When people think of Ireland, they often remember our great sense of humour and fun nature. Irish humour is famous around the world for its dry and sarcastic wit. Irish people have an incredible ability to make fun of themselves while also making others laugh. Irish humour, in that sense, is unique.
Whether you call it “banter” or “having the craic”, humour is something that every Irish person seems to know from the moment they are born, so it’s really no shock that some of the world’s best and most loved comedians come from Ireland.
In this blog, you will find some of the most famous Irish comedians who fully embrace Irish humour. Scroll down to read them all, or click one of the headings below to skip to a specific section.
Table of Contents
A List of Some of the Best and Most Iconic Irish Comedians
At the moment, Irish comedy seems to be at the top of its game. It is thriving, not just in Ireland but around the globe. Here is a list of some of the most fascinating Irish comedians, past and present:
25. Maeve Higgins
Irish comedian and Cobh native Maeve Higgins always had aspirations of moving to New York City to pursue her lifelong dreams of writing. As she reached 31, life in Ireland was becoming more and more restricted in opportunities.
So, she made the brave decision to finally head to the Big Apple on the back of her successful Irish TV show “Fancy Vittles“. New York offered Maeve more opportunities as a writer. The comedy scene in New York at the time was prosperous, making it an excellent place for aspiring comedians to be.
While there, Meave started a podcast to capture the adventures and life in her newfound home. She has written about her experiences in America in her book, “Maeve In America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else.
Initially, she was reluctant to start a podcast, feeling that it was the typical thing most comedians do. Higgins wanted to do something different and decided to make something more familiar to her instead of a generic comedy podcast.
As a result, “Meave in America” was born, a podcast focusing on the immigration experience in the United States. Each episode included a personal story from people who had made the decision to leave their home countries to pursue a new life in the USA.
The podcast was successful due to Maeve’s ability to get the best from her guests and share their most touching stories, an experience that is both vulnerable, relatable and hilarious.
Success at Home for the Irish Comedian
Meave was born in Cobh in County Cork and is known for her brilliant, quick wit. She first took to the comedy stage in 2005 before becoming a famous Irish comedian praised for her stand-up.
Throughout Maeve’s’ career, she has performed in a variety of comedy festivals all around the globe. She appeared on the radio, including Today FM, where she made her debut show. Maeve has also appeared in the nostalgic Irish Comedy Skit show ‘Naked Camera‘.
Furthermore, in 2009, she gifted us with her show ‘Meave Higgins’ Fancy Vittles‘. In 2019, Maeve starred alongside Will Forte in her 2019 big-screen debut for ‘Extra Ordinary‘. Since 2018, Maeve has hosted another podcast with the first female president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson, as well as producer Thimali Kodikara.
Maeve still lives in New York, intertwining her life as a writer and comedian. She is undoubtedly living the American dream!
There are so many hilarious Irish female comedians performing nowadays. Who is your favourite?
24. Dave Allen
Next is the brilliant Dave Allen, known for his excellent storytelling skills and sharp humour. Dave Allen is an Irish comedian from the 70s who was an international success. The Irish comic is often admired for his funny personal stories, usually told in front of a live audience. He was also famous for drinking whiskey while telling anecdotes as he sat on a tall stool.
Dave Allen was born in Tallaght in Dublin on July 6, 1936. He made his first television debut on ‘New Faces‘, a BBC talent show, in 1959. Ultimately, he obtained his fame in Australia in 1963. This was after he hosted the ‘Tonight with Dave Allen’ talk show on Australian TV. However, the show was banned on Australian TV a short six months later after making crude comments on a live show.
Despite this, the show helped him to win The Variety Club’s ITV Personality of the Year Award. Following the award, he signed a contract with BBC, making him the host of a variety of new shows. This is when his iconic solo joke-telling and drinking whiskey routine became famous.
Audiences loved him for his ability to highlight important topics. He offered humour on relevant topics but could also back it up with his sharp intelligence that cut through to people, a unique trait many Irish comedians seem to have.
The topics he joked about would have been seen as very controversial in 1970s Ireland, a time when the Catholic church played a significant role in politics and society.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he toured many places performing his comedy show while also working on acting jobs. Sadly, he died on 10 March 2005 at the age of 68. He remains an unforgettable Irish comic of his time.
Are there any other Irish comedians from the 70s who deserve a spot on our list?
23. Gearóid Farrelly
Next on our list of Irish Comedians is Georoid Farrelly, who quit his IT job to pursue his dream of stand-up comedy. Thankfully, the comedy road has worked out well for him, taking the entertainment scene by storm.
In 2008, Gearoid Farrelly began to be noticed for his comedy routines when he was a finalist on the popular ‘So You Think You’re Funny?’ competition at the Edinburgh Festival. At the same time, he won the ‘Bulmer’s Nuthin Butt Funny Newcomers Competition’ in Dublin. This made it clear to Gearoid that he made the right decision to pursue his lifelong dream of working in comedy.
He is a brilliant live performer who often appears in comedy festivals around Ireland. He has toured with comedy stars Neil Delamere and Sarah Millican in the UK and Ireland. He has also delved into the world of podcasts.
22. PJ Gallagher
Next on our list of Irish Comedians is PJ Gallagher, Ireland’s cherished funnyman. Previously a co-host on PJ & Damian In The Morning with Damian Farrelly on Classic Hits 4FM, Gallagher has since moved on to Radio Nova, hosting the Morning Glory show from 6 am – 10 am Monday – Friday.
You can also catch him in the hit Irish Television show ‘The Young Offenders‘ on RTÉ and BBC.
Gallagher is most commonly known for portraying various hilarious characters on the popular Irish TV Show ‘Naked Camera‘. In 2008, he went to America to film a new series called ‘Makin’ Jake‘ about his alter ego Jake Stevens. Then, in 2011, Gallagher introduced another brilliant sketch show, ‘Meet Your Neighbours‘.
He has quickly become one of Ireland’s most recognised comics with his many television appearances.
21. Mark Hayes
Cork native Mark Hayes has really made a name for himself, not just in Ireland but also over in America. He has been described as one of Ireland’s craziest & wittiest comedians and a great writer & poet.
Not only is he thriving in the comedy world, but he is also the author of three great books. His book ‘RanDumb: The Adventures of an Irish Guy in LA‘ was number one on Amazon Humour.
Mark also writes a weekly column for the Irish Examiner discussing life in Los Angeles as an Irish man. However, that isn’t all. Hayes has his own show, “Luck of the Irish Night”, at the Laughing Factory every Friday night. In LA, you’ll usually find him performing across venues or opening for comedian Chris D’Elia.
Mark is a man of many talents. He keeps busy by also writing scripts and producing comedy sketches on YouTube. So, be sure to check out his comical work for a few laughs.
20. Hal Roach
Next on our list of Irish Comedians is Waterford-born entertainer Hal Roach. He spent over 60 amazing years working within the entertainment industry. Before comedy, he specialised in magic and travelled with an illusionist performing at shows. As he grew older, he moved on to comedy and worked as a comedian in Jury’s Cabaret in Dublin.
His time as a residence comedian at the hotel earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest-running engagement of a comedian in the same venue. Incredibly, he worked there for 26 years.
Hal was very popular with Irish-American tourists visiting Ireland. A lot of his jokes and stories were influenced by stereotypical ideas of Ireland. During his time as a comedian, his live shows were released on Cassettes and CDs to much success.
Besides comedy, he also wrote a variety of books aimed towards the Irish-American market, which became popular. He is often acknowledged for helping to influence the new wave of Irish comedians and performers.
19. Edwin Sammon
Edwin Sammon, originally from Offaly, has gained a lot of praise as a comedian over the last couple of years. Offering something different, he is often described as unpredictable and loves to please the crowd. His unique style has seen him be awarded the Tedfest Golden Toilet Duck Award in 2011.
Winning the award has helped him to support other popular comedians, such as Jason Byrns and Phil Jupitus. Sammon has performed at big comedy festivals around the country and across the water.
Edwin is pretty new to the comedy scene, starting his career off in 2011 at local comedy clubs. In recent years, he has gained much success, such as getting a permanent role on RTE’s sitcom ‘Bridget and Eamon‘.
Sammon survived cancer while working as a stand-up comedian. His dark humour about his health created an impactful show that both reminded people about the important things in life and allowed them to laugh along with the comic at topics that are usually taken very seriously.
His outlook, while humorous, highlights the courage it takes to be vulnerable and talk about difficult topics – something that is admirable even without a live audience. Edwin is one to watch out for, and we see great things happening in the comedy world for him.
18. Dylan Moran
The next Irish comedian to make it on our list is Navan man Dylan Moran. Besides comedy, he is also known for his writing, acting, and filmmaking talents. Dylan is famous for his UK sitcom ‘Black Books‘ which he co-wrote and acted in.
Many people also know Dylan from his work with Simon Pegg in the popular films ‘Shaun of the Dead‘ and ‘Run Fatboy Run‘, as well as 1999’s rom-com ‘Notting Hill‘. In 2008, he was one of two lead characters in the Irish black comedy ‘A Film with Me in It’.
You will find Dylan performing his stand-up comedy routines at national and international festivals. In 2015, he took his recent stand-up show “Off The Hook” over to South Africa. He had three sold-out shows at the country’s National Arts Festival
17. Tara Flynn
Next up is the passionate Irish comedian Tara Flynn, who is definitely one to watch out for in the coming years. A triple threat, by all means, Flynn is a brilliant writer, a great actress, and a sharp comedian.
Tara Flynn first got recognised for her stand-up routines before becoming part of comedy panel shows like Irish Pictorial Weekly. She has also written a brilliant comedy book called ‘You’re Grand: the Irishwoman’s Secret Guide to Life.’
While she does love to make people laugh, Tara uses her celebrity platform also for activism. She is often noted for her voice in campaigning for women’s rights and the repeal of Ireland’s Eighth Amendment.
Make sure to check out her podcast ‘Taranoia: the Tara Flynn Podcast‘. In her podcast, she opens up about her fears and insecurities in a relatable fashion.
16. Eleanor Tiernan
Another female Irish comedian on our list is Eleanor Tiernan, who left her civil engineering training to pursue stand-up comedy. Just one year later, she made an appearance on RTE’s ‘The Liffey Laughs‘ and BBC’s ‘One Night Stand.’
Although she started her comedy career in Ireland, Eleanor soon got recognised internationally. She was invited to perform at the ‘Montreal Just For Laughs‘ festival in Canada. This saw her gaining popularity with a Canadian and American audience.
Afterwards, she joined the team of RTE’s political satire show ‘Irish Pictorial Weekly‘, which ran until 2016. While on the show, one of her sketches went viral after it was mistaken for a real news report. Eleanor has also taken part in other RTE comedy and sketch shows. Her strong stage presence and captivating storytelling have helped to make the audience love her.
As a writer and actress, Eleanor has found continued success with TV shows such as ‘Holding‘ and a podcast called ‘Hidden Ireland‘.
15. Connor Sketches
New Irish Comedians may find that it takes years to break into the comedy circuit and achieve success. However, our next comic proves that isn’t always the case. Connor Moore is a comedian who produces sketches imitating some of Ireland’s most famous faces in pop culture, entertainment, sport, and television under the name Connor Sketches.
Moore featured on The Sunday Game’s Up for the Match with hilarious parodies of our favourite faces in the GAA.
14 Kevin McGahren
Cavan man Kevin McGahren is best known for hosting RTÉs ‘Republic of Telly‘, a satirical review of the week in television, and his appearance on the hit TV show ‘The Hardy Bucks‘. McGahren is a presenter, writer, comedian and actor with an impressive resumé.
In 2017, the TV show ‘Weird America‘ was praised for McGahren’s interviewing technique, particularly his ability to discuss difficult topics in a laidback manner.
During the Covid pandemic, McGahren released a series called ‘Kevin Paints. He put his animation degree to good use while the comedian interviewed various Irish celebrities. These guests included Derry Girls Actress Saoirse-Monica Jackson, comedians Pat Shortt and Joanne McNally, and artist Don Conroy.
The idea is simple but fresh and unique; McGahren interviews a celebrity while painting their portrait. The result is a conversational, laid-back interview with plenty of craic.
Kevin has recently delved into the world of drama, appearing in RTÉ’s ‘Smother‘ in 2021/22. Also in 2022, McGahren toured Ireland in a show called ‘Showing Off‘!
13 Lisa McGee
Lisa McGee is the creator of the hit TV series Derry Girls, a recent intro into the genre of Irish sitcom but an instant classic nonetheless. McGee wrote and produced the semi-autobiographical series about life in Derry in the 90’s.
McGee has won many awards for her work, including the Writers Guild of Ireland award for ‘Best 2019 Television Script’ with Derry Girls.
12 Ardal O’Hanlon
Monaghan born Ardal O’Hanlon is best known for his role as Fr. Dougal McGuire in Father Ted. O’Hanlon founded the Comedy Cellar in Dublin alongside Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy. He is recognised as one of the prominent people who helped to start the comedy scene in Dublin.
Other notable TV appearances include George Sunday in ‘My Hero‘, DI Jack Mooney in ‘Death in Paradise‘, and a recent appearance in series 13 of ‘Taskmaster‘. With many awards and nominations, an extensive stand-up career, and a significant role in the foundation of the Irish comedy scene, O’Hanlon earns a well-deserved place on our list of comics.
11 Chris O’Dowd
Chris O’Dowd is a Roscommon native with an impressive career in comedy and acting. O’Dowd was born in Boyle in 1979. His most notable role is Roy Trenneman in ‘The IT Crowd‘ (2016-2013). O’Dowd has also featured in ‘Bridesmaids‘ (2011), ‘This is 40‘ (2012), ‘Monsters vs Aliens‘ (2013-2014), ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children‘ (2016), ‘Loving Vincent‘ (2017), ‘Molly’s Game‘ (2017), ‘Mary Poppins Returns‘ (2018) and even an episode of ‘The Simpsons‘.
Another Highlight of O’Dowd’s career is the hit TV series ‘Moone Boy‘, where O’Dowd portrays the imaginary friend of Martin Moone, a young boy growing up in small-town Ireland in the 1990s. O’Dowd created and co-wrote the show, which is well worth a watch for any comedy lover.
10 Mario Rosenstock
Mario Rosenstock is one of Ireland’s favourite comedians, so much so that he had his own comedy show, aptly called ‘The Mario Rosenstock Show’ in 2013.
Rosenstock is best known for his spot-on impressions of Ireland’s most recognisable figures. From sports stars to the Lord of the Dance, TV Presenters, Politicians and even the President of Ireland, no one is safe from the comedian’s impressions.
Rosenstock fully commits to his act, often dressing up exactly like the person he is imitating. His comedy is a familiar favourite on Irish Television. He has also guest-starred in character on podcasts and radio shows. He is a constant in Irish Entertainment.
9 Dara O’Briain
We can’t have a guide to the most talented Irish comedians without mentioning everyone’s favourite Wicklow man: Dara O’Briain. He is most famous for hosting the UK shows ‘Mock of The Week‘, ‘Blockbusters‘, ‘Robot Wars‘, ‘Dara and Ed’s Great Big Adventure‘, and so many more.
Dara began his presenting career for Irish broadcaster RTÉ, hosting a children’s show while making rounds on the Irish comedy scene, not long after he had finished studying at University College in Dublin. After hosting the topical panel show ‘Don’t Feed the Gondolas‘, he became quite the star in Ireland.
Despite his success, Dara left the show in its fifth season to pursue comedy festivals in Adelaide and Melbourne. Shortly after, he co-founded the production company ‘Happy Endings,’ one of its most famous shows in Ireland being ‘The Panel‘. The show quickly became popular and was nominated for ‘Best Entertainment Show’ at the Irish Film and Television Awards.
Dara O’Briain got his big UK break in 2003 when he hosted the BBC programme ‘The Live Floor Show‘. He was also a guest and a guest host on the much loved ‘Have I Got News For You’ quiz show. O’Briain would then move over to the UK full-time to continue to pursue the British comedy circuit.
Dara is one of Britain and Ireland’s most sought-after Irish comedian hosts, and you’ll find him touring regularly. If you can, you must check out Dara O’Briain live. This talented Irish comedian will make you cry laughing.
O’Briain began his ‘So Where Were We?‘ Tour in 2021 and is set to star in season 14 of C4’s ‘Taskmaster‘.
8 Joanne McNally
Joanne McNally has become one of the most famous Irish comedians overseas with sell-out tours, hilarious chat show appearances, newspaper articles, and a hit documentary all under her belt. Joanne also co-hosted ‘The Republic of Telly‘.
‘Baby Hater‘, a documentary created and presented by Joanne, was a hit success both in Ireland and internationally. Her first one-woman show ‘Bite Me‘ won numerous awards and was praised for its dark humour, as the comedian discusses topics that most shy away from in an honest and hilarious fashion.
‘My Therapist Ghosted Me‘, a podcast hosted by McNally and Vouge Willams, was voted the best podcast of 2022 by the Global Awards. The podcast has consistently charted as the #1 podcast on Spotify since its release, rivalling the likes of ‘The 2 Johnnies Podcast‘ and the ‘Why Would You Tell Me That‘ comedy show.
7. Des Bishop
Continuing on our list of some of the best Irish comedians is funnyman Des Bishop. He is one of the most loved Irish comics ever. Des Bishop first appeared on the Irish comedy scene in the early 1990s. He first came to prominence with his extraordinary TV series ‘The Des Bishop Work Experience‘ (2004), where he lived on minimum wage, taking on a series of different jobs in Ireland.
Many people may not know that Des moved to Ireland from the United States when he was 14 years old. When he came to Ireland, he started observing and creating comic narratives of the Irish. This is believed to have helped influence his material and shape his stand-up routines later on.
In 2008, Bishop released a documentary titled ‘In The Name of the Fada‘ where he attempted to become fluent in Irish, earning a much-deserved IFTA. From learning Mandarin to sharing deeply personal stories in ‘My Dad Was Almost James Bond,‘ Bishop has proved that he can do it all.
From interesting documentaries to moving anecdotes and sold-out stand-up gigs across the world, Des has just the right personality to be able to adapt to the media he is featuring in while still remaining authentic to himself.
As of 2022, Bishop has shown no signs of stepping off the stage anytime soon as he tours his ‘Mia Mamma‘ show around Ireland. The Irish comedian’s stand-up shows are definitely worth a visit if you’re a comedy fan!
Irish American comedians offer a unique yet relatable perspective on living abroad as an Irish person. They can also identify the truly irregular Irish customs that we may not notice.
6. Pat Shortt
Pat Shortt began his career in comedy as one-half of the comedy duo ‘D’Unbelievables‘ alongside Jon Kenny. The pair found international success with four critically acclaimed and sold-out shows across Ireland, the UK, the United States and Europe.
With an extensive career of successful stand-up shows, Kenny has also ventured into the world of film, starring in movies such as ‘Garage‘, ‘Soulboy‘, and ‘Guard‘. The Tipperary-born comedian is a staple of Irish sitcoms, appearing in ‘Father Ted‘, ‘Mooneboy‘, and ‘Frank of Ireland‘.
Shortt’s most significant success is the 3 time IFTA nominated comedy series ‘Killinaskully‘, a parody of rural Ireland and the stereotypical members of the community that we all know and love.
Pat ventured into the world of music, releasing ‘Jumbo Breakfast Roll’, a number-one hit that went 4 times platinum. His skill as a musician is genuine, as he has toured the USA playing in the Brass section with the Irish band The Saw Doctors.
5. Aisling Bea
If you don’t know the next Irish comedian, then you definitely should check her out! Aisling Bea is talented, laugh-out-loud funny, and very quick-witted. She is undoubtedly one of the funniest Irish comedians on the scene right now.
Aisling was born and bred in rural County Kildare and knew from a young age that she loved to perform to a crowd. Once she completed drama school, she spent years trying to get into the theatre scene as a dramatic actress.
However, she was cast in the comedy shows ‘Cardinal Burns‘ and ‘Dead Boss‘ in 2012. While working on these shows, she decided to give stand-up comedy a try.
Comedy turned out to be a success for Aisling as in 2012, she won the ‘Glided Ballon So You Think You’re Funny‘ award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Also, in 2013, she was nominated for the Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for her show ‘C’est La Bea‘.
These awards and nominations marked a turning point in her career. She began to appear as a regular guest on panel shows such as ‘QI‘ and ‘Insert Name Here‘. In 2016, she started appearing in the hit Channel 4 show ‘8 out of 10 Cats‘. She also spends a third of her time in Los Angeles doing comedy gigs, writing, and auditioning.
Bea was a hit on series 5 of ‘Taskmaster‘, a comedic game show, in 2017. Bea is one of many Irish comedians who feature in ‘Mock the Week‘, a satirical retelling of the week’s news, alongside series regular and Ed Byrne and Wicklow-born presenter Dara O’Brian.
Aisling has since gone on to create and star in ‘This Way Up‘ in 2019, winning the Bafta 2020 British Academy Television Craft Award for Breakthrough Talent. A show that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, the relatively short series is worth a watch for the lasting impact it will leave on viewers.
You’ll be able to catch Aisling Bea in the 2019 Netflix comedy ‘Living With Yourself‘ opposite Hollywood superstar Paul Rudd and in 2021’s ‘Home Sweet Home Alone‘ produced by Disney. In 2022, Bea appeared in ‘Doctor Who‘ for a New Year’s Special.
4. Tommy Tiernan
Next on our list, we have Tommy Tiernan, who has been working in the entertainment industry for the last twenty-three years. His current job includes hosting his own chat show, performing stand-up, acting, and writing for a newspaper.
Tiernan is admired for his ability to take audiences through an emotional journey with his humour. He is not afraid to make a fool of himself to get laughter from the audience. He is at times silly and can be serious when needed. He often rebels against the standard view of the world in his comic routines.
Tiernan has a unique way of putting words together and bringing stories to life. He often gives his thoughts on family life and religion throughout his comedy routines. His quirkiness, honest humour, and great storytelling skills are just a few reasons why people love him.
Furthermore, you can also catch Tommy Tiernan in the hit Channel 4 comedy ‘Derry Girls‘, where he plays the character of Da Gerry. If you haven’t seen the show yet, you’re in for a real treat; it is definitely Irish comedy at its best.
Tommy also hosts a podcast on Spotify and Apple Music alongside co-hosts Hector Ó hEochagáin and Laurita Blewitt. It is a treat for fans of comedy! One of the best Irish stand-up comedians in the country, Tommy Tiernan, is perfect for anyone who likes to have a good laugh!
As we approach our top three comedians, why not tell us in the comments below who you think deserves the top spot?
3. Graham Norton
Graham Norton is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most famous comedians, but his success is not by chance. A quick-witted personality and excellent comedic timing have allowed Norton to interview A-listers for over 15 years on ‘The Graham Norton Show‘.
He is a favourite interviewer of many celebrities due to his humour and relaxed interviewing style. There is no malice in his interviews to get a headline quote; it is more comparable to a chat with a friend and is why his guests are always so excited to feature.
No one is too famous to poke fun at, and it is quite refreshing to see celebrities enjoy themselves in a much more relaxed setting than your average late-night chat show.
In his earlier career, Norton appeared as fan favourite Fr. Noel Furlong in ‘Father Ted‘, and has recently appeared in ‘Holding‘ (2022), a TV adaption of his own book. Norton also did voice work for Disney’s ‘Soul‘ in 2020. With his experience in acting, presenting, and publishing fictional novels, Norton is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s greatest success stories.
2. Dermot Morgan
Morgan’s most famous role throughout his career was as Father Ted on one of the most popular Irish TV shows of all time. His tragic death cut short his ambitious career, but his legacy is still strong in Ireland. The hit show ‘Father Ted‘ is still a staple of Irish and UK television, with annual reruns and high ratings to this day.
Father Ted was a sitcom parodying priests and Irish life in general. It was not only hilarious but also ahead of its time, depicting the priests as morally dubious and often self-serving characters. The rest of the community were typical stereotypes of people from rural Ireland portrayed to the extreme; hilariously absurd, yet somehow relatable.
Morgan’s career had just skyrocketed with the success of ‘Fr. Ted‘, and he was in talks to produce more sitcoms. The Show won 2 BAFTAs for best comedy in 1996 and 1999, and Morgan won best actor. Morgan and Pauline McLynn won the British Television Award for Best TV Comedy Actor and Actress, respectively, in 1996.
Morgan again won the British Television Award for Best TV Comedy Actor posthumously in 1999. The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, and Former President, Mary Robinson, were just two of many esteemed guests who attended his funeral.
Today, his legacy is carried on by his family and fans who host the ‘Ted Fest’ each year on Inis Mór.
1. Brendan Grace
Entertaining the nation for over 40 years, Brendan Grace is undoubtedly one of the top Irish comedians of all time. He is known for fully embracing the Irish sense of humour while adding his own distinctive twist. One of Grace’s most popular reoccurring gags was the character of Botler, the hilarious school boy.
Grace was also a gifted singer, his version of ‘Combine Harvester’ was a number one hit in Ireland. In fact at age 18 he formed a show band called ‘The Gingermen’ and toured Ireland, before he would tour as a comedian.
In addition to his many live shows that have since been televised, Grace appeared as Father Stack alongside Dermot Morgan in an episode of ‘Father Ted‘ and as Big Sean in another comedy favourite, ‘Killinaskully.
Grace battled illness in his final years, but continued to tour despite his difficulties. Brendan Grace passed away in 2019 aged 68, forever remembered as Irelands most popular live comedian. . Brendan’s life was described in detail by the Irish Times in an obituary after his death.
Here are some of our Honourable Mentions that didn’t make the list: Brendan O’Carroll, Kevin McAleer, Bernard O’Shea, Deidre O’Keane, Oliver Callan, Neil Delamare, Alison Spittle, David O’Doherty, Ed Byrne, Jennifer Zamparelli, Fred Cooke and Frank Kelly.
Irish Comedy Series
In addition to a long list of renowned Irish comedians, there is also a plethora of Irish comedy series that depict our local craic and culture. Check out some of these Irish comedy series and binge on decades worth of laughter.
This iconic sitcom follows the misadventures of three priests living on Craggy Island off the coast of Ireland. With its witty writing and eccentric characters, “Father Ted” has become a beloved classic known for its irreverent humour and memorable catchphrases.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys
Created and starring Brendan O’Carroll, “Mrs. Brown’s Boys” revolves around the life of Agnes Brown, an Irish matriarch who is not afraid to speak her mind. This sitcom features a mix of slapstick humour and comedic misunderstandings, capturing the everyday chaos of the Brown family.
Co-created by Chris O’Dowd, “Moone Boy” is a heartwarming comedy set in 1980s rural Ireland. The show follows Martin Moone, a young boy with an imaginary friend, played by O’Dowd. It combines nostalgia, family dynamics, and quirky humour to create a charming and endearing series.
The Young Offenders
Based on the film of the same name, “The Young Offenders” is a comedy series set in Cork. It follows the adventures of two best friends, Conor and Jock, as they navigate adolescence, family issues, and comical escapades. The show combines humour, friendship, and genuine moments of warmth.
Set in the 1990s during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, “Derry Girls” revolves around a group of teenage girls navigating their way through school and the challenges of growing up. The show offers a unique blend of comedy and drama, capturing the spirit of youth and the realities of living in a politically charged environment.
Bridget & Eamon
Set in the 1980s, this sitcom follows the dysfunctional and comically exaggerated lives of an Irish couple, Bridget and Eamon. The show cleverly satirizes the nostalgia and quirks of the era, creating a hilarious blend of character-driven comedy.
Drop Dead Weird
A comedy series aimed at younger audiences, “Drop Dead Weird” revolves around an Australian family who moves to a small Irish town to run a B&B. They soon discover that the town is filled with supernatural beings, leading to funny and supernatural misadventures.
This dark comedy-drama series explores the lives of a group of young people in rural Ireland, depicting their struggles, relationships, and dreams. “Pure Mule” delves into gritty and realistic themes with a touch of humour, capturing the complexity of life in a small Irish community.
Created by the comedy group Diet of Worms, “The Walshes” is a sitcom centred around a dysfunctional Irish family living in Dublin. The series offers an amusing and relatable portrayal of family dynamics, blending absurd humour with endearing moments.
These Irish comedy series showcase the wit, humour, and storytelling prowess of Irish entertainment. They offer a range of styles, from laugh-out-loud slapstick to heartfelt coming-of-age tales, providing a glimpse into the vibrant world of Irish comedy.
Each series brings its own unique blend of wit, satire, and relatable characters, providing plenty of laughter along the way.
Irish Comedy Movies
There are many Irish comedy movies that have stood the test of time, becoming almost a sub-genre of its own. Check out this list of our favourites and be sure to watch them in your free times for plenty of tear-jerking, belly hurting, laughs.
The Commitments (1991)
This musical comedy-drama follows a group of working-class Dubliners who form a soul band. It showcases the ups and downs of their journey as they pursue their dreams of becoming successful musicians.
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
The story revolves around the sudden death of a local resident named Ned Devine. When word spreads that Ned has won the national lottery, the entire village becomes excited about the prospect of sharing in his fortune. However, they soon discover that Ned died from the shock of winning the lottery and the winning ticket is somewhere on his person.
The film is known for its charming portrayal of Irish village life, the quirky characters, and the humorous situations that arise as the villagers try to keep their secret. The story explores themes of friendship, community, and the allure of unexpected fortune. It also showcases the resilience and resourcefulness of the villagers as they work together towards a common goal.
The Snapper (1993)
Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, “The Snapper” is a comedy-drama film released in 1993. It was directed by Stephen Frears and based on the novel of the same name by Roddy Doyle. The movie is set in a working-class neighbourhood in Dublin, Ireland.
The story revolves around the Curley family, particularly the young woman Sharon Curley (played by Tina Kellegher). After a night of partying, Sharon discovers that she is pregnant. Despite the shock and disapproval from her family, she decides to keep the baby and refuses to reveal the identity of the father.
The film successfully blends comedy and drama, delivering moments of laughter while also exploring the challenges and triumphs of its characters. It provides a heartfelt and compassionate look at the strength of family bonds and the ability to find joy in difficult circumstances.
The Guard (2011)
Starring Brendan Gleeson, this crime-comedy follows Sergeant Gerry Boyle (played by Brendan Gleeson), a politically incorrect and unorthodox police officer who has a penchant for unconventional behaviour and a sharp sense of humour.
When a murder occurs in Boyle’s jurisdiction, and an FBI agent named Wendell Everett (played by Don Cheadle) is sent to investigate international drug trafficking, Boyle is reluctantly paired with him. As the investigation progresses, Boyle and Everett form an unlikely partnership while navigating through a series of twists and turns.
“The Guard” is known for its irreverent and often politically incorrect humour, which some viewers may find challenging. However, it offers a fresh take on the buddy cop genre, subverting expectations and delivering an entertaining and thought-provoking story set against the backdrop of the Irish countryside.
While not entirely Irish, this dark comedy-drama is set in Bruges, Belgium, and features Irish actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. It tells the story of two hitmen hiding out in the city and the strange encounters they have. The film blends humour, drama, and a unique setting.
Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
This dark-comedy movie is one of its own, often depicting comedic scenes that have you feeling unsure of whether to laugh or not. This film, directed by Martin McDonagh, has gained critical acclaim and perfectly encapsulates the tensions felt in rural Irish communities.
An Irish Goodbye (2022)
‘An Irish Goodbye‘ is a short film that depicts the story of two brothers in the aftermath of their mother’s death. This bleak comedy is amazing at depicting the nuances in Irish culture, particularly in how we deal with death and how we use humour to soften the blow of devasting loss.
It’s a must-watch and unsurprisingly the protagonist, James Martin, picked up an Oscar for his amazing performance.
A sci-fi horror comedy set in an Irish coastal town, where the residents must stay drunk to survive an invasion of tentacled creatures.
The Van (1996)
Based on a novel by Roddy Doyle, this film follows two friends who open a fish and chips van and experience the highs and lows of running a business.
A darkly comedic film that weaves together multiple storylines, including a group of criminals, a disgruntled supermarket employee, and a lovelorn cop.
Man About Dog (2004)
A lighthearted comedy about three friends from Northern Ireland who enter their greyhound dog into a race, leading to a series of misadventures.
These Irish comedy movies offer a mix of humour and wit and often showcase the unique charm of Irish storytelling. Each film brings its own brand of comedy and narrative style, perfectly depicting our humourous nature and light-hearted culture.
Irish Comedy Podcasts
With the sharp rise in podcasting, it’s no surprise that Irish comedy has also made its way in. Check out these Irish comedy podcasts and listen to them in the background while you laugh at witty conversations.
The Shane Toddcast
Shane Todd is a Northern Irish comedian, actor, and podcaster. He is known for his stand-up comedy and has gained a significant following through his podcast called “The Shane Toddcast.” The podcast features Shane Todd as the host, where he engages in casual and humorous conversations with various guests, including fellow comedians, actors, musicians, and other notable personalities.
“The Shane Toddcast” covers a wide range of topics, often delving into personal experiences, pop culture, current events, and the entertainment industry. Shane’s comedic style and wit shine through as he navigates through discussions with his guests, bringing laughter and entertainment to his audience.
Throughout the podcast, Shane Todd shares anecdotes, funny stories, and observations, creating a relaxed and light-hearted atmosphere. Listeners appreciate his natural ability to connect with his guests and bring out their personalities, resulting in engaging and entertaining conversations.
Host Jun Tzu, a Belfast-born singer has recently launched the podcast, “Just Slabberin” – which is a fun play on words for the iconic Irish saying. Every week a new guest is invited on the show to discuss their life, weird topics, pop culture and a load of other interesting nonsense.
The guests range from Irish comedians to sporting professionals, offering a real insight into their lives and a chance to connect with them on a humourous level. It’s definitely a podcast to keep an eye on as we expect it to gain massive popularity as it grows.
Whiskey and White Podcast
Boxer/comedian Tommy McCarthy alongside boxer Tyrone McKenna hosts this hilarious podcast – ‘Whiskey and White‘. It features a range of comedic conversations that bring a humourous element to NI culture. They are both so authentic in their discussions that you almost feel that you have a seat at their table. Definitely worth the listen for some craic.
“No Blasters” is a YouTube series presented by Ciaran Bartlett. The show involves Ciaran and his guests discussing current events, games, snacks, and various other topics, all while playing FIFA. The series has a casual and entertaining format, with each episode featuring a different guest to join in on the laughter and participate in the crazy conversations. This hilarious podcast will have you smiling from ear to ear.
Funny Irish Jokes
On the topic of Irish comedy, there is also a range of hilarious Irish jokes. Read some of our favourites below and drop them into your next whimsical conversation.
- May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my grandmother’s teeth.
- If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.
- In heaven, there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here!
- There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.
- Why should you never iron a four-leaf clover? You don’t want to press your luck!
- Why don’t you ever tell a secret on a farm? Because the potatoes have eyes and the corn has ears!
- What do you call an Irishman who keeps bouncing off walls? Rick O’Shea!
Remember, these jokes are all in good nature and intended to bring a smile to your face. Enjoy the light-hearted humour and playful nature often associated with the Irish.
There are Many Great Irish Comedians to Discover
Throughout history, many extraordinarily talented Irish comedians have enriched the comedy world, each leaving an unforgettable mark on the world of humour.
From the biting wit of Dylan Moran to the irreverent charm of Dara Ó Briain, and the timeless humour of Father Ted created by Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, Ireland is home to many comedic geniuses who have entertained audiences both at home and around the world.
What makes Irish comedians truly exceptional is their ability to tackle complex social issues, often masked in humour, and their unwavering commitment to making audiences laugh while also encouraging them to think. In a world that sometimes takes itself too seriously, these comedians remind us of the power of laughter to bridge divides and bring people together.
Ultimately, the best Irish comedians are more than just funnymen; they are cultural commentators, storytellers, and purveyors of the human experience. Their laughter, insight, and ability to find humour in the every day have left an unbeatable legacy in the comedy world.
Who are your favourite funny Irish comedians? Is it someone on our Irish Comedians list, or have we forgotten about a comic? Please share with us in the comments below.
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