Irish Stand-up Comedy – Tommy Tiernan

Tommy Tiernan is a lunatic. That’s not an official diagnosis as there is no medical condition that wholly encapsulates the character of this comedian born in Carndonagh in County Donegal. His performances are raucous, raw and ribald. He’s very popular on the Emerald Isle and could be considered the ultimate apostate, challenging many topical issue such as religion (the Catholic Church in particular), suicide, mental health, sexual orientation and numerous political issues at home and abroad.

It is worth noting that, although Tiernan is regarded as controversial, and someone who ridicules a wide range of sacrosanct issues, it was his jokes about the Holocaust that caused him the greatest trouble. The Wikipedia page for Tiernan has a disproportionately large segment devoted to his alleged anti-Semitism. It is no surprise that Jimmy Wales, owner of the site, is a staunch supporter of Israel and his company has often been accused of facilitating pro-Israeli propaganda through its official system of editing.

As much as Rebel Voice deplores comedians making fun of those who suffered from genocide, regardless of who those people are or were, it should be noted that Tiernan has previously mocked the genocide of Irish Famine. He has also belittled vulnerable groups during his routines, including those with Down Syndrome even though he previously ran a marathon to raise money for that group. He has, in short, succeeded in upsetting many individuals and populations. Is it telling, perhaps, that it is the issue of anti-Semitism that has risen above all others to portray Tiernan as the devil incarnate?

Rebel Voice does not believe that Tommy Tiernan is anti-Semitic, or even anti-Jewish. Nor does he hate Ireland. He is a comedian who tests the boundaries of what is acceptable and quite often gets it wrong. He is not alone in that within the world of stand-up comedy. Yet, when Tiernan gets it right, there are few comedians on the planet who can hold a candle to him.

Have a look at the following clip and see what you think of Ireland’s answer to Lenny Bruce. Caution is advised as the language is adult and raw at times.

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