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Neil Delamere live review: rapid-fire jokes and quirky observations deliver a night of belly laughs

Judging by the loudness of the laughs throughout, Offaly comic Delamere has still very much got it

Neil Delamere

Vicar Street, Dublin

Comedian Neil Delamere bounded on to the stage at his sold-out Vicar Street gig on Saturday night with the frenetic energy of a newcomer but the performance nous of a veteran. Some two decades into his career, the enthusiasm doesn’t appear to have waned much.

He quickly launches into his trademark rapid-fire chats with the front row, with a participatory style that is perhaps more akin to a US club comic than an Irish one. Delamere swiftly deduces that his crowd tonight includes a Leaving Cert student, a psychiatrist, a history teacher and a social worker from Artane.

The Offaly comic breezily elicits belly laughs from each and every exchange, displaying particular dexterity in the fields of callbacks, punchlines and word association.

Now in his mid-40s, Delamere may not have the same name recognition as the likes of fellow countrymen such as Dylan Moran or Dara Ó Briain, but he’s gained a large and dedicated fan base both here and in the UK during his many years of hard graft.


One mother and her mid-30s son reveal they’ve been going to his gigs annually for 12 years, while another claims on Instagram to have seen him perform every year since 2005.

Once he finally gets into it, the new show – entitled Neil by Mouth, though this is never directly referred to – runs the gamut from Leitrim’s recent tornado to the Dublin riots and the Irish customs TV series Stop Search Seize (“oh my good God, it’s fabulous”, he says).

If there’s any criticism to be made, it’s that there’s no discernible through line or message to any of this, but perhaps that doesn’t matter when you’re dealing with a master of his craft. The comic stalwart has a mischievous personality and is a very quick thinker, and this is where much of the fun and joy of the show lies.

There are a few outmoded jokes and some rote observational shtick about expiry dates and storage falls a little flat, but the high points come with Delamere’s quirky observations, eccentric trains of thought and imaginative storytelling flair.

“I know I’m an odd man. I do weird things,” he says towards the end of this lightning speed hour, admitting he sometimes puts his hand deep into the bottle bank hole to pretend he’s a vet.

It’s a genuine pleasure to gain an insight into the inner workings of his brain, whether it’s an amusing sidestep about meeting Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary or an offbeat impression of a German Shepherd on drugs.

Plus, if you’re judging by the loudness of the laughs throughout, Delamere has still very much got it.

Ultimately, this latest touring show is silly, witty and very funny. But like a duck gliding on water, make no mistake that there’s some very skilful comedic paddling underneath.