by Eoghan Creedon
Despite popular belief, RTÉ is not just a network for people over the age of 65. Sure, RTÉ One’s success is highly reliant on shows like The Late Late Show, Fair City, Nationwide, both the Six One and Nine O’ Clock News and perhaps the most culchie sounding TV show of all time, Ear to the Ground.
In order to move away from their geriatric image, RTÉ Two was significantly pushed as the channel for the youths across the 2010s, with a strong emphasis on comedy. This time period saw the emergence and dominance of some truly hilarious shows such as The Republic of Telly, Hardy Bucks, The Savage Eye and The Fear to name a few. Sadly, just like all good things, these shows have come to an end. But RTÉ’s endeavours into comedy have not come to a complete halt, and no I’m not talking about Mrs. Brown’s Boy’s or The Young Offenders, which are perhaps two of the least funny “comedies” to ever be shown on the network.
The RTÉ Player (yes it still exists) is a hidden goldmine of quality shows just waiting to be unearthed. Two comedy gems worth highlighting are Talking it Out and The Doireann Project.
Talking it Out is a brand-new show for 2020. It is an improvised and animated panel show discussing the world’s events on the given week. The show has already covered such topics as the Trump Impeachment issues, the Corona Virus, as well as the nation’s recent general elections. It is very similar to The Ricky Gervais show from a few years back, only more topical and more Irish. The turnover on an episode is even quicker than that of South Park’s 6 days which is quite astounding, and the animation is even cruder which is truly commendable. The show is working on a shoestring budget, so it is easily forgiven.
The show stars the creator Dave Coffey, playing himself, act as the host to a panel show boasting an incredibly diverse cast of characters including a social media influencer, a former pop star turned activist, a tremendously politically incorrect politician and a failed, temperamental, controversial journalist. The characters are played by Sophie Shanley, Peter McGann, Pearl O’Rourke and most notably Kevin McGahern, previously of The Republic of Telly and Hardy Bucks.
The show is completely improvised which is highly commendable, especially when you remember that almost everyone is playing a character. It can be very difficult to improvise as yourself, improvising whilst playing a character adds another level of difficulty to the process, but the cast pulls it off with ease.
I cannot recommend Talking it Out enough. Each episode is roughly 9 minutes long. You could easily binge the whole series in a little over an hour. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose.
Let’s make a 180° turn to a completely different style of comedy, The Doireann Project. The show stars RTÉ 2FM presenter and Irish personality Doireann Garrihy (obviously), and that’s pretty much it. This is 99% a one woman show. The Doireann Project is a sketch show, which sees Garrihy perform countless impressions of Irish celebrities, and no one is safe. Think of an Irish celebrity/personality and I guarantee you they’re in the show.
I personally only knew Garrihy as a radio presenter before watching the show. Her ability to impersonate countless of celebrities is genuinely astonishing. Honestly, give this woman an Oscar, her range is phenomenal. Fuck Renée Zellweger in Judy, the award for Best Actress should have gone to Doireann Garrihy as literally everyone in The Doireann Project.
While sketch comedy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and some sketches are hit or miss, that’s largely down to your own personal knowledge of the celebrity that’s having the piss taken out of them. If you’re not too familiar with some of the celebrities Garrihy is impersonating, it won’t be long until someone you know pops back up again.
Similar to Talking it Out, an episode of The Doireann Project is only roughly 12 minutes long. So sit down and give it a try. If you don’t find the comedy funny, you at least have to commend Garrihy on her impressions. The fact that she does almost everything herself has gone criminally under the radar and simply deserves more attention and admiration.
So there we have it, 2 hidden gems of the RTÉ Player. If you weren’t aware that the Player is still a thing, head onto it. Its free to use and there’s so many more great shows on it that frankly deserve more viewers. Yes, I realise I sound like a member of the RTÉ Marketing Team. No, I am not working for them. Yes, I will accept a job from you RTÉ, please get in touch. I graduate soon and need a job.