“I like shaking it up, I get very bored doing the same thing”
Comedian and actor Deirdre O'Kane will take to the stage for her stand up show 'Demented' in Athlone's Dean Crowe Theatre next month.
Deirdre has been on the road with her new show since April 2022 and said that she wrote 50% of the it before the Covid pandemic and the rest during lockdown.
“There's a good bit about getting older and what that entails.” stated the talented comic. In Demented, Deirdre delves into what it's like being the parent of teenagers whilst having older parents, along with the brutality of menopause which she said was something she had resisted dealing with in comedy for a long time.
“There's no room for vanity in comedy. I'm very proud of that part. (menopause aspect of show.) I enjoy getting the fun out of it," she said.
The Drogheda woman revealed it was an eye opener for her on the road, talking about menopause as many people didn't know anything about it.
Deirdre also has many acting credits, having portrayed Debra Moone in Chris O'Dowd's comedy show set in Boyle, 'Moone Boy', and the role of Noeleen in the 2003 film, 'Intermission.'
Despite this, Deirdre said her work has “definitely become more about comedy in the last five years. I did it (comedy) for ten years and stopped for ten years.” Fans of Dancing with the Stars will remember Deirdre's extremely impressive run on the show in 2018 when she was runner-up which she said she used as an oppprtunity to relaunch herself.
Although Deirdre performed exceptionally on the show, she was very reluctant to get involved having refused to take part in the competition on three previous occasions. “I said no to it several times. They kept coming back. After I said no a third time, the producers said to go into the studio with one of the dancers and see how I got on.”
Deirdre continued: “I kind of needed to be relaunched. It made sense. I went back to comedy after ten years. My last show was entirely about that experience.”
Deirdre also received an Irish Film and Television Academy Award (IFTA) when she played the lead role in the 2014 biopic 'Noble' as Christina Noble, a children's rights campaigner, charity worker and writer, who founded the Christina Noble Children's Foundation in 1989.
Deirdre said her reaction to the win was one of relief. “My husband (filmmaker Stephen Bradley) and I made that film together. It took five years. It was a hard thing to get made. It's always a very wonderful thing to be recognised for your work. It's such a hard profession to get work in."
She added that Noble is a huge highlight of her career to date and that her husband thought she was “deluded to shoot a film in Vietnam. I think he thought this is a pipe dream.” The Louth funnywoman said her greatest heartache is that the film is not on Netflix. Although it's available to watch on Prime Video she believes that the majority of Irish people use Netflix over other streaming services.
Deirdre is also “incredibly proud" of her stand up. "It's taken me a long time to get there. I had a love/hate relationship with stand-up. I changed my view as I got older.”
She enjoys being able to employ herself in terms of her stand up career and not be listening for the phone to ring as an actor. “Now I have a real appreciation that I can write, I don't need anyone's permission. Longevity is not to be underestimated.”
“I'm on the road now for ten months. I have had no inclination to write until the last few weeks. It's kind of an organic process for me.”
Deirdre secured her own primetime Saturday night slot on RTÉ One with the show, 'Deirdre O'Kane Talks Funny' during lockdown. She stated: “I kind of knew it would be a one off during Covid. I was comfortable in the chair and I felt very at home with it. I would have loved an opportunity to have an audience. Please God, they'll ask me again.”
People will also know Deirdre for her work as a narrator on Gogglebox Ireland. “I was asked to voice Gogglebox. It's one of the lovely perks that come along now and again if you stay in the business long enough. It's a lovely job to do.”
Deirdre believes longevity is important in the entertainment industry but highlighted how you have to keep generating new ideas to stay in the game. “Usually something comes around but if it doesn't I just start writing. I like shaking it up, I get very bored doing the same thing."
She will also be presenting the IFTAs again this year in May by which time she will have been touring for over a year.
Deirdre will perform her new show, 'Demented' in the Dean Crowe Theatre, Athlone on Saturday, March 18 at 8pm. Tickets cost €23.50 and can be purchased on their website.