How it’s New York: Selfie is playing at the Irish Arts Center here in New York
How it’s Irish: Pat Shortt is an Irish comedian and actor, and the show is based on Irish characters AND it is part of Origin 1st Irish Theatre festival – it’s as Irish as it gets!
If you’re Irish and missing home or Irish American and feeling nostalgic for the old country, head west to 51st street to spend the evening with Mossy Burke, the singing undertaker, and the feast of other characters Pat Shortt creates in his one man show. The audience on Saturday was predominantly, if not all, Expat Irish, the barman is Irish, the space could be a village hall there, and you can expect to partake in a couple of Brennan’s bread sandwiches and maybe even a drink with the man himself. “Selfie” is as close to a night out in Ireland you are likely to get without the help of Aer Lingus.
His ability to effortlessly incorporate the malfunctions into the show only added to the fun.
The hugely talented, Shortt, formerly of D’Unbelievables fame, and winner of numerous comedy and acting awards in Ireland, delighted the crowd with his sidesplitting caricatures of characters straight out rural Ireland, and anyone who’s lived there or even visited will connect with the beautiful madness of the the local Garda, the town photographer and of course, the very camp, Mossy Burke. Shortt covers topics ranging from young male GAA players primping themselves in puddles of water between plays, to the disadvantages of camping in a colander-like tent in the back garden during a rainy Irish summer. Few are immune from Shortt’s incisive derision. .
The show was all the better for the few technical difficulties that happened on Saturday night. His ability to effortlessly incorporate the malfunctions into the show only added to the fun, (especially when he could hardly stop himself from laughing), and added a natural feel that is mostly missing from the New York stages. ‘What do ye expect?’, he joked with the audience, ‘ye’re not in Carnegie Hall ye know!’.
“Selfie” is as close to a night out in Ireland you are likely to get without the help of Aer Lingus .
There is no getting away from his physical presence in the room. He uses the entire space and ‘invites’ audience members into the show, and by invite, I mean, drags them in with his words and eyes leaving very little room for refusal. Part of his process surely must be to study his crowd and chose good fits for his supporting characters. Or maybe not. Regardless, he chose well and a big part of the fun was the audience’s willing participation.
Interspersed with the stand up, Shortt sings a few songs including the hugely popular (in Ireland), “The Jumbo Breakfast Roll” as well as “Because She Would”, which harks back to old school sexist jokes and wasn’t his strongest work, though the crowd lapped it up.
Latecomers were given short shrift when he singled one couple out and asked them if he should go back and repeat the bits they had missed. His skill of course is that he is making the audience almost convulsive with laughter while he is berating them.
I spoke to him afterward when he kindly posed for a non-selfie with me and he told me that the show runs for a week in Boston after its three week run here, and after that he returns home where he is planning to to continue work on a new TV show he is writing for the BBC.
Dont miss a great night out, go see this!
Playing at the Irish Arts Center (tickets) September 10 – 27
Thursday – Saturday | 8 pm
Sunday | 5 pm