Tadhg Hickey performing his show ‘In One Eye, Out the Other’ in Belfast recently. Photo: Sean Larkin

Still hicking to the plan

After a long wait, acclaimed Cork comedian, actor and writer Tadhg Hickey will bring his weird and wonderful one-man show for its first proper run on Leeside next month.

Tadhg, who many might know from his recent satirical sketches like 'Loyalism, but it's a House Share in Cork', says he based his show, ‘In One Eye, Out the Other’, loosely on his own journey with alcoholism.

Now seven years sober, Tadhg says he harbours no resentment for alcohol and that it actually played a significant role in helping to get his career going.

He said: “If I wasn't drinking, I wouldn't have tried anything I don't think, because I didn't have the confidence without drink to do pretty much anything. I didn't have confidence to talk to girls, I didn't have confidence to go to clubs, let alone to perform in clubs. That's the really sneaky thing about drink, it serves you really, really well until it doesn't.

“I had an outward appearance of being cocky, but most cocky people are just a trembling mess inside and I was definitely that guy. I don't know would I even have gotten involved in performing at that age. If I'd never drank, maybe later in life I would have done a bit of work on myself and I might have got the confidence to do it.

“It's like an ex-girlfriend now at this point where you were with her years and years ago and you're like, 'Do you know what? She was stunning and she was great craic but we just couldn't work it out'. The first year was very, very tough to be honest, in fact it was hell.”

‘In One Eye, Out the Other’ tells the story of Feargal, the downtrodden but cheery man who fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming an alcoholic. Using the Catholic calendar as a roadmap, Feargal leads the audience on a surreal and hilarious journey full of poignant twists in the hope of arriving at a sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

“It's a character talking about his experiences as an alcoholic and all of his family are alcoholics and his friends are E.T. and a cardboard cut-out of Sonia O'Sullivan and a statue of St Anthony, so it looks like he's deranged, but actually he's in great form. That's what the whole show is about really, that you're not sure whether to laugh or not,” says Tadhg.

Currently working on his new follow-up show ‘Gatman’, Tadhg says addiction can come in many forms and that he has recently struggled with work addiction.

“When I was in the grips of it, I was almost in as much pain as I was when I was at the height of my drink and drug problem. In my experience, there's not a different set of principles. If you're addicted to porn, sex, drink, drugs, gambling, whatever it is, you could get a recovery meeting in Cork today in the city centre in about 20 minutes, no problem. But there's no rooms for work addiction and I think it's the exact same thing,” said Tadhg.

His new show is based around a character that, after trying drink for the first time on Junior Cert night, becomes a superhero.

“He's a nervy teenager but then he has a couple of cans and he's suddenly flying around Sir Henry's. That was my experience. It was like an instant transformation from nervy and just not fitting in, and then suddenly, not only am I not the odd man out, but I rule this city in the space of one can of Scrumpy Jack,” laughed Tadhg.

‘In One Eye, Out the Other’ will play three dates in Cork next month: The Everyman from 2-3 June, Sea Church in Ballycotton on 9 June, and Levis in Ballydehob on 10 June.