Tarmonbarry native Darren O’Toole was just nineteen when he moved to London last year. His show ‘Video (and Pictures) Killed the Radio Star’ is a mix of stand-up comedy and poetry and focuses on Darren’s journey from Roscommon to London and becoming an Internet star. The show depicts the ups and downs of Darren’s journey including why he got booed onto the stage at the Reading Festival “for being from Roscommon”, hanging out with Russell Brand, and becoming one of London’s “most listened to” radio presenters –before getting fired from radio!
So Darren, tell me a bit about the show?
The show ran for five nights in London and I played a small show in Rome in Italy last month. Some of the people had no idea what I was on about because they didn’t speak English and the ones who did can’t understand English when it’s spoken in a Irish accent at 500mph. The show is called ‘Video (and pictures) killed the radio star’, it focuses on the impact being from Roscommon has had on my ladder to fame, from getting booed onto Reading Festival stage because I’m a Rossie, all through my London journey up to getting kicked off radio.
How does it feel to be on stage in the home place?
Everyone always dreads their hometown gig but it’s something every performer has to face. This is my first headline show in Ireland. It’s also my first time performing in Roscommon, it’s exciting more than anything. The hardest part about the show is going to be getting to the venue, public transport isn’t Roscommon’s strong point! I wonder if my mammy will come to another show after seeing how much of my material is about her.
When did you start performing?
I started performing just two days before I moved to London. I read two poems at an open mic night in Longford and people were surprised – they thought I was talentless, and so did I up until the reaction. I’ve introduced a new dynamic to the live show scene and come out and entertain while the stage gets moved around and it’s become a popular system that I’ve been asked to use it at a big event later this year with a big promoter. I’m not allowed give the details away yet, but it’s exciting!
Any other gigs lined up while you’re home?
I’ve been invited by the ambassador of Ireland to perform at the embassy just before my Roscommon show so it’s gonna be two massive shows in two nights. They will be feeding me on the night but I’m not so good with posh food, I’d rather just have a pot noodle or some Nutella toast. Last time I performed at a posh venue I got my set completely wrong because I read poems about The Tube and house sharing. This time I’m prepared though, I wrote a poem called ‘Shergar: the world’s most famous kidnapped horse’. It’s a poem about getting kidnapped and waking up beside Shergar and it’s going to be a talking point in the embassy forever.
What can the audience expect on Saturday night?
I think the audience is going to love what I’ve got, hopefully they support me in this crazy adventure and come see what I’ve got to show them. And it’s a chance for them to get out of the house.
* Darren’s show takes place this Saturday (June 25th) at 8 pm and tickets are now on sale at the Arts Centre box office on 0906 625924 or at www.roscommonartscentre.ie.