Tommy Tiernan: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tommy Tiernan
Born 16 June 1969 (1969-06-16) (age 40)
Donegal, Ireland
Occupation Actor, Comedian Writer
Years active 1992–present
Spouse(s) Yvonne Tiernan
Official website

Tommy Tiernan (born 16 June 1969) is an Irish comedian, actor and writer.



Tiernan was born in Carndonagh, County Donegal. After spells living in Zambia and London he attended the same school as Irish television presenter Hector Ó hEochagáin, in St. Patrick's Classical School, Navan, Co Meath,[1] a former Roman Catholic junior seminary which remarkably produced two winners of the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award in the 1990s (the other being Dylan Moran). He later attended the boarding school, Garbally College in Ballinasloe, County Galway. Spent eight years on the Jobseeker's Allowance in Galway before trying his hand at comedy.

Comedic style

When he started out he had an ambition to be like Lenny Bruce.[2] Some people don't regard him as being a comedian.[2] Tommy Tiernan admits that his sense of humour is controversial, but claims that it based on instinct and there isn't malice or meanness in it.[2]

In Nov 1997 Tommy appeared for the first time on RTE’s famous ‘The Late Late Show’. As a result of some material about “the Lamb of God”, a group of protestors gathered outside the RTE studios after the show and a record number of complaints were made. As a result Tommy was accused of blasphemy in the Irish Senate. As a result of this and numerous other Late Late appearances, record amounts of complaints and bans from appearing Tommy has been christened ‘the most controversial comedian in Ireland’.

In 2007 some families of people with Down Syndrome complained about a routine about people with Down Syndrome in his act.[3] It had caused some surprise to some of the families as Tiernan has run a marathon in support of Down Syndrome Ireland.[3] The head of Down Syndrome Ireland spoke with Tiernan about the matter, but Tiernan refused to remove the routine - the head of the organisation said he was uncomfortable with the routine.[3] Tiernan defended the routine by saying friends of his with Down Syndrome and their families enjoyed it.[3]

His style of humour has led to criticism. An appearance on The Late Late Show in 2008 led to complaints about his jokes involving a methadone user, eastern European immigrant accents, buying a motorbike from an injured biker, and a film idea about gay Traveller spacemen seeking a cure for gayness, eight of which were upheld by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.[4][5][6]

Television and film career

Tiernan spoke of the part he played in the death of fellow comic Dermot Morgan in a 2009 documentary shown on TV3 Ireland. Tiernan played a priest in an episode of Father Ted in which Morgan played the title character. The episode, which was the last filmed and the last broadcast, featured a scene where Tiernan's character, Fr. Kevin, was depressed and sitting at a table while Ted was jumping around and dancing. The producers said Tiernan's face was not quite right and they had to do the scene again and again. Morgan was said to be exhausted but persuaded to give it one more go. Then filming wrapped and Tiernan went to London the next day. That evening a taxi driver informed him that Morgan had unexpectedly and suddenly died. It was 1998. At the funeral Ardal O'Hanlon, who played Father Dougal McGuire, turned to Tiernan and whispered ominously in his ear "you killed Father Ted!".[7]

Appearances and awards

On June 16, 2006, Tiernan appeared for the first time on the Late Show with David Letterman, after which he expressed his delight at being mentioned between actor Robert Duvall and music group Sonic Youth at the start of the show. Tommy goes on to appear 3 times on the David Letterman Show [1].

In 1996 Tiernan won the Channel 4 "So You Think you're Funny" award. Two years later he was awarded the Perrier Comedy Award, at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and won the Best Stand-Up Award at the British Comedy Awards. 2003 saw Tommy winning the Nokia Best of the Fest Award and the Orange People Choice Award at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival. In 2006 Tommy wins Ireland's Funniest Living Person Award on the People of the Year Awards.

In 2010 Steve Bennett, founder of chortle, chose his top 50 Comedy performances of the last decade. And above names like Eddie Izzard, Bill Cosby, Russell Brand, Johnny Vegas, Louis Ck, Ross Noble Chris Rock and practically every other comic who has performed in the last ten years, in at number 2 is Tommy Tiernan with one of his most memorable Gala performances in Montreal.

Tiernan has been a regular performer at national and international comedy festivals including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, New York Comedy Festival and the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival. He also acted in the acclaimed Father Ted series on Channel 4 playing the depressed Father Kevin.

In 2008, Tommy and Hector Ó hEochagáin formed as a radio duo on "The Tommy and Hector Show" on i102104 after hinting at a desire to be on the radio, months before on The Late Late Show. Speaking about his new role, Tommy says “I’ve always wanted to have loads of craic on the radio. What better way to have a mountain of devilment than to do a show with my best friend.”[8] Following the success of their show on iRadio Northwest, the show has now moved to the nationwide slot of Saturday 10am-12pm on 2FM.

World Record Holder

In 2009, Tiernan set the Guinness World Record for the longest stand-up comedy show by an individual achieving 36 hours and 15 minutes at Nuns Island in Galway (12 April 2009).[9]


Tommy married Yvonne, his partner and manager, on 2008-08-09 in County Monaghan. Guests included Ardal O'Hanlon, Gay Byrne and Ray D'Arcy, and Hector served as his the best man. The ceremony took place at Castle Leslie which had previously held the wedding of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.  

Controversy over Holocaust remarks

In September 2009 Tommy responded to a question concerning anti semitism at a pre performance public question and answer session at the Electric Picnic by making an illogical extension to his feelings about a vocal single minded pair of Jewish critics at a previous performance. He parodied the imaginary boastful rural Irish male who might have "increased the six million to ten or twelve easy" and required the leaving of glasses and teeth. As often before he parodied old received beliefs about the Jewish part in Christs death, while he was interviewed by Olaf Tyaransen.[10]

Tommy Tiernan released a statement that said he had not meant to cause offence and that his words has been taken out of context.[11] He said that the comments were part of an attempt to explain his belief that comedians have a duty to be irresponsible and reckless, to allow "whatever lunacy is within you to come out" and that they should never be taken out of context.[11] He added that the statements that had caused controversy had been preceded by a statement not to take the rant seriously.[11]

Archibishop Diarmuid Martin also criticised the remarks, describing them as "offensive to the Jewish community", "offensive to all who feel revulsion concerning the Holocaust, one of the most horrific events in human history” and “I can only decry the comments as insensitive and hurtful to the suffering of the victims and to a memory which is sacred”. [12]

Holocaust Education Trust Ireland condemned Tiernans' statements as "appalling". [12] Ruairi Quinn, chairman of the Trust, said that "as someone in the public eye, he has to take responsibility for his racist comments. We are equally concerned about the report of the audience’s reaction, which appears to have endorsed, sustained and enjoyed his comments. We would hope that the Irish public will choose to stay away from such racist ‘entertainment’ in future”. [12] The Trust also said it "utterly condemns Mr Tiernan’s anti-Semitic outburst and calls upon him to repudiate completely and apologise unreservedly for the comments about the Holocaust and the Jews he is reported to have made" and "This incident highlights the necessity and relevance of the role of Holocaust education in order to educate and inform people in Ireland about the Holocaust, intolerance and anti-Semitism.” [12]

Rabbi Robert Alper who is also a comedian said that Tommy Tiernans' statement was an attempt to weasel out of the situation.[13] Rabbi Alper also said about Tiernans claim that comedians have a duty to be irresponsible: "To me that’s really stupid. I don’t think that comedians should be reckless or irresponsible. Comedians should be concerned about the feelings of other human beings. It’s hurtful. Comedians (in America) don’t do anti-semitic things. I’ve rarely heard of it. There are plenty of tasteless comedians out there but none of them pick on a group of people."[13] He also did not consider Tiernans' statement to be an apology, suggesting that Tiernan should say "I'm sorry".[13] The Editor of Hot Press magazine, Niall Stokes later said that "To interpret it as anti-Semitism, is wrongheaded in the extreme. The way I see it, he is satirising anti-Semitism, while making a more general point that we should all be able to laugh at ourselves."

Olaf Tyaransen wrote that neither he nor Tommy Tiernan had anticipated the subsequent response to unreserved comments made by the comedian during an afternoon interview hosted by Hot Press magazine at the Electric Picnic — an end-of-season arts & music festival.[10] Tyaransen said the last question asked from the floor (by an audience member readily identifiable by a green 'Palestina' t-shirt) about a dogged charge of anti-Semitism led to the comments at issue, and part of Tiernan's response recounted criticism of his routine by a Jewish couple after a show in New York.[10] Olaf Tyaransen claimed Tiernan's subsequent ideas — focusing on a "two-at-a-time" efficiency concerning the systematic murder of millions of Jews — had been taken out of context, though he personally held the comedian's monologue as 'very funny' and said as much on Marian Finucane's RTÉ Radio 1 show of the 26th September 2009.


  • 2009: Tommy and Hector Craic house on RTE
  • 2009: Steamin' and Dreamin': The Grandmaster Cash Story (himself)
  • 2009: Just for Laughs Comedy Festival Montreal
  • 2009: World tour of Galway
  • 2009: The Fellas Live tours East Coast of America
  • 2009: Late Show with David Letterman
  • 2009: Testamental
  • 2009: Live at Chicago airs on RTÉ
  • 2008: The Three Fellas (With Ardal O'Hanlon and Dylan Moran) in Liverpool
  • 2008: Tommy Tiernan: Something Mental DVD and Comedy Central Special
  • 2008: Late Show with David Letterman (29 February 2008)
  • 2008: Bovinity tour, DVD release
  • 2007: OK Baby DVD
  • 2007: Just for Laughs Comedy Tour
  • 2006: Just for Laughs Comedy Tour
  • 2006: Late Show with David Letterman (17 June 2006)
  • 2006: Jokerman (RTÉ documentary)
  • 2005: Loose DVD
  • 2004/5: Loose tour
  • 2004: Cracked tour, DVD release
  • 2003: Tell Me A Story tour
  • 2002: RTÉ serial documentary, Supertramp
  • 2002: Tommy Tiernan Live
  • 2001: About Adam (Simon)
  • 1999: Channel 4 sitcom Small Potatoes
  • 1998: Last episode of Father Ted (as Father Kevin)
  • 1997: The Matchmaker (film)
  • 1996: The Morbegs (Irish Children's Show)
  • 1996: Angela Mooney (Film)
  • 1995: Hosted two series of The Stand Up Show


  • Tommy Tiernan: Live (2002)
  • Tommy Tiernan: Cracked (2004)
  • Tommy Tiernan: Loose (2005)
  • Jokerman: Tommy Tiernan in America (2006)
  • Tommy Tiernan: OK Baby (2007)
  • Tommy Tiernan: Something Mental (2008)
  • Tommy Tiernan: Bovinity (2008)
  • Tommy Tiernan: Cracked (The Comedian's Cut) Live at Vicar Street (2009)


  1. ^ Tommy Tiernan: Comedian profile — biography from the Comedy Zone website, retrieved 28 November 2006.
  2. ^ a b c Testament according to Tommy, Keith Duggan, The Irish Times, 4 April 2009
  3. ^ a b c d Comic refuses to drop Down Syndrome jokes, 27 November 2007, retrieved 23 September 2009
  4. ^ Tiernan's Traveller joke leads to uproar, Geraldine Gittens, Evening Herald, 30 October 2008, retrieved 23 September 2009
  5. ^ BCC upholds complaints against RTÉ show, RTE News, 8 January 2009, retrieved 23 September 2009
  6. ^ Complaint made by: Mr. B. Archibald on behalf of Pavee Point Ref. No. 383/08, Broadcasting Complaints Commission of Ireland, September 2008, retrieved 25 September 2009
  7. ^ Tiernan, Tommy. TV3 Ireland. January 2009.
  8. ^ McDonald, Brian. "Comic strip Tommy and Hector get exposure for show". Retrieved 02 April, 2009.
  9. ^ "Tommy Tiernan sets new comedy world record". Retrieved 12 April, 2009.
  10. ^ a b c How could reporter take my interview with Tommy out of context?, Olaft Tyaransen, Evening Herald, 25 September 2009
  11. ^ a b c 'Words were not meant to wound',, retrieved 22 September 2009
  12. ^ a b c d Remarks on Holocaust offensive, says archbishop, Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times, 23 September 2009
  13. ^ a b c Tiernan says he’s sorry for Jewish jibes, Geraldine Gittens, Evening Herald, 23 September 2009

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

(On children today) - Look, Daddy, look! A house stuck to another house! Ah ha ha ha ha!

- Michael Schumacher. Why doesn't he do something useful, like drive an ambulance?


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address