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Friday 06 May 2022

Interview: Patrick Kielty's Humorous Take On Borders & National Identity & Future Of The Union Comes To Brighton

Comedian Patrick Kielty returns to his satirical roots in Brighton with his new stand-up show, Borderline, a personal take on borders, national identity and the future of the Union in a post-Brexit landscape. 
Credit Steve Ullathorne

As a Northern Ireland native, who grew up close to the Irish border, this new one man stand up show delves into his homeland's recent history to try to make sense of what Brexit's new borders and political upheaval means for our shared identities.

Patrick Kielty said: 

"The world's been turned on its head the past few years and thanks to Brexit, we're more obsessed with borders and national identity than ever. 

"With Northern Ireland at the centre of it all, it feels like the right time to get back on stage and try to make some sense of where we're heading."

But why has the comedian been away from stand-up for seven years? 

Chatting in the run-up to his tour, Patrick explains his absence.

"So let's look at a timeline here," smiles the comedian, who is married to the TV presenter Cat Deeley. 

"My last tour was 2015. There was a baby born in 2016. And another baby was born in 2018, which essentially meant that nobody was leaving the house because there were nappies to be changed. 

"Now I am at a point where I have got a six year old and a four year old, and I am sitting there going, 'hmm, Daddy's tired. Maybe Daddy needs a little break. So Daddy's going to go back on the road.""

Hitting his rhetorical strike now, Patrick continues: 

"Cat and I joke about it all the time. There is this idea that life on the road is really tough. But after six years of changing nappies, night feeds, and all of that kids' stuff, I'm going back on the road for a break! I'm sorry to be honest. But I got back on the road for a lie-in!"

To make matters worse, just as Patrick was about to go on tour, a 100 foot pine tree toppled over in a ferocious storm and smashed into the back of his family house in London.

"Just as the tree fell on the back of the house, I had to leave and do the first gig of the tour in Ireland," says the comedian, was has also enjoyed a highly successful TV career on shows such as Fame Academy, Patrick Kielty Almost Live, Live from the Apollo, Stand-up for the Week and Love Island.

"Cat said, 'OK, so you"re just going to talk rubbish on stage, go home to a nice comfortable house in Ireland and make your breakfast at 9 o'clock in the morning instead of 6.30am. And I'm left here with two kids and a tree on the roof of the house!'"

As you can see, Patrick is a wonderfully engaging character, gifted with a mischievous twinkle that is simply infectious. He is equally brilliant live.

He cannot contain his excitement about getting back on stage. He has already had a taste of the thrill of a live show during the Irish leg of his tour. 

He has found the experience even more exhilarating than usual because theatres have been closed for so long during the pandemic.

"It's great to get back in front of a live audience," enthuses Patrick, who also presented My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me, a deeply moving BBC2 documentary about the Good Friday Agreement and his father"s murder during The Troubles.

"Live performance is something to be celebrated. Walking into venues and talking to lighting guys, front of house people, theatre managers, people who maybe didn't get furlough and whose lives were basically turned completely upside down – to actually see them working again was fantastic."

In addition, 51-year-old Patrick has relished returning to the very tangible buzz of a theatre. 

"Even when you're in your dressing room, and you hear the music playing in the background, and the murmur of audiences actually coming in and that excitement building – that is amazing. 

"The sense of a community and the interaction with the audience feels even more special this time around."

The comedian, who hails from County Down in Northern Ireland, also loves the fact that every single live show is unique. 

"There is a weird thing that you can only get from being on stage in front of a live audience. They are feeding off your performance, and you're feeding off their energy.  

"Whenever they're excited about something you're talking about, you get excited too, as you feel, 'whoa, there's a moment here'. 

"There is a live energy between a performer and an audience that you just don't get in any other arena."

So what can those fans expect from "Borderline"? 

It is a characteristic mixture of the very funny, the very thought-provoking and the very poignant

A riveting take on the theme of borders, national identity and the future of the Union in a post-Brexit landscape, the show is also very personal and moving. At certain points, there is unlikely to be a dry eye in the house.

Patrick outlines his thinking. 

"When I did the last show, my life had changed a lot. For this show, the world has changed a lot. 

"The show's called 'Borderline.' It"s about identity and how we feel about ourselves and each other. We've had Brexit and Trump and all of this turmoil coming from Northern Ireland.

"What was weird was actually getting back out there and talking about stuff in Northern Ireland that maybe you grew up with, but that you never thought a wider audience would actually have any interest in."

However, "now, as a result of Brexit, we have got the Northern Ireland Protocol and all of these other things. So it's nice to get up there and try to make sense of what's going on."

"Borderline" also teaches us a strong lesson about the value of talking and listening to each other - something many governments around the world could certainly learn from.

Tickets for Patrick Kielty's "Borderline" at The Old Market, Hove, on 19th May 2022, are available from

by: Mike Cobley


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