Interview with Eleanor Tiernan

“Once you do one stand-up gig you’re in stand-up because you’re emotionally compelled to figure out how to do it well.”

Q: How did you first get into comedy?

A: I got into comedy because I was doing acting and then there was a little bit of crossover with improv, a lot of actors improvise and a lot of comedians do improv as well.  Then I started going out with a guy that was starting to do stand-up and I went along to a night of his, and I think I thought, I can do that, and then I did, and I did it. Once you do one stand-up gig you’re in stand-up because you’re emotionally compelled to figure out how to do it well.

Q: How do you know what comedy to do on stage?

A: I don’t know what to do really, I suppose it just arises naturally. To get the most out of an idea or a joke, you set it up, or you say it.  Then you act it out to find where the funny moment is.  Sometimes I like to do character sketches, sometimes it feels like comedy by numbers, when it feels right you do it, other times you don’t, it’s not an exact science with me.

Q: How long were you a civil engineer for?

A: I was a civil engineer for 6 years.

Q: And stand up?

A: I have been a stand-up comedienne for 8 years, so longer.

Q: What was the worst thing about being a civil engineer?

A: The pressure to get it right all the time…

Q: And you don’t feel that with comedy?

A: No because nobody’s going to die.  The worst thing that could happen is people would think I’m a bad comedienne, and I can live with that.  I can’t live with children being left fatherless.  That’s worse.

Q: Have you mainly been touring?

A: Yes, around Ireland really and any other work I can get, little comedy clubs, different writing jobs and a bit of radio and television, just to keep myself going, so far so good anyway.

Q: And is this your first Edinburgh?

A: This is my fourth Edinburgh. First time I came here I did a play that I wrote with my cousins, we did it, and then second year and third year I did stand-up and then this year I did stand-up again.  I took a couple of years off though, I haven’t done four in a row.

Q: What have you enjoyed seeing the most this Fringe?

A: I really loved Gavin Webster’s show here, he’s a comedian from Newcastle and he’s excellent and has a really good show.  I saw Will Franken, the American, his show was also excellent.  I also saw a musical that I wouldn’t normally go to, but this was absolutely brilliant, The Trap is the name of it, definitely recommend that.

Q: Thank you Eleanor for you time.

by Looby Loo and Goubba


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