wants to get into comedy?

You may as well do something that you find funny or entertaining rather than ‘oh, what’s the trend now?’ If you do something that you genuinely think is hilarious, that is so specific to you, everyone might not like it… But you can bet that there’s other people out who’ll get a real kick out of it and they’ll appreciate it so much more than just another Irish Mammy sketch or something.

Just do something so specific to you, and have your own voice. Then you’re laughing.

 

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