McSavage to ravage Leeside
There are many ways to salute a single magpie. Some tip their hat, some cross themselves, and some search frantically for a glimpse of a crow which is said to cancel out any incoming bad luck.
Dublin comedian David McSavage says he salutes every magpie he encounters. He also believes that a comedian’s luck on a given night is down to the comedian and not the crowd. He also enjoys getting hundreds of people to salute passing buses with a wall of well-meant middle fingers. He’s an interesting and a darkly funny man.
McSavage, the creator of the hit TV series ‘The Savage Eye’, performs his brand new show ‘If that makes sense…’ at Cork Opera House tomorrow night, Friday 13 (cue a flock of magpies). Tickets are available from corkoperahouse.ie.
The name of the show is inspired by those of us who are incapable at times of properly articulating what we are trying to say, explains David, quite articulately to be fair.
“Then they put their inability to articulate what they're saying onto you by saying things like, '...if that makes sense…' or '...you know?’,” says David.
“Well, no it doesn't make sense because you haven't made any sense. You figure out what you're trying to say and then come back to me. In life we cling to this illusion of sense of purpose and so on, but none of it really makes sense but we think it does. So, I'm making fun of people that don't make sense, while not making sense,” he adds.
As a street performer possessing improvisational skills that rival the very best in the business, David has travelled and performed extensively around Ireland and Europe and has been spotted many times at the centre of a large, semi-anxious crowd on Patrick’s Street over the years.
Out of everywhere he’s performed, he says he has a special fondness for Cork to a point where it might actually be his favourite city. Unfortunately, his sentence trailed off at a crucial moment and it was unclear whether he meant in Ireland or the entire world. Let’s assume it’s the entire world.
“That's the thing about Cork. Personally, I swing between having no self belief and then believing that I'm brilliant. I think there's a collective thing in Cork that's a little bit like that,” he says.
“Only Cork people can truly understand Cork. Even if you say it to people that you love Cork and you're not from Cork, they're saying, 'What are you on about? We don't need your approval. We knew how good we were before you discovered us’.
“At my age, it feels very playful now. If you identify that aspect of the Cork mentality and throw it back in their faces, they find that very funny.”
David is known for going to strange and dark places with his comedy and refuses to shy away from topics that would send many other comics running for the hills. For those who do not enjoy his unpredictable and hard-hitting brand of humour, David’s answer is simple - don’t come to the show.
“Stand-up comedy is not for everyone,” says David. “There's always people who are offended, always, but the problem is now that those people form little militant groups and are very vocal and that scares people. It's extraordinary how compliant the mass population can become when a very small minority of people start freaking out about something.
Most people don't enjoy the opera, so they don't go to it.”
David says there’s a reason why family friendly television and family friendly comedians exist; to keep the easily offended entertained while the rest of us explore and indulge in the darker side of ourselves and what makes us laugh.
“I personally love that and I love people saying mad shit,” says David,“‘and I know instantly that what they're saying doesn't represent their actual values.”
Many of us in Cork would have seen David do his thing outside Brown Thomas in the city centre over the years, guitar in hand as he tears into passersby with impromptu lyrics custom made on the spot to tease and torment and to get us laughing at ourselves.
One of his favourite tricks to pull while on Leeside could be described as an involuntary flash mob of sorts, a genius piece of mischief which manages to briefly expose the everpresent live wire of humour that runs just beneath the dull surface of everyday life.
“A bus would pass behind - full of people right - and I'd get everyone to wave at the bus, wave, wave, wave, and then the people on the bus would wave, wave, wave, and then I'd say, ‘Okay, give them the finger...NOW!’,” laughs David.
“Literally the whole audience of 200 people giving the bus the finger and they're laughing their heads off and the people on the bus are cracking up and it's a great moment. We all just chill out for a few seconds and it's nice. I think that's what's good about comedy, it temporarily just takes you out of yourself in a good way.”
David McSavage will perform his new show ‘If that makes sense…’ at Cork Opera House tomorrow evening at 8pm. Tickets cost from €25 and can be purchased at the box office or by visiting corkoperahouse.ie.