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Irish Comedian Katie Boyle Celebrates Her Life in America

Katie Boyle

Irish Comedian Celebrates Her Life in America

by Brad Balfour

Though the cliches abound about dark Irish humor and the Gaelic gift of gab, a list of comedians from Ireland doesn't instantly pop into mind. Well, Kildare native Katie Boyle is working hard to modify perceptions about the Irish comic cavalcade.

Offering a demonstration, the 30-something now celebrates the release of I'll Do It Myself! Her debut album drops this April 30th at Littlefield in Brooklyn. A new, hour-long show based on her experiences in America – how she navigated a different culture, went into therapy, tried dating and, of course, dealt with shame – will also be on display. And Boyle throws in a few bits about favored sex positions.

She also asked fellow immigrant friends to join her – Atheer Yacoub (Comedy Central) and Mohanad Elshieky (Conan) – with Cansu Karabiyik (BBC) as emcee. So to find out about positions or anything else from a non-American perspective, Boyle's offering a fun night of comedy.

As the Irish person living in NYC, Boyle performs frequently all over the city and has been seen regularly at New York Comedy Club, Stand Up NY, Eastville and many other amazing clubs. She's also headlined clubs around the country and brought her hour-or-two sold out shows to Dublin this year. Through her podcast, "The Shift," guests talk about sex and dating from an Irish perspective. She also runs the monthly Transplants Comedy Show, Fridays at 7.30pm at QED.

Boyle recorded this debut and special, "I'll Do It Myself" with Pinch Records and New York Comedy Club. She was also featured in the NY Funniest showcase for the New York Comedy Festival 2022. And she's performed at festivals all over America – Asheville, Cape Fear, Laughing Skull Atlanta, The Women in Comedy Festival, Kansas City Irish Fest – and on Sirius XM. She joined the Real Irish Comedy tour, as well.

I'll Do It Myself is titled after what every Irish parent constantly says. Boyle decided her show will start off with audience participation, crowd work and then an hour of standup. Also, Boyle will be the first Irish comedian to film a full length special in NYC.

What are the inherently funny things about people of Irish descent?

Irish people have always been storytellers who use humor to deal with hardship. I think that's been passed on through the generations and produced some amazing comedians from Ireland.

Who do you think are the funniest people – Irish men, or women, or the American variants?

I don't think anyone could answer that since humor is subjective. But I do think through the internet people globally now have access to Irish humor for the first time and Irish women are getting a platform they didn't have before. Women in general are getting stage time that wasn't accessible before. They're now breaking the stereotype of "women aren't funny." I wouldn't say that any one group of comedians – men, women, Irish, American – are funnier than the other since each individual does the work of writing, performing and presenting their unique style. I will say Irish people are all very witty and the best craic and every person back home is hilarious!

When did you first realize you were funny?

When I moved to America. Everyone at home was hilarious. I just enjoyed it and laughed along. When I moved here, I met so many people from different countries and cultures. When I told stories of home, they laughed and told me I should be a comedian. The friends who made me feel funny are the same ones seven and a half years later at the back of the room for my comedy special taping!

When and how did you make the leap to be on stage and stick to it?

There was a show at the Creek and the Cave that let audience members tell jokes on stage. I did that one night and then was doing mics the very next night. I started a show a month later and that was that. From what seemed like a fun way to tell a story and work on my own anxiety with public speaking became an instant "I'm going to do this forever!"

What was the funniest moment of heckling?

There's been so many. I perform nearly every night and there's always at least one guy who heckles me at some show. I just roast back, so it's hard to answer. There's lots of examples of clips on my Instagram. It's mostly men trying to be funny, but not being funny.

Who was the coolest person you had in the audience?

No idea! Really depends on what you mean by cool but the coolest audience members to me are the ones that laugh.

When you were living in Ireland, did you really think you'd move to the States and carve out this career here?

No, I'd never have dreamed of trying standup. If you told me a decade ago, I'd be living in NYC living off comedy, I'd have said you were mental!

What would you have done if you hadn't done standup comedy?

I've a degree in art, so I would have stayed in the art world. Or managed a bar, since I also worked a lot in bars.

Talk about this new show and your guest comedians.

The new show is about navigating a different culture. When I moved to America, I had to slow down my speaking. Learn new words. How to take a compliment. [How to] say "Yes" when I actually want something instead of the Irish polite of "No, I'm grand" three times, because here they won't ask you again! My biggest culture shock was with the people I met here and their openness to talking about sex and mental health confidentially – and at any volume. I'd have never gone to therapy in Ireland. I wouldn't have known how to, but going is the best thing I ever did. I felt inspired by the "Who cares what people think?" A New Yorker's attitude is so different from "What will the neighbors say?" So in the show, I talk about that journey – navigating America, therapy, relationships, sex and childhood trauma. My three comedian friends will open the show. They're all so talented and are also immigrants who talk about their journey and life in America.

How did you prepare for this show?

Running the material on showcase shows and planning it out so it flows for the hour.

Talk about the different formats for your routine – podcast, video live and recording...

I do stand up in a conversational tone. I want the audience to feel like they're listening to a friend. I do a little crowd work; just have fun chatting with the crowd and playfully slagging them or myself in the interaction. Additionally, I record a weekly podcast, "The Shift," which is about dating, sex, anti-shame and the chats. My Patreon has work in progress stand-up and also solo eps about my life and the movies I watch.

What are your short-term and long-term goals and what would be your dream show? Who would you like to be performing with [living] – your all-time guests?

In the short term: I'd like to headline more and keep growing my audience. As for the long term – I want to be as successful as I can be. I'd love to make a movie, a TV series and gig theaters one day. As for my dream guest, I'd ask Colin Quinn, Nate Bargatze, Dara Ó Brian, and Zainab Johnson to join me.

Is there any book or film you'd like to perform and any place you'd like to play that you haven't yet?

No. not really. Maybe my own but who knows. I enjoy acting but I'm a better stand up. As for the ideal spot – the Gramercy Theater would be amazing.

To learn more:

Who: Katie Boyle

When: Sunday, April 30

8pm, Doors at 7pm

Where: Littlefield

635 Sackett Street

Brooklyn, NY 11217

For upcoming headlining dates:

Follow her on Instagram for weekly show details.

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved. Posted: April 26, 2023.

Photos © 2023. Courtesy of Katie Boyle. All rights reserved.

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