Let’s talk about…Galway Comedy Festival 2022

Return of events like Galway Comedy Festival a great boost

October has come to a close following the bank holiday weekend, and with the conclusion of Halloween celebrations on Monday, it seems it’s now time to settle in for the winter months.

Fortunately however, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be left wanting for seasonal celebrations for very long – Galway, at least, looks half-decorated for Christmas already. In fact, the process of putting up the lights and garlands about the town had already begun before the weekend hit. And while Galway’s holiday decorations are always lovely, admittedly, it’s been a bit odd to see Christmas lights outside stores with plastic skeletons still in the windows this past week!

The process of putting up all the Christmas-y stuff is quite the undertaking, and Shop Street was busy with workers on the job in the miserable weather for a a good few days, but it was no match to all the activity the city saw during the long weekend. In addition to the host of spooky celebrations that took place up until Monday, the weekend also saw the culmination of Galway Comedy Festival 2022, which began last Tuesday, wrapping up on Halloween night.

I was able to get the chance to go to one of the shows that took place as part of this year’s festival – Sunday evening’s line-up in the Black Box Theatre with Colin Murphy, Simon Evans, Kevin McAleer, Andy Askins, and Reginald D Hunter –  and it was an incredibly entertaining event, one made all the more appreciable given for how long such events weren’t able to be held.

After all, this was Galway Comedy Festival’s first time to be held fully in-person and unrestricted in two and a half years; live comedy, understandably, being one of the last events we were able to reintroduce back into our lives as we started lifting restrictions. And naturally, the toll of Covid, particularly on a career in comedy, was something that was given regular mention on the night by the various comedians.

However, the reality of restrictions feels a distant memory now we’re able to return to events such as last Sunday’s; the Black Box Theatre venue was well packed, and there was a lively, cheery atmosphere on the night, one which only comes from in-person events. The logistics of the show itself were also run seamlessly, from those working on the door, to those serving refreshments, etc. All in all, if was a great event – the highlight, of course, being the comedy.

The show had an excellent host in Belfast comedian Colin Murphy, whose opening set and ability to ‘work the crowd’ at the beginning of the show immediately kicked off the night on a high. Throughout the night, he always managed to strike the balance (as MC) between performing and interacting with the audience.

British comedians Simon Evans and Andy Askins featured in the first half of the show, with Askins in particular delivering a brilliant, dynamic performance. The second half saw Kevin McAleer take to the stage for what, in my opinion, was one of the absolute highlights. Most recently known for his role as ‘boring Uncle Colm’ in Derry Girls, McAleer’s combination of absurdist humour, deadpan delivery, and precise timing made him an incredibly engaging and hilarious performer.

Finally, the night was rounded off by one of the biggest names of the overall festival, Reginald D Hunter. The American comedian gave an excellent performance, juggling easily between humour and social commentary, and ending the night on a high.

It was a great novelty to just be able to go and see live comedy after the last few years; these types of events are a huge boost to people, not just for the social and entertainment aspect, but also for the tourism and revenue events like Galway Comedy Festival bring in. The event in Black Box Theatre on Sunday was hugely enjoyable, and a credit to all involved.

I highly recommend anyone who didn’t get a chance to go this year to try and get tickets for some act next year; from personal experience and anecdotally, the event was a huge success. After that long period when we unable to attend things in-person, it’s great to get a chance to enjoy this kind of live entertainment in public spaces again!