Kevin McGahern on Republic of Telly, the RTÉ scandal, and performing for stingy people
"You could put on a puppet show in Cavan and it would be packed."
Kevin McGahern has been an omnipresent force on the Irish comedy scene for over a decade. Since hosting Republic of Telly in 2013, the Cavan man has performed to thousands across the country, with regular hosting jobs on RTÉ to boot. Friday (22 September) is Culture Night, and so, we sat with McGahern ahead of his hometown gig with the Cavan Comedy Club.
Our first question, of course, was on Culture Night, and performing for Ireland's stingiest county;
"Well, the fact that the gig is free, that settles the stingy factor. It used to be something that really intimidated me. I think I'd be more nervous performing in my home village rather than Cavan town, but then I started doing gigs in Cavan town, and they were the best gigs ever, to the point where I was like 'I'm an idiot, I should have recorded a whole special tonight.'
There's a great scene that was really kicked off about 15 years ago now, and since then, the support from Cavan people has been unbelievable. You could put on a puppet show in Cavan, and it would be packed, and people would be enthusiastic, and they'd want it to go well."
Like most of the country, all we could think about was the hole in Portmarnock last week, and we asked Kevin if he thought it would have been perfect fodder for Republic of Telly back in the day;
"I recently was hanging out with someone who worked with me on the show and we were talking about this exact thing. The last year in RTÉ, since Covid actually, has just been insane, and you're just like 'aw man, you could do so much with this.' Do you remember during Covid when Claire Byrne was teaching us about Covid and she'd have these little playsets every week in case we couldn't - like 'wha? Wait a minute. We're in a pub, but we're not in a pub?'. She built this fake pub and there was lads in there and she was just going up to them and saying 'are you coping alright?'.
It had the same atmosphere when the Late Late Show when it was in an Irish pub but it was in the same studio, and Claire Byrne's scientific experiment pub had the exact same atmosphere as Ryan Tubridy's great craic pub. The whole scandal thing has been like, you're just screaming about sketches about that."
Kevin's headline show in Cavan is nearly booked out, and there are hundreds of events happening around the country for Culture Night. For more information on events close to you, check out the Culture Night website.
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