Where does the weekend go?
Another June bank holiday, and another successful Cat Laughs Comedy Festival to defy the weather and put a smile on everybody’s face. The five-day festival saw crowds flock to Kilkenny to see the likes of Jack Dee, Simon Amstel and Jason Byrne perform to sold-out venues.
The last gig of the festival, ‘Goodnite Cats’, ended on Monday night with the usual spectacular fanfare. The evening’s entertainment, featuring performances from David O’ Doherty, Des Bishop and Barry Murphy among others, had the traditional mixture of hilarity tinged with sadness as the curtain fell on another year of Ireland’s favourite comedy festival.
The shenanigans culminated in the two hosts Karl Spain and Adam Hills attempting to outdo one another, with the portly Irish comedian removing his shirt, while his colleage went one better and removed his artificial foot.
As the lights began to dim, the audience demanded a seasonal farewell singsong. Obligingly, Des Bishop plucked one unlucky audience member from his seat to the stage, where all the remaining comedians joined them for a rousing rendition of – wait for it – ‘O Holy Night’.
The festival’s artistic director Rebecca Austin said that the bank holiday weekend had lived up to expectations.
“I think it was a great success,” she said.
“We had fantastic audiences and the comedians had a blast as well. As far as capacity, the venues were full.”
This year’s programme of events was smaller than in previous years. The festival had to operate on a much smaller budget, as there was no direct corporate sponsorship as there has been in the past.
But there was no shortage of big names nor of laughter, as venues sold out and punters travelled from far and wide to sample the cream of comedy in the Marble City. The Friday night gigs sold out completely, and by Saturday and Sunday, tickets were for standing room only.
“It was quality over quantity,” said Ms Austin.
“It was a smaller event, so I think it’s part of the more traditional feeling of being an intimate event.”
Ms Austin also thanked Failte Ireland for its support with the Cat Laughs. As regards the future, she said she was hopeful that the long-running festival would see its 19th year.
“I think there will be a festival next year,” she said.
“It is financially stable in the way we approach it. We have great support from the artists and the public.
“On the very first evening before he had even performed, Al Murray was already asking to come back next year!”