After being discovered in a Sydney pub, Irish-born funnyman Jimeoin Mckeown has progressed into one of the most nationally recognised comedians in Australia.
What are your plans while you’re on the Mid-North Coast?
You tell me … you live in the place! What should we do? Fishing … can you go fishing there? I’ve most definitely been there before – beautiful neck of the woods. In fact, when I first came to Australia it was one of the first places I went to. We were in Sydney and for a weekend we went up to Port Macquarie. Very nice place.
> How did your career as a comedian start out?
It was at a pub in Sydney a lifetime ago – 18 years ago, I think it was, and I got up and told a couple of jokes at a comedy night. I stayed and watched for the rest of the night, and it sort of took off from there. Akmal Saleh was on the very first night that I did stand-up; he was also performing that night. So his career started off from the same place. I’m just telling you that in case you ever have to interview him – it’ll save you asking that question!
> Was comedy always on the cards for you?
Nah, I had no idea, actually. I’d never thought of it. I wanted to be in a band but I couldn’t really play any instrument. But I liked the idea of being in a band … or being an actor, or a rally car driver, or a fireman …
> You’ve had experience in front of the camera performing and behind it by writing. Do you have a preference?
They’re totally different things. There’s a difference in requirements for writing. I didn’t like doing it, but having done it, I enjoyed it. It’s like doing physical exercise; the thought of doing it isn’t really that nice, but having done it is good. But I do enjoy starring in a movie, definitely.
> So you’d prefer to be acting?
If there’s a little role that I’d be really good at that someone else is playing, then I would prefer to play it.
But often if you write something, you’re not writing it for yourself, so you’d rather get someone else to do it that would suit that particular role.
> You’ve performed alongside numerous comedians throughout your career. Do you have a favourite in the industry?
Me! I’d have to say I would be my favourite.
> No one else?
No one. No one even comes close to me … No, but really, there are a few that I like. There’s Eddie Izzard, Akmal Saleh, Russell Gilbert and Don Franklin.
> What can people expect from one of your shows?
A good laugh – a good hearty laugh, I suppose. Don’t be content with hee hee and ha ha. I’ll always give you one where you’re slapping the people next to you and you don’t even know them.
> Do you have a favourite stand-up moment?
It’s probably during one of my shows. I got in a fight on stage, so that was pretty funny. We had a big punch up; a lot of punches were thrown. That was a bit of extra added drama for the night.
> What’s your all time favourite joke?
What’s got two legs and bleeds a lot … half a dog!
> Have you ever had any bizarre run-ins with fans?
Yeah, I’ve had a couple of psychos in my day. One time I was in Brisbane and there was a security guard who was meant to make sure a female fan didn’t come back stage, and he ended up going home with her! That was funny.
There’s been lots of crazy nights – every weekend’s a crazy night with me.
> Most embarrassing moment on stage?
I don’t think I’ve had it yet. Probably this one night, I missed the stage. I was stepping onto the stage and missed it; I went down and hit the side of the stage with my ribcage and broke two ribs and fractured my ankle on the way onto the stage. So that was pretty sore. It was a really rough crowd, and when I fell they all went, “Yaaay!”
Also the fight onstage. Somebody from the audience just got up on stage. That was pretty awful; it cast a shadow over things. Then there were all these rough nuts coming up to me after the show.
It was pretty funny, now that I look back on it. I laughed it off at the time, but I woke up in a cold sweat that night. They were just drunk – really, really, heavily drunk. Alcohol is the cause of most of the wars – the whole situation in the Middle East is alcohol related, you know.