If you have an ‘Irish Mammy,’ chances are that Colm O’Regan’s new show ‘Ireland’s Got Mammies’ – which debuts at this weekend’s Cat Laughs Festival – will ring a few bells.
The show has come about as the result of the viral popularity of the Twitter account of Colm’s online persona the ‘Irish Mammy.’ Like many online phenomena, the Irish Mammy idea sort of happened by accident. Colm set up a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/@irishmammies) at the end of last year. Famous followers now include Dara O’Briain, Sarah Millican and Marian Keyes.
“I don’t know how it happened, I just set up the account as a take on what it might be like if an ‘Irish Mammy’ was on Twitter,” he says.
“But people started retweeting stuff after about 10 tweets, and it just took off.”
The novelty account has taken on a life of its own, with people asking the Irish Mammy for advice on everything from cough bottle to prayers. With almost 700 tweets posted, the account has over 30,000 followers and is still growing with around 170 new followers each day.
“I feel like I’m her PR man,” says Colm.
“My own twitter account is only 1,400 followers, so I’m like Robin Williams to her Mrs Doubtfire. My female persona is far more popular than me.”
Unlike other novelty accounts, Mammy gets virtually no abuse.
“Maybe people are afraid to be rude to their mammy,” says Colm.
The challenge for Colm was then to translate the humour from an online account into a live show – no easy task, but he is confident it will work. He has managed to combine social media with comedy to some success in the past. Last year, his show ‘Dislike: A Facebook Guide to the Recession’ sold out at the Kilkenny festival.
He describes the event as “a combination of comedy, funny slides, some fun competitions to win prizes, video and all things Mammy.”
“It’s a light-hearted study of the Mammy,” he says.
“Hopefully, we’ll get a cup of tea and a bun as well.”
The show should have a fairly broad appeal, and is age-appropriate, which is ideal for the Saturday afternoon slot. Even people from outside Ireland will recognise certain aspects of the character.
As a sample of what to expect, here are some of the account’s more popular tweets:
“Wait’ll you see now, as soon as they get their holidays, the weather’ll break.”
“Can’t you bring the coat with you anyway? If you’re too warm you can take it off.”
“Is that the phone?.... IN THE NAME OF GOD, who would be ringing now and we in the middle of Coronation Street?”
“I hope now you didn’t use the good scissors for that.”
“You won’t KNOW yourself now with the new hip.”
Ireland’s Got Mammies is on in Langton’s Set Theatre on Saturday at 2.30pm. See www.thecatlaughs.com for further information.