Revolutionary comedy show takes on the bankers - and entry is freeJune 15, 2012 - 7:00am
Comedians Aidan Killian and Abie Philbin Bowman are bringing their countrywide free comedy show, Stand Up Against the Bankers to Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover on Friday next, June 22, starting at 8.30pm, in an effort to combat Ireland’s gloomy economic climate with humour, optimism and positive action.
Aidan Killian, a former banker with the once prestigious (now disgraced) Bear Stearns, saw the writing on the wall in 2007 and decided to do something he believed in. He left the job, still carrying a huge mortgage for a house in Florida he has never seen. With his understanding of how banks had cheated the system, Aidan turned the tables and forced the bank to accept its liability for the property. This story forms a key part of his comedy set.
Abie Philbin Bowman took the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe by storm with his debut, Jesus: The Guantanamo Years. Abie's one-man comedies have since toured from London’s West End to Hollywood to Pakistan (during a state of emergency).
Aidan and Abie describe themselves as “part of a generation caught between emigration and negative equity”. Abie spent the Celtic Tiger era pursuing his comedy dreams. He couldn't afford to buy or rent a house, so remained at home with his parents. In hindsight, as the economic crisis broke, he realised that had been a wise move.
"I don't own a house. So I'm not in negative equity and nobody can outsource my job to China.” During the boom he would have been regarded as “a textbook loser, now I am an economic genius".
The two travelled to last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival with solo shows tackling Ireland's financial crisis where they got a string of rave reviews. They then wanted to tour Ireland, but realised the country was broke. So they decided to put their trust in the Irish people, and devised a new way of touring.
"It's a revolution in comedy," explains Aidan. “Stand-Up Against the Bankers is 100% free to the public. If you haven't got any spare cash, you're still welcome to come and enjoy the show. But we haven't booked any hotel rooms, and we've no money for food. So the tour can only keep going for as long as people are enjoying it and want to support it."
The lads will pass a hat around at the end of the night to accept tax-free donations. But these don't have to be in cash, says Abie. "We're hoping that some audience members can offer us a spare bed to sleep in or a hot meal. Or maybe they can help us publicise the tour, or find our next venue. Doing things based on barter, generosity and goodwill, is a declaration of independence from the financial system. If the IMF wants to repossess 90% of my happiness, they're welcome to try.”
"Touring like this creates a different kind of relationship with the audience. We're not asking them to buy a ticket in advance" Aidan adds. "And we better make sure our jokes are damn funny.
Otherwise, we'll end up sleeping in the car, eating nettle soup."
The omens are good. The day before Ireland voted on the Stability Treaty , Abie and Aidan were featured on the BBC's flagship current affairs programme Newsnight. And earlier this year, fortune smiled on Abie when he had a chance to prank former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis. Abie got himself photographed beside Bertie, wearing a T-shirt which declared: "I marched on The Dáil and all I got was this Lousy Taoiseach. It was reported nationwide.
Also on Friday next, Campbell’s Tavern in association with Solstice Arts Group launches Heavy Meithal, a community barter club which aims to offer a fair exchange of local goods, skills and services in keeping with the recessionary spirit. MC for the evening is locally-based Kiwi comedian, Danny Dowling.
Stand Up Against the Bankers is on June 22 Campbell’s Tavern starting at 8.30pm.