Al Porter relaxes ahead of taking to the stage for another hilarious evening of anecdotes and Dublin-centric humour

THE Gazette caught up with the hilarious Al Porter just as he is about to embark on his biggest Irish tour yet.
“The thing is, I do do the big shows, like Vicar Street and Cork Opera House, with a big band and everything, but the good thing about doing shows in the likes of The Mill Theatre and The Pavilion is that because they’re slightly smaller venues, you can have the craic more with the audience,” he said.
Al films his live performances in smaller venues where “literally anything can happen”. “At one of the smaller shows, me and Sil Fox ended up doing a duet of Bring Me Sunshine just for the craic, and at a show in Longford, I just decided to get members of the audience up to march around the theatre and then made them leave.
Al says the main difference between performing at bigger and smaller venues is that with big ones he may have to keep an audience of hundreds or thousands of people entertained, but with the smaller ones, it’s just a few people out for a good night.
“There’s a lot of potential to improvise and interact with the audience – mainly because I can actually see them!
“Even just at a practical level, it’s easier to see them, because the lights are blinding in Vicar Street, whereas in The Mill in Dundrum, I can actually see the faces in the audience.”
The “great characters” at his shoes are a great source of comedy for Al. “There was an elderly woman at this show a while ago who was a sacrist in the local church, and she just came to see what it was about. I told her: ‘I don’t think you’re going to enjoy this, Mary’, but she ended up having to – there is something for everyone in the show.”
Al appeals to all ages, from around 16 to 80, he says. As for his very Dublin-centric humour, Al says that despite the colloquialisms, his themes are universal and have been really well received abroad.
“Even though I’m very Irish, and I’m always talking about Dublin and Tallaght, my English and Scottish audiences get it because everyone knows what a council estate is, and relationships are universal too. That’s the thing about my show, I’m just being honest about my relationships, family and even what it’s like to grow up gay.
As for his hilarious renditions of various different Dublin accents and mannerisms, Al says that he just writes what he knows. “I’m not a good actor – I was cut from Love/Hate for playing Nidge’s gay cousin, Nudge, and when I auditioned for James Bond, they said I was too camp and more ooh7 than 007.”
Al’s tour of Ireland started last weekend and tickets are available at ticketmaster.ie.

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