He’s wowed millions of people on TV and played more than 300 gigs all over the world this year, but Middlesbrough Town Hall is still Patrick Monahan’s favourite place to play.
And now the Teesside funnyman is defying the Teesside winter and donning the shorts and sunglasses as he looks forward to playing the Town Hall Crypt on Saturday 13 June next summer.
“I think I need a scarf more than sunglasses at the moment,” said Patrick. “But I’m already looking forward to playing the Town Hall next summer.”
It’s been another incredible year for Patrick, who won ITV’s Show Me The Funny in 2011.
He’s played over 300 gigs this year, including all over the UK and Europe, a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, plus far-flung hotspots including Dubai, Bahrain and Costa Rica.
And a busy TV year included getting his feet wet on ITV’s Splash, and appearing alongside the legendary Dame Edna Everage on Celebrity Squares.
“It’s been an amazing year really,” said Patrick. “The TV stuff was great fun to do, and I was probably more nervous about meeting Dame Edna than actually doing the show itself. You could see that everyone on the show was transfixed by her, and you could almost forget the cameras were on you too.”
Patrick’s Boro date adds to a growingly impressive Town Hall comedy line-up for 2015, with Dara O Briain (Weds 15 April), Alan Carr (Sun 19 April & Thurs 30 July), Jimmy Carr (Sat 28 March), Katherine Ryan (Sat 16 May), Kevin Bridges (Thurs 16 July), and Dave Gorman (Sat 21 November) already confirmed for Teesside next year.
“I play literally hundreds of gigs a year,” said Patrick, who grew up in Redcar and Stokesley. “But the Town Hall is the gig that always stands out a mile for me.
“It’s a proper homecoming gig as far as I’m concerned, more like a massive party and a huge catch up amongst friends.
“And when you look at the line-ups that the place keeps putting together … it’s a real testament to the Town Hall and the audiences that the big comics keep coming back for more.
“I know from speaking to other comics that they think the Town Hall is a great place to play, and I’m really looking forward to jumping in for the gig next summer.”
Now my interview with Patrick in the sanctuary of the Olde Young Tea House on Grange Road.
Q: Patrick on a cold day when people are scuttling around town trying to secure Christmas bargains what on earth possessed you to be standing next to the Christmas tree in Middlesbrough centre in your t-shirt and shorts?
PM: I tell you what. You say it was a cold day and you came wrapped with three jackets, and two scarves. I thought, he looks like he has just been to Matalan, how many tops has he got on? It must be about seven.
Q: I was dressed for December. I would say you weren’t.
PM: Yes. The guys from the town hall all said I am coming to do my tour show in Middlesbrough Town Hall on June 13th it is almost the last date of my tour. (In the summer). They thought what is the best way to celebrate Christmas and get ready for the summer tour. Come and sunbathe by the Christmas tree in Middlesbrough. I think that could be the opening 5 minutes in any stand up tour. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get heckled in June for that. “There’s that nutter.”
It is almost like a 50 date, 2015 of my new show. Normally I like to do the Town Hall somewhere in the middle. I never like to do it first because even though the show has already been written and I have done it at Edinburgh for a month, I like to get it really tight. When you come back to Boro it is like your homecoming gig.
People often ask me do you get more nervous when you come back? Not really. I used to be petrified but I suppose it is like the football teams. At first they can play better in the crucial games away from home because of the pressure. It was like that for me when I first did it. When you first come back. There are people who want you to do well but there are so many. It is great. You handle the nerves. It is now become as case of I love it, I look forward to it and it is actually not that nerve racking now.
The audience here are so giving. Even before you walk on people are screaming and they want hugs as opposed to if you doing a Town Hall or Arts Centre somewhere where people might have only come because of word of mouth. They might sitting there saying is this guy for real? Why is he touching us? Why is he still hugging people? Why is he not on stage.
Whereas in Boro, I always come from the back of the Crypt. Everyone wants a hug. It will be. Oh I remember you from last year, you are from Billingham etc. You are from Stockton. It takes me about 12 minutes before I can get on stage and it is so nice.
So, that is why in 2015 it is near the end of the tour and it will be bouncing. I will have got it nice and tight. I always do a bit extra here because the people are so up for it.
The reason why we did the shoot today is we thought get in there early. People are doing Christmas shopping. People are sick of being in shops looking for bargains they would rather be outside looking at a Teesside comedian in shorts freezing his monkey bits off by the Christmas tree.
People did stand and watch while we were having our picture taken.
Q: No one joined you.
PM: No but people looked and I think that is the difference. If you were a singer at the Town Hall doing that people would go Oh God look at them but whereas if you are a comedian people will say, oh yes they are nutters, that is what they will do. No one would expect anything less.
But that was pretty much the blokes but the women would be probably just be looking going we wear less than that on a Saturday night.
I am not stereotyping about the women here, they are lovely but we have seen them. But I don’t know how they do it. I had my legs out but women do that Friday and Saturday night but they’ll do it standing outside queuing up to get into a club and it is snowing and wearing a little top and shorts and I am thinking, I would be freezing. I don’t know how they do it. So I should be getting stockings on my legs, that is what I should be doing.
Q: Maybe you will have to turn the idea on its head in June and wear a Santa suit.
PM: Yeah. Good idea. A big Santa suit and three fleeces.
I remember doing a Christmas show once in May. We had carols. Some people were confused…
Q: If you were playing abroad Christmas could be in summer.
PM: I was overseas last month and I was in Central America doing gigs. It was all open doors because it was so hot and they had a Christmas tree and we were all in shorts etc. To them it is so natural, Christmas is in summer. They would probably have a heart attack if they came here. They would be thinking why do these people even come out of the house in this weather.
Q: Have you considered, dare I mention it but Middlesbrough are doing pretty well. There could be a promotion celebration when you are playing in June.
PM: Yes. We always do well up to Christmas don’t we. I always see us win on Boxing Day. But to be fair I think this year is slightly better because we are often in a play off position but we could easily be top two by Christmas.
This is the difference I think there is something about this year where if we can go in with that confidence and spirit and build momentum. We always lose that in the past. We will see what happens and by Boxing Day I will be able to tell you a prediction, definitely for sure.
I think this year we will go up in the top two spots not the play offs. It will either be top two or nothing.
- Patrick Monahan: Adventures in Monahan Land. Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt. Saturday 13 June 2015. 8pm. Age: 14+. Tickets: £14.00 / £12.00 concs, onsale now from Middlesbrough Town Hall Box Office on 01642 729 729 or online at www.middlesbroughtownhallonline.co.uk