Review: Totally Wired ‘Powering Kindness’ on Blue Monday
Totally Wired are one of the funniest comedy acts performing in Europe right now. I don’t say that lightly as I speak as an occasional part time stand-up comedian of more than five years and as a lifelong comedy connoisseur. When I was in school I used to tape record Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show as they were on far too late on a Tuesday night. The climax of my celibate teenage week was on the comedy zone on BBC 2 on Fridays where Red Dwarf was on and where I first came across the exquisite Stewart Lee in his Fist of Fun TV show with Richard Herring. The first time I saw David McSavage perform in Temple Bar my immediate reaction was, give that man a TV show as he pulsated with raw talent, penetrating insight and sheer hilarity. Nearly ten years went by before he finally got his break on RTE with the biting satire of The Savage Eye.
Totally Wired had the same effect on me the first time I saw them. As a tribe, comedians tend to be jaded, weary and cynical types who seldom bother to chuckle at any of our peers as any laughter and joy has long been squeezed out of our troubled souls. Totally Wired consistently have me in stiches – all the time, everytime. Why they elicit this effect in me is curious because as a comedy act they are not without flaws. Arguably some of their songs are laboured and some of their material covers well worn comedy tropes. Musical comedy is not everyone’s cup of caffeine. Certainly comedy purists who like Mitch Hedberg, Jimmy Carr and Tim Vine would snort with derision at anything that is not about smoothly delivering a barrage of crisp, lean and carefully crafted jokes.
Despite this, we see with the well-deserved success of Limerick’s Rubber-bandits, there is a growing place for this style of comedy in the comedy schedules. One of Totally Wired’s songs they performed on The Republic of Telly went viral with more than a quarter of a million YouTube views so clearly I am not the only one who finds them hilarious. Perhaps it is their infectious enthusiasm, pitch-perfect comic impersonations and their insanely upbeat and joyous songs that will leave you smiling from ear to ear that are all part of their irresistible charm and magical appeal.
The comical facial dexterity and uncanny ability to imitate a wide array of celebrities that Emmet Quinn displays is an enviable skill and one that surely makes him popular at parties.
So when I was approached to put on a comedy gig in the canteen of Ireland’s largest media group, Core Media, on the most depressing day of the year, the dreaded Blue Monday, as part of the a hugely successful Powering Kindness initiative, I jumped at the opportunity as it was a fusion of two of my passions – comedy and media.
Ask any comedian in the world would they like to perform in an office on a Monday afternoon to a roomful of stressed, busy and sober advertising executives (sadly the alcohol marinated offices of Madison Avenue during their 1960s heyday as depicted in Mad Men are no more) and they will recoil in horror. There are only a small handful of talented comedians able to rise to the challenge in such sterile circumstances. As Andrew Stanley was away in China, I next tried John Colleary but he didn’t’pick up his phone so my next phone call was to Totally Wired. Bam! They were game and the show was on!
I was very apprehensive about a gig in an office canteen but Totally Wired pulled off an impossible feat by spreading joy, cheer and happiness by putting on a wonderfully entertaining hour of hilarious comedy and upbeat song. Getting into the spirit of Powering Kindness, Ticketmaster ran some competitions to win tickets if you were prepared to stand up and tell a joke for the first time. This takes a lot of courage as public speaking is peoples greatest fear.
As Jerry Seinfeld once observed “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” All of the jokes told by the young advertising executives went down really well and were worthy winners. Kudos to all those who bravely stepped up to the mic.
There are some moments in your life where you can feel the magic in the air of a shared moment of joy and laughter – a flash bulb memory that is seared onto your brain forever and a special moment that you will cherish and recall fondly as the years go by. Blue Monday 2015 was one of them when Totally Wired were Powering Kindness in the office canteen of Core Media.
As a comedy fan I would urge you to go to see Totally Wired whenever you can and I promise you will not be disappointed. You will come out singing and dancing like Pharrell in Happy but perhaps not looking as cool as him as you will be grinning from ear to ear.
Totally Wired are appearing as special guests of Al Porter in Vicar St on 6 and 21 March. Get your tickets today!
Thanks to William Lynch for the review.