On the 25th of September, I had the pleasure of going in blind to Al Porter’s gig in the Cork Opera House. For those who have no notion as to who Al Porter is – don’t worry, I was in the exact same boat. But now I’ve been enlightened, and I’d like to do the same for you.
First of all, to get a feel of who this new Irish talent is, it’s probably best to get to know his background. Al Porter is a twenty-two year old (I know, he makes us all feel a little behind on the fame-train) stand-up comedian who happens to have rather fantastic legs – which he happily flaunts around the stage in immaculate suits. Born and bred in Tallaght, a lot of his material is inspired by his experiences there – and also, of course, by the stereotypical Irish Mammy.
Describing his time at Electric Picnic as a ‘zombie apocalypse’ with a permanent soundtrack, Al Porter is no stranger to the stage. He’s been featured on the Late-Late Show twice in his career, along with shows in Edinburgh, London, and even TCD & UCD (come on, UCC, get with it!).
The show itself instigated with the opening act of ‘Totally Wired’, a duo of middle aged men who were all too aware of the fact that the nature of their jokes could be perceived as ‘creepy’ due to their age. And they really ran with that, and it oddly worked. However, as entertaining as they were for their brief slot, Al really stole the show.
One thing to disclose about the antics of Al Porter is that to thoroughly enjoy him you have to be ready & prepared to go on a dirty journey that makes you want to shower directly after the show… somewhat like a fantastic yet questionable one night stand. If you haven’t had any previous exposure to honest-to-god-anal, you certainly will at the end of one of his performances. And by honest-to-god-anal, I mean it. Allegedly, the man wanted to become a priest, went on a religious retreat, got high with a nun and rode a Priest before abandoning the dream.
So, honest-to-god-anal it is.
His performance is incredibly intimate, getting the audience involved in the act to the extent that you can turn to your friend, tears rolling down your cheeks, and see that they’re in the exact same state – probably regretting the choice of not going to the bathroom before the show started. Another regret for some individuals in the audience might be their selection of seats, seeing as Al seemingly has a penchant for making fun of those in the front row – and their fashion choices. In the nature of Irish humour, everyone in the audience took it rather well.
For a night full of innuendos, unfortunate tales of being a fake air-hostess, and gay pride – get on board with Al Porter. And if you do ever have the pleasure of getting to see one of his performances, I recommend that you clean your ears and hone into what’s being said – because he goes from one hilarious tale to the next, then returning to the first story before you have the chance to catch your breath.
And if that hasn’t convinced you: he’s the first comedian I’ve ever seen chase a man across the stage during the opening act, clad in only his underwear. I’m not giving any context to that, feel free to form your own conclusions.