A Piggy Interview WithJoanne McNally (Wine Tamer)

Performer: Joanne McNally
Photograph by: Frank McGuinness
Show: Wine Tamer
Venue: Assembly George Square Gardens (Four)
Promoter: Group: Lisa Richards by arrangement with Off the Kerb
Online: Box Office Facebook


Tell me about your Edinburgh show.

It’s a classic stand up show, as in there’s no sad twists or near death experiences, I did that last year! It’s just an hour of craic. I’m a woman in my thirties so I draw from my own life and whatever is going on around me at the time. Ageing, love, looks, wine, death, keeping secrets, my mother, life basically!


Tell me about your first gig.

My first gig was different to what might be the normal route in to stand up which is usually an open mic night in a club. A comic saw me in a play and suggested I try stand up, so my first gig was doing five minutes before he came on at one of his shows, which was in a huge theatre in Ireland. It was terrifying but we all survived. I kinda blacked out doing it. I opened with a gag about wanting to go down on Des Bishop so that was nice.


Do you have any rituals before going on stage?

I ring my agent and tell her I can’t go on unless she sings Edelweiss down the phone to me. After she does that, I look at my set, write the beats on my hand in case I need them and I try desperately not to drink Pinot Grigio.


Tell me about your best and worst review.

The Irish Independent called me ‘Hilarious, dark, edgy, strangely reassuring ‘ and I’ve a troll on Twitter who every time I block them, they set up a new account to tell me I’m the worst thing to happen to Ireland since the famine.


During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?

Only if someone sends me them and then, only if they’re positive. I won’t go looking for them, and funnily enough, I’m not interested in the bad ones.


How do you feel about reviewers generally?

They’re doing their job, I’m doing mine and they seem to really matter at the Edinburgh Fringe because there are so many shows so people want recommendations. Usually it’s one persons opinion about a show that thousands of people will see. I’ve seen amazing acts get an awful review from one newspaper and they go on to sell out shows all over the world. I’ve seen a stand up show get a one star review and a five star review from two papers on the same night, it’s all subjective and I think most people know that.


In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?  

It was a stupid move but I don’t think he’s a criminal. I do think it sends that taking him to court sends a message that telling an offensive joke can land you in prison and where the hell does that leave any of us? It’s the dog I feel sorry for.


Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?

I don’t think so. Once it’s funny. Personally I hate when lads do rape jokes, but that’s my personal taste, I just wouldn’t go and see that act again. But I’m not going to report them or try and destroy their career. You can do jokes about anything, I don’t have to like everything a comic says.


Have you ever gone too far?



Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.

I did the o2 in Dublin recently for Comic Relief. It was unreal. I love big stages, the bigger the better. I like running around and sweating profusely so it’s perfect!

Joanne McNally was talking to Wrigley Worm.

Published Saturday, July 7th, 2018

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