Irish comedy fans can enjoy a double dose of laughs over the coming months as top Irish stand-ups Bernard O’Shea and Karl Spain embark on their first ever joint tour, Fat Chancers.
When they’re not leaving audiences rolling in the aisles with their on-stage banter, the funnymen have thrown down the gauntlet to see who is the biggest loser – in weight that is – after challenging each other to a slimming contest for the tour. Expect plenty of references to fasting, snacking and even colonic irrigation! Lauragh Quinn caught up with the jolly duo for a quick fire round to find out who was chancing their arm, and who really was the biggest loser!
How did this genius collaboration actually come about?
Bernard: We share a love of Zumba and kept meeting each other at different workshops! Ah no, we just thought it would be good fun to do and maybe reignite a bit of weight loss.
Karl: I listen to himself and Jen every morning on the radio and I wrote in asking for them to play more music with authentic ocean sounds – it kind of grew from that!
Did you ever work together before?
Bernard: Yes, we were in Bewitched together and we’ve done gigs together for years.
Karl: We worked together in a dance troupe for a few different musicals that toured. I think it was in Tripoli where we got the matching tattoos. Is the show similar in any way to your previous stand-up gigs? Bernard: It is changing every night. Sometimes we end up singing a George Michael song or stripping off – it’s just that type of show.
Karl: Stand up is always changing, always moving forward, and always growing as an art form. So in that respect nothing’s changed.
What were the main ideas and inspiration for the content?
Karl: My main inspiration is Genghis Khan. Always travelling looking for new people to perform to.
What are the hot topics behind the tour?
Bernard: Body confidence, love handles, kids woes etc. All of the above, as well as Karl’s love of Wham.
Karl: The hot topics are varied; there’s cold ones too and, if I’m honest, there are topics of all temperatures. This is the best comedy show ever. Any other opinion is fake news.
Do you enjoy stand-up comedy and how does it compare to your usual radio and television work?
Bernard: Well, when I’m doing radio, I think I’d love to be doing more telly. When I’m doing telly, I wish I was back on the radio and when I’m doing both, I wish I was back doing stand-up. So I’m never happy really.
Karl: I prefer being on the radio as my Keith Walsh character.
Which of you lost the most weight for the show?
Bernard: Karl did. I’m still on that plateau.
Karl: I’ve lost the most but I still have some baby weight to lose.
Was there serious competition to drop the pounds?
Bernard: Yes. I’m going to get ripped and perform my version of Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre by the time we get to Galway.
Karl: It’s quite serious. I’m sending pizzas to Bernard every night.
How do you prepare for a live show?
Bernard: Avoid Karl.
Karl: I prepare by making one last visit to the toilet. Then I pick Bernard off the floor, dry his tears and bring him to the stage
Do you get nervous before you go on stage?
Bernard: I never did before but now that I haven’t done it for a while, I do.
Karl: I only get nervous when I’m playing in the dodgy sex club parties because Tubridy’s heckles can be cutting.
Do you worry about audience reaction?
Bernard: Yes, Jesus yes! It’s the only reaction to worry about. I don’t care if I’ve a food reaction or a sexual one, just please god let them laugh.
Karl: I only worry about their reaction while Bernard’s on.
Do you prefer performing solo or as a duo?
Bernard: Duo, definitely.
Karl: Definitely prefer as a duo but not with Bernard. My mate Ed Sheeran comes to all my gigs.
How many dates are you doing and where?
Both: Loads and loads! Check out Fat Chancers on Facebook.
How did you choose the venues?
Bernard: Via a knowledge of astronomy.
Karl: I chose the venues based on the star sign of the people I know from that town.
Do you plan on taking the show to the UK?
Bernard: No, not yet.
Karl: I’m going to tour the UK with it but Bernard is being replaced by George Hook.
Visit Fat Chancers Facebook page for full tour dates and bookings.