Read a wide range of posts – from factual news content to celebrity interviews – on our blog: News, Views and Stories

Patrick Kielty with his hands in his pockets walking over a map of the British Isles and Ireland

Patrick Kielty Interview

It’s seven years since the man the Evening Standard called ‘a revelation’ last toured. But why the long gap (aside from a pandemic). Patrick Kielty explains why marriage, two babies and dirty nappies have kept him from touring, until now.

Written by Kelly Scotney.

Patrick Kielty is back with an enthralling new show, Borderline – and is better than ever.

But why has such a superb comedian been away from stand-up for so long? Chatting in the run-up to his nationwide summer tour, which comes to The Varieties on 18 June, 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.”

With 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, Patrick 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. “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.

“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.”

Patrick goes on to pay tribute to the audiences who have gone to a great deal of trouble to see his live shows. “What’s been heart-warming about it is that you realise that anyone who’s coming to see your show – with the cost of living going up, and so many shows to choose from – is making an enormous effort.  So I have a huge appreciation for people who are bothering to put their hand in their pocket to come and see me.”

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… 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. 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.

Patrick reflects, “what we’ve done in Northern Ireland may become more important to the rest of the world. Because we’ve come through a heck of a lot, we might actually have a little superpower. We should be more vocal in telling our story in a positive way.

“If you look at the Good Friday Agreement, for the first time we could be British, we could be Irish, we could be neither, we could be both. I mean, we were non-binary before it was even a thing! In the past, sometimes people thought Northern Ireland was a place that was behind the times. But perhaps now we are showing people the way.”

The stand-up tackles some heavyweight subjects in Borderline, but he thinks that comedy is the best medium for making serious points. “I feel that comedy is probably the only way of addressing these subjects. It is very interesting playing with light and shade in the show.

“In the last couple of years, I’ve done a couple of documentaries about Northern Ireland. But there is certain stuff that you can’t say unless you’re on stage. Comedy and satire are a great vehicle for actually pushing the boundaries a little bit and challenging your audience and yourself.”

The comic adds, “A lot of the time if you say something in prose without a context, it doesn’t work. But having a live audience in front of you and building a narrative with them really does. It’s just a unique way of talking to people, and it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed coming back to.”

A very personal show, Borderline moves from great fun to great sadness and has already had audiences declaring “I wasn’t expecting that”. Find out for yourself by buying a ticket here (limited availability).