Performer: Rory O’Keeffe Photograph by: Arsalan Sattari Show: Rory O’Keeffe: The 37th Question Venue: Banshee Labyrinth (Cinema Room) Promoter: Indie
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
‘The 37th Question’ is a comic storytelling show about a couple in their early 30s who met doing ‘The 36 Questions’, a psychological experiment designed to make strangers become intimate. It’s about choices, jealousy, miscommunication. It’s also slightly interactive as the audience can choose which way the narrative goes at certain points, including the ending.
Tell me about your first gig.
A pub in Kingston. I was 17, so I was initially denied entry to the venue, but once inside I performed so well that my expectations for comedy were disastrously raised. All downhill from there, to be honest.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I repeat the tongue twister “she stood up on the balcony inexplicably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in”. I also stare at a print-out of my Student Loan debt for motivation.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
Best: any review that is by someone I admire or praise from fellow comedians is always nice. Worst: any review that has spelled my name wrong (there have been at least three.)
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
My Dad reads my reviews for me and then rings me. Sometimes mid-show.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
3 stars but they read like a 4.
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
Initially, I thought yes but I have since Googled this and procrastinated for an hour reading about it (thanks, Fringepig) and I’ve changed my mind. Funny? No. Tasteless? Yes. Criminal? Probably not. Anyway, I’m not one to judge what’s criminal. I stole a bottle of water from Pret a Manger yesterday because “bottled water is bad for the environment so morally I’m in the right”.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
So strangely enough this is literally one of the 36 questions that feature heavily in my show: “Question 32: What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?”. I would say all subjects are fair game, depending on the context and, ultimately, the target of the joke. Unfortunately, this is also what a tasteless Nazi dog-baiting dickhead would say.
Have you ever gone too far?
Yes. I stole a bottle of water from Pret a Manger. This is my confession. Arrest me, global sandwich corporation.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
They say you should always gig wherever you can, even if it’s not a ‘normal’ gig; if there’s any gathering of people, that’s your audience. So there was this great time recently in Pret a Manger when I decided I’d do a really great ‘bit’ where I took this bottle of water and – comedy is all about subverting expectations, you see, so I think they were expecting some kind of monetary exchange for the water, but what I did instead, to surprise them, was performing a very funny tight five minutes to the people in the queue.