Is an author, a broadcaster, a stand-up comedian, as well as being the resident host in the Laughter Lounge, Dublin’s premier comedy venue. Prior to becoming a comedian (or a paid one at least), he worked with juvenile offenders in the U.K. and Ireland as well as working with adolescent gang members in the U.S.A. He grew up in Moyross in Limerick, which Steve says was “An ideal preparation for working with violent criminals”. Prior to that he worked nights in a homeless hostel for three years.
In this podcast episode (which was recorded in my kitchen – hence the echo) myself and Steve chat about his relationship with laughter and comedy and Steve proves that he can hold a conversation without cursing…much.
On the ideal settings for stand-up comedy
“The audience needs to be in darkness and the stage needs to be lit up. They should always have to pay in, even if it’s only a euro, because they’re not invested in the show if they haven’t paid. If it’s a free gig and they can just walk in, then they can walk out. It’s like walking past a busker on the street. Whereas [by paying] I’ve made a choice and I’ve sacrificed something to come into this gig, so I will give it my attention.”
On the crowd’s influence upon levels of laughter
“If you’re in a room with 200 people, then you’ll laugh even more, because there’s that permission being given to everybody. ‘He’s laughing out loud, so I can laugh out loud’. Really, it’s a form of mass hysteria.”
On audience booing
“I’ve been booed maybe four times in my life for something I’ve said and each and every one of those times, I’ve rejected the boo. I’ve refused to accept it, and I’ve reversed it…Most people are average. You’ve got some people who will laugh really loud at the harsh joke, then you’ve got some people who will boo at the harsh joke and then there’s all the other people in the middle, who don’t feel that strongly either way, so, if the booing starts, they’ll join in on the booing. If the laughter starts, they’ll join in on the laughter.”
On handling hecklers
“If I’m going to tear a heckler apart, I’m gonna make sure that they [the audience] think he’s a a-hole, because, if they haven’t made that decision, then I’m being the a-hole.”
On ‘Clean Comedy’
When I asked Steve “Would you consider yourself a clean comedian?” he replied “I would not. I don’t think anyone should be a clean comedian, because if you even call yourself a clean comedian, then you’re elevating yourself above other comedy…you’re either a comedian or you’re not…I don’t have to swear. I choose to swear, because I’m an adult and I like to swear.”
(After this interview, check out my previous interview with Daniel J.Lewis, who hosts a popular Clean Comedy Podcast).