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Hugging his way to a lot of laughs

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

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HE'S not outrageous. He doesn't spout juvenile catchphrases like Catherine Tate or sport a quiffed hairdo à la Russell Kane. He's unlikely to dish out cruel quips like Frankie Boyle. No, Patrick Monahan is known for his cuddles.

In fact he sounds hugely proud of his reputation for serving up hugs with his humour.

"I love it," he exclaims. "Every comic has an angle or a hook or a tic that makes them different to other comics and my hook is that you'll always get a big hug off me either at the start or end of the show. If you sit in the front row, you'll end up getting about three hugs before the end of the show."

His new tour, Shooting From The Lip, doesn't exactly sound like it's much of a cosy comedy clench though. How did he come up with the name?

"At the Edinburgh Festival I have to have a new title for the new show, and I normally call my show titles like Hug Me I Feel Good or Feel The Love, but my agent thought it might be nice to have a tougher sounding title, even though the material in my show is still feel-good fun observations and routines."

It was Cathy Doel from the George Hotel in South Molton who decided to book Monahan this February. At first, she admits, she was reluctant to do so on the grounds that the comedy charmer has headlined the venue several times over the past few years. However, it seems South Molton is smitten with the loveable Teessider and she has been overwhelmed with requests by people wanting to snuggle up with him, once more.

"It's always lovely to go back to a place you've been before because then you've already met half of the audience and you know what to expect," he says. "Also it's much better to go back to a place you've been asked back to, than somewhere where you haven't – because people will just throw stuff at you."

Playing a rural venue, admits this city-dwelling comedian, makes you re-think your jokes a little.

"Doing gigs in different towns keeps you sharp and on your toes and you can't just do the same stuff. Material that would work in a city, would get people who have grown up in the countryside staring at you, and vice versa."

He seems to quite like cosy venues like the South Molton hotel.

"It's best for audiences to see you for the first time in an intimate venue because it is always much better for banter. But as your audience builds its good to play in a bigger room so that you can get more characters in."

Since Monahan started performing stand-up he's had a meteoric rise up the comedy ladder, going from open spot to headliner in an incredibly short time. He was best newcomer at Loaded LAFTA awards last February and took part in Let's Dance For Sports Relief on BBC One in March.

He puts his success down, in part, to parodying his own dual heritage. He was brought up in Middlesbrough by his Iranian mother and Irish dad.

"When I first started doing comedy, I was just another northern lad trying to make it as a comic. At the time, out of every ten comics on the bill, six or seven would be funny northern people. So to stand out, an experienced comic told me to talk about my background."

Monahan quickly realised people were keen to find out more about the comic standing on the stage.

"They'd want to know why I've got an Irish name but I'm not ginger and instead I look like a bloke that works in a Geordie kebab shop," he laughs.

As well as giving insights into his exotic background Monahan has been learning new skills to stick into his show including "dancing and spooning". Not to mention throwing in his trademark embrace.

"You should come along because it's one of the few shows where you'll get a hug, a dance workout and an in depth knowledge about the hidden secrets of South Molton and Holsworthy," he promises.

Patrick Monahan is at the George Hotel, South Molton on Friday, February 1, 8.30pm. Tickets: £12 (four for three offer) on 01769 572514 or visit www.wegottickets.com

Monahan is also playing a sold-out gig at the Comedy Club Holsworthy, at the Old Market Inn, on Saturday, February 2, 9pm. Tickets: £12.

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