Belfast Telegraph

Q&A: Joe Rooney on upstaging Dermot Morgan and his favourite thing about Belfast

Joe Rooney
Joe Rooney
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

Joe Rooney is best-known for his acting role as Father Damo in Father Ted, and his quiff which is the best in the business.

We chat to the Co Galway comedian ahead of his gig at the Limelight Comedy Club on Thursday, October 11.

What can a Belfast audience expect from your show?

My show at the moment is about having Catholic guilt, a passive aggressive mother, how a pig on a plane could stop terrorism and I do quite a bit of musical stuff; perfect for a Belfast audience.

How did you get into comedy and acting?

I was an extra in Braveheart. I got to throw fruit at Mel Gibson before he was hung drawn and quartered. I thought I'd like more of this. I started shooting sketches and sending them to RTE and that's how I got my first work acting on TV.

As for comedy; I was in a band for a while so when the band broke up I needed to be on stage somehow and started doing comedy sketches and songs with my friend Paul Tylak. We'd go around to music venues and ask if we could open for a band.

What's your favourite thing about Belfast?

My favourite thing about Belfast is the Indian food particularly Moghul Restaurant. I also love your street art! Only joking. I get more laughs about religious stuff in Belfast than anywhere else too.

Best memory of filming Father Ted?

My favourite memory of Father Ted is doing the football scene at the end. Myself and Ardal (Dougal) were asked to play football in the background of a scene where Father Ted talks to the Garda. We got so into trying to upstage Dermot Morgan, they asked us to tone it down but then asked if we could repeat what we did for a separate scene for the end of the episode. So I suppose we kind of wrote that ourselves.

What's the most memorable gig you've done?

My most memorable gig was in Dubai when I had two armed police watch me perform and the venue manager to the side of the stage trying to tell me not to curse. You can be arrested for cursing in public and the police can close down a venue. However, "feck" is not a recognised international curse. So I was grand.

Any relation to Mickey or Wayne?

No relation to either famous Rooneys but sometimes audiences chant "Rooney, Rooney" when I am coming onstage.

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