Show 6 – Anonymous
Liberty. Privacy. Comedy. Irish comedian Keith Farnan’s show combines all of these elements before the first two disappear in his brand new hour ‘Anonymous’.Every day, we find out that more of our personal data has either been given away, acquired in the interest or national security or sold to the highest bidder, and yet we keep buying gadgets that are happy to share our data with everyone like some blissed out data hippy. But what’s the harm if some of our details end up on a database? Who cares if our emails and Amazon wish lists end up on the desk of the NSA? And surely algorithms analyzing words and phrases from our Facebook updates in an effort to profile us into a certain demographic is a good and useful thing. Right? Maybe the future isn’t as bad as 1984; maybe this is the future where we get stuff for free in exchange for our personal data. But what about the next generation? Have we sold their privacy in exchange for free Wi-Fi?
“There is nothing inherently amusing about…state and corporate surveillance…Yet Farnan not only succeeds in teasing out the finer points of it, going through the arguments for and against mass data collection, but also manages to illustrate the human dimension, explaining why we should care about it. ‘I realise that this is beginning to sound like a TED Talk from a maniac’ he states during the show. In hindsight, this is a pretty accurate assessment of a fearless hour of stand-up.”
“Farnan’s set is full of facts about Facebook’s terms and conditions, and Google’s Gmail policies, but this isn’t a lecture about keeping safe online. It’s a well-structured, confidently performed stand-up set from a very likeable comedian”
“It’s a clever show, with a greater depth of ideas than just anxieties and mild paranoia about the sharing of our data: it’s exactly the kind of solid and intelligent show we’d expect from Farnan”
Show 5 – Fear Itself
The world is fuelled by fear. Global fears; plague, war, asteroids, a robot uprising. Everyday fears; dying, meaninglessness, random violence, spiders. In all this, the key ingredient is uncertainty. Dithering leaders do not instil confidence. The indecision of a doctor does not inspire hope. Wavering lovers fail to arouse joy. But despite our days being filled with worries we continue to function and, without this uncertainty and fear, there is no love, there are no triumphs. There is nothing worthy without fear. Dammit. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, and then America dropped two nuclear bombs on a civilian population creating quite an addendum to the list of things to be frightened of. Nowadays, the world doesn’t need North Korea to throw a tantrum to be afraid. People can be terrified all on their own, especially if they have a fear of loneliness. However, there are some who are willing to do whatever it takes to overcome fear and embrace uncertainty. Then, there are others who attempt to make a living out of both. Keith Farnan is the latter.
During the preparation for the show, I was asked to write a piece for the Scotsman about independence.Despite my tongue being firmly in my cheek, it resulted in various death threats being sent to me via twitter. Which means they weren’t real. Right? Read the piece here.
“Keith Farnan’s appeal is that he is both a loveable Irish rogue and an acerbic politico. An agile performer, Farnan is able to flit between the endearing absurdities of traditional social mores and the Big Questions of love, life and death”- BROADWAY BABY.
Show 4 – Money, Money, Money
Money, Money, Money explores Ireland’s brief love affair with vast amounts of money and fiscal meltdown, and presents some cunning plans to repay the €85,000,000,000,000 Ireland now owes to Europe and the IMF. This may include hoodwinking Abba Fans into paying money to see a show that’s not about Abba, but sounds like it might be. Keith has toured the major economic hotspots of the world; Switzerland, China, Greece, and obviously Ireland. Looking at how the world went from simple bartering souls to credit loving quadzillionaires, Keith asks what the price of happiness and love is, and why can’t we get a stock market going on emotions? Was Jesus a capitalist or a communist, and will we discover whether credit default swaps are really just financial swingers’ parties? Most importantly he’ll look at the devastating psychological effects money has had on the Irish psyche as it attempts to take itself, not just out of recession, but out of a depression as well. As we all know, there are no therapists in Ireland, only barmen. Even Freud said, “Psychoanalysis is of no benefit to the Irish.” Keith might just prove him wrong.
Money, Money, Money was adapted for television as a stand-up documentary and shown on RTE in Ireland. A trailer can be seen below.
“Never before have economists, tax avoidance or the Euro Zone crisis been so raucously hilarious. Farnan is utterly charming throughout, regaling us with a variety of witty anecdotes.”
SHOW 3 – SEX TRAFFIC
“This is political comedy at its best, perfectly balanced, deadly serious and very funny”
“Incisive, brilliant comedy…We should be shouting from the rooftops about him.”
“Farnan has taken the age-old women are from Venus, men are from Mars line and given it a sharp, funny and very relevant spin”
“Farnan will make you think hard and laugh even harder”
Do we value women, or do we just put a value on them? In Sex Traffic, Keith Farnan looks at whether we value women or if we simply put a value on them. In a year when Primark were caught selling push up bra’s to 7 year olds, a Doctor revealed she was the high class escort Belle De Jour, and the Mumsnet Election returned even fewer female MP’s, women’s right to equality seems to be on the ropes, and they don’t seem to know there’s a boxing match happening. At the same time, Iceland has turned to a female Prime Minister and all the EU have turned to Angela Merkel to save them from ruin…or clean up the mess. So what do we want from women, and what do they want from themselves?
LINK TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PODCAST
SHOW 2. NO BLACKS. NO JEWS. NO DOGS. NO IRISH. ALL WELCOME
“Both witty and insightful, Farnan combines charm and chutzpah and tells a good yarn – his jokes can be sparky and sometimes even edgy, yet he remains gleeful throughout” – The Stage
“A Comedian with formidable skill” – The List
“ A barrage of non-stop banter and jokes… This is a show that showcases Farnan’s rapier wit whilst running the gamut of prejudices that exist in our society – Allthefestivals.com
Keith Farnan: No Blacks. No Jews. No Dogs. No Irish. All Welcome sold out it’s run in Londons West End Soho Theatre as well as having sold out it’s run at last years Edinburgh Festival.
Whilst working in a restaurant in the USA, Keith came across this old-fashioned sign in the manager’s office. Stranger still is that the employees consisted of a young African-American, a Jewish waiter and his Irish self, but no dogs to be seen, so perhaps certain prejudices never die. ‘No Blacks. No Jews. No Dogs. No Irish. All Welcome’ is the exploration into racism and the dangers of the possible returns of prejudice against immigration.
Keith has always found being Irish an advantage – who doesn’t love a good old Irish accent whilst sipping on a pint of stout? But it wasn’t always like this and signs such as “No Irish Need Apply” were commonplace where the Irish landed in droves. So what happened to change people’s mind? And how have the Irish treated their own immigrants over the years?
So in this hilarious hour of political queries and investigation, expect lots of questions, very few answers but plenty of laughs!
Pick of the Week – SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE
Ten Best Comedy Gigs – THE INDEPENDENT
AUDIO CLIP – HERE OR ON THE OTHER PAGE, I DON’T KNOW?
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL
“Keith Farnan: Cruel And Unusual manages to be genuinely informative about death row, genuinely realistic about the possibility of change, and genuinely funny enough to receive several rounds of applause.” – Three Weeks
“The Show you should try to see this festival!”-The List
Cruel and Unusual Punishment is prohibited under the 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. But the Death Penalty is still legal.
Which means that you can hang someone, shoot them, electrocute them and poison them – but under no circumstances should you have someone executed by dropping a giant jelly bean on their head, by a dwarf, in a penguin suit.
Because that’d be cruel… and unusual.
Cruel and Unusual is a Stand-up show telling the story of former Solicitor and now Comedian Keith Farnan’s journey from law school in Ireland to the Innocence Project in New York city; meeting with Sr.Helen Prejean ofDead Man Walking fame, and on to his summer in a Public Defenders Office in Georgia – where he wonders whether the Irish might just be the only people in the world who can stop the death penalty in America…
Cruel and Unusual makes a laughing stock of the stocks by ridiculing the system as seen through the eyes of an Irish comedian. Showing the Death Penalty in its true light – a barbaric, racist, politically motivated act of revenge that doesn’t achieve any of its so called aims, including deterring violent crime. And it’s just plain stupid.
This Show has already toured Colleges and Festivals including the Royal Festival Hall in London, in conjunction with Amnesty International and Reprieve and continues to tour throughout Ireland and the UK.
TIME OUT LONDON – INTERVIEW
AUDIO LINK – BBC RADIO 4’S LOOSE ENDS