Belfast Telegraph

Patrick Kielty's back home for laugh

By Joe Nawaz

"Do you think anybody will come?" Patrick Kielty's mum asked when the comedian said he'd a homecoming gig in the Odyssey Arena.

We all laughed about it with him on Saturday night, but she can't have been the only one to raise an eyebrow at the adventurous decision to book an 'enormodome' that even Dolly Parton couldn't quite fill.

'Home', then, was the Dundrum comedian's return to the city and the audience that first broke him - in a good way.

And it seemed that the city remembered one of its more successful surrogate sons - Kielty himself might call it the George Best City Airport effect.

The mere rumour that current squeeze Cat Deeley was somewhere in the building was enough to have middle-aged men furtively glancing about the place.

Any hopes for a quick glimpse before the wife got back from the loo seemed to be in vain, though reliable reports confirm Ms Deeley was definitely in the audience.

Saturday's show was also being filmed for the inevitable 'Home' DVD.

Audience members were warned that the act of taking their seat meant that they had effectively signed consent to being filmed, giving new meaning to the phrase 'buttock clenching'.

The curtains pulled back to reveal a slightly nightmarish 'Harland and Wolff perched on the Giant's Causeway' backdrop, and then the Green Grass Grass of Home struck up its cheesy refrain.

Kielty bounded on all bronzed and blond - not unlike a culchie 'Ken' doll - and launched into his trademark patter.

Within seconds he told a woman in the front row off for using her mobile phone, and told a gag about Peter Robinson's marital bed.

"Just testing the room Belfast," he said.

After a slightly nervy start, Kielty relaxed into the routine.

All local bases were duly covered.

Titanic (a mischievous reference to the Belfast Telegraph's souvenir pullout section), Rory McIlroy's shot at the Masters ("a five foot eight curly-haired Irishman does not need a green jacket") and local politicians all got a good 'Kieltying'.

It was easy to see why the compellingly hyperactive crowd-pleaser has come so far.

Even when the jokes weren't particularly strong - the "Catholics do this, while Protestants that" routines have begun to feel a little tired - he exuded a huge warmth which carried the room along.

When he bragged about going out with the statuesque Deeley, it wasn't smug, it was actually rather endearing.

There weren't too many uncontrollable moments of hilarity, but people just seemed happy to spend an hour-and-a-half in his company.

At £38 a ticket, you might say there's another name for that sort of service... and Kielty himself made a joke about that very thing.

There were a few genuinely good comedy moments - describing Van Morrison as a "pregnant Zorro" was very funny, and his skit about the enterprising nature of certain kinds of south Armagh farmers was beautifully observed.

There were also a few nice pot-shots at the crassness of the whole 2012 NI tourism drive.

"If you're interested in drowning, shooting or golf, then this is the place for you," he suggested as an alternative to 'Our Place, Our Time'.

At the end of the show, with the cameras still rolling, Kielty slyly got us all up on our feet for his alternative national anthem.

As All You Need Is Love blared out and we all swayed unsteadily on our feet, the man himself just wrapped up the standing ovation needed for the DVD whilst luring us into a feelgood finale.

"If you haven't liked this, I've been Roy Walker," was his sign-off.

It's good, but...

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