Lauren O'Rourke spoke to Sarah O'Gorman to find out first-hand how she feels about performing at the festival.
With the Galway Comedy Carnival approaching in the coming weeks, I got the chance to sit down with Sarah O’Gorman, a third year Film with Arts student at NUI Galway. Originally from Kilkenny, she is an up and coming performer on the Galway comedy scene and will get the chance to play on the opening night of this year’s Vodaphone Carnival alongside the likes of big names such as John Richardson and Kevin Bridges.
Sarah will be part of the Comedy Showcase in the Roisin Dubh, which is a big break for the young performer who only started in comedy two years ago when starting college. She light
heartedly recounted her reasons for first performing at open mic nights, “I had gone to the comedy carnival here in Galway and I’d seen ten acts or something like that, they might have five on each night and then I’d seen David O’Doherty and Al Porter in the college ... I did it as well to impress a fella that was doing it, like we’re best friends now but at the time I fancied him…he turned out to be gay so that was a bit of a knock on my pride but it worked out well we're best friends now”.
It was Steve Bennett - who runs the comedy showcase - that saw her performing at one of these open mic nights and booked her for her first gig. She has already impressed enough to be asked to perform at the Comedy Carnival. “I didn’t expect to be doing it this year because I still consider myself quite an amateur and the comedy carnival is all the big boys and the big girls, do you know what I mean?”. Julie Jay is her comedy role model and someone that she is often now on line-ups with. “I’ve seen her, I don’t know how many times maybe six or seven, but she’s just a star like. When she comes onto the stage it’s like Live at the Apollo”. The admiration that Sarah has for Julie is clear as she speaks of her with a tone of respect. “She has an amazing way to work the crowd and amazing charisma as well. When I look at her I’m like, yeh that’s the level I want to get to.”
Sarah has had the guts to get on stage countless times over the last two years. However, putting yourself out there comes with a risk. O’Gorman recounts one of the times a joke didn’t work out as planned. It was Valentine’s Day and having prepared her jokes based on the theme of romance, she picked out a loved-up couple from the audience and asked them “Oh so you’re a couple are ye?”, however they simply stared back at her with blank faces. She repeated her question four or five times, “I should have left it after like two times but in my nervous state I was pressuring them, if they weren’t a couple they were going to be”.
The man then simply said “no English” and poor Sarah was left cringing on stage to a crowd of mostly tourists. Not wanting to under-emphasise the awkwardness of the event she
clarifies, “I died on my arse, like”.
However, the few cringe worthy moments seem to be worth the pride she exudes when talking about her more successful endeavours, like the gig she did for LGBT pride week in August of 2016. “The roar of the audience, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a high in my life”. It’s clear that Sarah has a love of comedy as she speaks with admiration of her favourite comedians performing at this year’s festival including Rich Hall, who she’d encountered while volunteering at the Cats Laugh comedy festival. It was her job to flash a bicycle light to let the comedians know they had two minutes left however he ignored the light and went on and on past his time limit but as Sarah declared “he's Rich Hall, he’s a legend”.
Was it always in the cards for Sarah? According to her mother Bernie “No” it was a “massive surprise”. “She’s surpassing all our expectations” the proud mother claimed as she spoke of her daughters’ early interest in another one of her passions, “she was a great child, very interested in T.V. She could recite maybe a full film, she was unreal”. So, we may be seeing the ambitious Sarah entertaining people with more than just her stand-up in the future.
“Film is what I want to do with my life. I feel like I have a vocation towards that. I know that sounds very strange, I watched Raiders of The Lost Ark when I was ten and saw Harrison Ford
in it and like a light bulb went off and I was like that’s what I want to do, I want to make films.”
Someone who perhaps did see the comedic talent in Sarah at an early age was her grandfather Larry. “I was quite cheeky growing up and not always to the content of my parents, they wouldn’t be happy with me sometimes with the cheek I’d give back, but for the most part it was playful but one day I gave cheek to my mother in front of my grandfather and he was
laughing and laughing so that gave me a go and I kept it on like and he said to me “you’ll be on the stage one day Sarah”.
Sarah comes across as a very down to earth young woman with a funny bone and the guts to get up on stage and see where it takes her. She remains humble in her success and unaware that she is entertaining even during normal conversation I note as she apologises for “talking my ear off”. Unsure of what her future holds exactly but leaning towards a career in film, entertaining people seems to be her forte. Right now, though she is simply “buzzing” for the comedy Carnival and encourages others with a love of comedy to simply go for it.
“It has definitely improved my confidence as a whole so I would encourage anyone even if you feel somewhat anxious or self-conscious do it any way.”