Patrick Monahan, half-Iranian half-Irish comedian is a truly global entertainer or as the Daily Telegraph put it, “a one man ethnic melting pot, a star in the making”. Patrick started his career on the “glamorous Irish/Iranian/Geordie stand-up circuit”. His humour travels well. He engages the audience with charming banter about local affairs and universal issues, but draws on his own experiences of growing up in Teesside with Iranian and Irish influences.
Patrick is a comedy festival regular and has performed his solo shows across the globe such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Qatar, Dubai, Luxembourg, Germany, Brussels, France, Greece and Monaco.
He has appeared on numerous UK Television shows as a presenter, guest interviewee, panel member and performer.
Please follow my interview with Patrick:
PersianMirror: Who is Patrick Monahan?
PATRICK: My dad’s from Roscommon in the West of Ireland. He travelled to Iran in the early 70’s – where he met me Iranian mum. I was born in Ahvaz on June 23rd 1976. By 1980 we’d all moved to a town in the North of England. I went to a Catholic School in the North of England. When I was 18 years old, I went to University for 3 years – while working out how to become an entertainer – or at least how to break onto the Irish/Iranian/English comedy circuit!
PM: Where do you live now?
PATRICK: Most of the time I’m living out of a suitcase even though I’ve still got me room at home with me parents in the North of England and I share a flat in London with me Brother and Sister. Most of the time I’m based in London because its at the heart of the British comedy scene and also I’m only a 10 minute walk from Soho and a 15 minute tube ride from ‘High Street Kensington’, Persia’s second capital city outside of Iran!
PM: Do you have any special training or education in theatre?
PATRICK: In stand up comedy – it’s similar to most industries where you have to learn the good old-fashioned hard way – by plenty of practise and constant work and training! Unfortunately a lot of the training in the early years involves practising and learning in front of small Smokey rooms above an old miner’s pub – where the alcohol has a stronger kick than a pint of leaded petrol. But it’s definitely all worth it in the end – the harder the gigs to start with – the easier it becomes later on in life, unless you start drinking the pints of petrol.
PM: Tell us a little about how you got started?
PATRICK: One dark night, I was walking home all alone, in the lateness of the moonlight shadow, I accidentally took the wrong turn and ended up going through a mysterious wood – and suddenly a group of thugs appeared from behind the trees – and all held weapons up and said to me “tell us a joke or die here tonight?” – Well I had no other choice! I had to run! I knew then and there that I wanted to become a comedian – if ever I ran into this mysterious ‘hiding behind the tree’ gang!
PM: What is your formal education?
PATRICK: Like most people I’ve read a few ‘Agatha Christie’ books at school and wondered about whether any of us would ever need to use algebra again in real life once we’d escape the classroom!
I also, surprisingly obtained a one year foundation course in accountancy and a degree in business and marketing – but that was just so that my mum could send a photocopy of my certificates back to the family in Ahvaz to say “hey remember the little baby one in the family that used to pull strange faces all the time – well he can read now!”
PM: What do you know about Iran?
PATRICK: They love reporting it on the news! Sometimes on British TV – the ‘News at 10’ programme turns into the ‘Iran at 10 and look at how much shouting they do in the street when the cameras pointed at them’.
Luckily I get a lot of me information and knowledge about Iranians from family members and family friends. One thing that always comes up about Iran is its long historic past and its warm and friendly people.
PM: Please name some Iranian artists working in your field?
PATRICK: I'm pretty sure there’s quite a few Iranian comedians out there in Iran, America and across the rest of the world – but the only ones I’ve met and worked with – have been in Britain, which are Omid Djalili and Shappi Khorsandi – both are very funny and very Iranian!
PM: Who are your favourites with the biggest influence on you?
PATRICK: I like a lot of different styles and types of comedians from Charlie Chaplin to modern day performers like Robin Williams and Lee Evans who have enough energy and warmth and gags to power 12 nuclear power stations in Iran. Also I’m a big fan of Richard Pryor and modern day performers such as Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Billy Connolly!
PM: Tell us a little about the way you passed to become a solo showman?
PATRICK: When I started of doing comedy from doing my first gigs – I went out nearly every night to comedy clubs around London town – going to any small pub gig or event where you could get on to do a 5-minute set! I kept doing this every night till eventually I developed a longer 20/30-minute act of material that promoters of comedy clubs would book me and pay for me to perform! Hard work always pays off in the end and always being nice helps!
PM: What would a big dream-come-true for be?
PATRICK: I definitely think for me (and for most comics) the big dream or goal is to become the biggest touring comedian there is – to be someone like Robin Williams or Chris Rock who can perform regularly at big venues and arenas across countries and always manage to get a sell out attendance and leave the audience with an amazing night of entertainment. And to make a couple of stand up DVD’s – that you can watch with your grandchildren when I’m an old man – and try and explain all the references to them!
PM: Where is your favourite place to perform and why?
PATRICK: I think one of the best places to perform regularly is in Soho – the heart of London – because you are definitely guaranteed a different mix of audience each night and a real variety of different nationalities and accents and languages each night, which makes you keep sharp and on your toes!
PM: What is your favourite activity?
PATRICK: I really love doing Karaoke!
PM: What do you like to be written in your epitaph?
PATRICK: He was a nice friendly and warm fellow, who loved chocolate bars, and always liked to give a cuddle or share a hug, better still, sharing a chocolate bar and a cuddle was his favourite past time – he was a bit manic and always in rush, usually always late but would eventually turn up – a list of things always piling up to do, from reading newspapers to eating chocolate bars. He lived his whole life without losing his temper once – which explains why he was never divorced (but that’s probably because he never got married – he’d always turn up late to the wedding!). He might have been late a lot – but once he had got there, he was a laugh!
“Life is like a box of chocolates – and Patrick’s had most of them!”
PM: What is your message to our Readers?
PATRICK: Life's too short to moan, anyone can moan, it's not hard or clever - but only special people can look at life and give it a big old smile – a big smile from the heart! And always enjoy every day – treat it like a new day – because it’s not just another day – it’s a brand new day – and anything could happen (and with it being life – it probably will!).
PM: Dessert Island, three things, what do you take?
PATRICK: Chocolate, mobile and cake!
PM: PersianMirror Quickfacts:
Favourite Colour: Yellow
Favourite City : Lisbon
Favourite Dish: Ghorme Sabzi and (veggie) Dolme
Favourite Drink: Strawberry smoothest
Languages: English and Farsi
PM: We appreciate your taking the time to do this interview with PersianMirror.
PATRICK: It's been my pleasure – thanks for taking the time out to have this long distance chat with me. If you see me performing in America – make sure you come to the show and bring some chocolate bars and a friendly cuddle! Lots of Irish/Iranian/English love to one and all!
For more on Patrick Monahan please visit his website.