Cooper. Pryor. Hicks. Legend. Legend. Legend. Boyle. McIntyre. Bishop. Disgusting. Overrated. Meh.
From this introduction at least it would seem that dead comedians are held in much higher regard than living ones.
So where does that leave Shane Todd? A year ago he thought he was on his way out, lying in a bed in City Hospital wondering who to leave his DVD collection to, but now he’s back from the dead and generating laughs from the experience. His new show is called Sick Bro. He’s been to Edinburgh with it and now he’s unleashing it on Belfast in the Mandela Hall on October 28.
The former call centre employee turned full time comic said: “About this time last year I got very ill. That’s what the show’s about. But it’s not just me saying, ‘I was in hospital and I thought I was going to die’.
“It was a very serious situation but during it a lot of funny things happened to me. It wasn’t funny at the time and I never thought I’d be joking about it because all I could think about was I might not make it out of hospital. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I lost over two stone and there’s not much of me to start with.
“I was really scared. I remember thinking if I could just get out to do 10 minutes in The Empire everything would be alright.”
As you may have gathered from his continued presence on Earth, Shane didn’t die. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and after diagnosis and treatment his health has improved tenfold.
Now 27, Shane made his first stand-up performance at the age of 19 at a comedy night in The Black Box organised by Paul Currie. He said: “I used to go to watch the comedy night in The Empire as soon as I turned 18. I wasn’t brave enough to do the Empire so I started off in The Black Box.
Looking back at the old stuff I used to do makes me cringe. I was 19 and looked 13. The stuff I was doing was not the sort of stuff a 13 year old should be talking about. It was awful. I think I got away with it because I looked so young and people felt sorry for this little teenager who looked like he was going to cry.”
Shane told how he’s cleaned up his act (sort of): “I don’t swear on stage, but I do in real life. I like to keep things a bit loose. I have a routine, but I don’t memorise it word for word. I like to riff a bit, explore different avenues. I’m more confident now that I can handle the majority of scenarios. I can do a gig for two people or 10000 people. I still get nervous exactly the same as before, but it’s maybe only an hour before the show now as opposed to days leading up to it.”
Shane’s earliest comedy memories are of watching Richard Pryor on TV with his dad. The main influence on his character based comedy comes from Steve Coogan.
One of Shane’s characters – rugby-playing socialite Mike McGoldrick – has been well-received by Ulster Rugby players.
“I’m friendly with a few of the players,” he said. “I’ve done gigs for them as Mike McGoldrick. Ulster Rugby have been great about helping me do the videos. I’ve also done Periscope updates from one of their pre-season games at Edinburgh when I was over for the festival.”
Shane will be MC’ing for the first time in the Empire on September 22. He also does a podcast available on Audioboo and iTunes and sponsored by Boojum.
He’s extremely excited about Late Licence which is coming to BBC NI in October. He explained: “It’s an eight part sketch show with myself and Colin Geddis including some of the characters we’re doing now plus some new ones.”
Looking ahead to the biggest headline show of his career, he said: “I’ll be doing a few short five or 10 minutes spots before the Mandela. Belfast is a small place and I don’t want to put people off coming to the show by giving too much of it away.”