Having attended most of the comedy shows promoted in Hua Hin by Chris Wegoda and The Comedy Club Bangkok in the last few years, it’s easy to report that Irish comic Joe Rooney’s “Celebration of Father Ted” at Fr. Ted’s Restaurant was the most rewarding of them all. The nearly sold-out crowd was engaged from the start of Rooney’s high-energy set, which fortunately covered many topics other than “Father Ted” (Rooney only appeared on one episode of the popular Irish TV show, as Father Damo).
During a pre-show interview (full disclosure: excerpts were broadcast on Surf.Radio, 102.5 FM) Rooney described his act as ’a bit of stand-up, a bit of a quiz, and a bit of cabaret, but it works.” As I entered the venue and saw a large platter of white bread slices on stage, I quickly understood Rooney was not speaking metaphorically when he told me he brings audience members on stage for “a lovely walk and a lovely laugh and to make a sandwich.” The “Lovely Girls Contest” was, of course, won by the lone male participant.
Rooney also riffed on his long-suffering mother (“I’ll just crochet a friend . . .”), being deprived of banned adult magazines as a youth (“we had to draw our own porn. I was just looking at dirty stick figures . . .”), and the “failed carpenter” Jesus, whose angry Roman crucifier complains to his wife, “He said, ‘forgive them they know not what they do. Know not what they do? I’ve been crucifying for 20 years. I know what I’m doing.”
Rooney also picked up a guitar to deliver a rapid-fire medley of song parodies, sending up artists from Bowie and Morrissey to Nirvana and Coldplay. Rooney kept his show moving quickly and continuous roars from the audience served as his well-deserved reward.
Opening the show was a black British comic named Kenny (real name, Kenneth Justin Simmons, “That is not a powerful African name, but I always get job interviews. They never see me coming.” His other targets included Korean BBQ (“the biggest con . . . I can cook in my own house.”), dating apps, and being confused for Michael Jordan while living in China.
All in all, a successful night of Hua Hin comedy to ensure future hilarious endeavours.