Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Des Bishop en Nov-Jorko la Irish Voice:

Queens-born, Irish-based funnyman Des Bishop crammed Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers on Friday night, January 11 with a two-hour show stopping performance before 500 people, with all proceeds going to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR). Another two hundred were locked out.

Bishop, who is currently learning the Irish language for a new television show, In the Name of the Fada, which will be televised in Ireland in March, told the Irish Voice last week he was coming to New York to film for the show…

…After moments of cheers and giddiness Bishop’s roll began, and what a roll it was! Explaining to his fans that he spent the past 10 months in Connemara, Co. Galway immersed in the Irish language in an effort to become fluent, Bishop began the jokes.

“You’re not a true Irish speaker until you’re spitting on someone,” he explained to a slightly confused audience. He elaborated, “To be ‘líofa’ (fluent) it has to come from the back of your throat,” explaining that the “ACH” sound is the heart of the language.

According to the comedian, if you don’t have the “ACH” mastered there is no hope of becoming a true Gaelgoir (Irish speaker). “You’re not saying it right if you’re not soaking someone in the face,” ad-libbed Bishop with a vocal demonstration of the “ACH” sound, best described on paper as the clearing of one’s throat. Bishop had his fans in gales of laughter while illustrating the sounds and facial expressions used by a fluent Gaelgoirs.

Although Bishop, who admitted to the Irish Voice last week that learning Irish has changed his life, “Tá sé I mo bholg agus i mo cheann anois (it’s in my stomach and my head now),” he can’t léamh (read) or scríobh (write) yet. He does, however, plan to capture the whole language in all of its forms at some point, but for now he is concentrating on the focail labhartha (spoken word).

During his show Bishop played with several Irish language phrases and words to entertain his audience. One of the favorites on the night was his literal translation of the English slang phrase “word up,” which he hilariously translated into “focal suas.” This brought the house down around the comedian.

Bishop, who admitted he isn’t famous anywhere else in the U.S. except in Macy’s — “All I hear when I go to Macy’s is, ‘There’s Des Bishop’” he mocks in a timid womanly voice about the Irish shoppers coming to New York — told the Irish Voice in an interview as Gaeilge (in Irish) that it was “Deacair an teanga a fhoghlaim” (difficult to learn the language) but that his ultimate aim is to revitalize Irish both in Ireland and in the U.S.

Bishop certainly was making Gaeilge very hip on Friday. He even outlined an advantage of using the language in a foreign country.

While in London last year, Bishop decided to try out his cúpla focail (few words) on for size, and speaking of size, “I turned to the person with me (on the underground in London) and I said ‘féach ar an fear mór trasna orm,’ (look at the fat man across from me). Sure it was great,” remembered Bishop...

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