In need of a good house party? Comedy group The Party T*ts on making the most of second lockdown
The Party T*ts share their experience of partying under lockdown
Getting into Party Season normally means a new wardrobe, mastering a new cocktail recipe, and catching up with friends you haven’t seen in ages. Unfortunately, 2020’s season looks very different, but there’s no reason you can’t keep up traditions.
If you’re missing the buzz of a great house party, you’re not alone, but there is a way to tap into that feeling this weekend. Comedy group The Party T*ts have banded together to host a weekly Facebook Live party, inviting the public into their living rooms to lift their spirits and mark the occasions they may have missed out on this year.
IMAGE sat down with Ailish McCarthy, Ben Virth and Neil ‘Keego’ Keegan to chat about performing, how the pandemic has treated the group and why finding the craic in any situation is key to surviving lockdown.
Tell us a bit about the Facebook Live event – what is it, how does it work and how did you come up with the idea?
Ben: We all met at a socially distanced gig and hit it off, we just loved making each other laugh. We really enjoyed being back at stand-up comedy after many months of not being on stage. We felt it might be a while before we got to perform again, and on the DART home, we came up with the idea that we would like to collaborate on something fun and positive to lift spirits (under the influence of some spirits).
Ailish: We wanted the show to be inclusive for the audience. Many events were cancelled this year and the happiest type of event we could think of was a party. As comedians, we feel obligated to make people laugh. So that’s what this show is about – it’s a hybrid of doing something we love combined with entertaining the public as we go into lockdown 2.0.
How has Covid been for each of you? Why were you inspired to put something like this together?
Keego: Covid is tough for everyone. I think we came to a realisation that we needed something new to get through this one. The first lockdown was tough enough. This was going to be something different.
Ben: I moved here and I had a job in comedy. Then live entertainment on all levels suddenly stopped, and my job was gone. And anything else that I was remotely skilled in – event management, tourism, history – was also gone, so I’ve been not just unemployed but unemployable for months and months with no end in sight.
I’m from Edinburgh. I moved to Dublin at the start of the year, so I’m also cut off from friends and family. Now, I’m with my partner and everything is broadly fine compared to the experiences of other people, so I don’t want to overstate my situation, but this show is an attempt to try and be myself again after several months of, well, feeling a bit useless frankly.
Ailish: I really miss performing stand-up comedy and seeing my friends. It was a social outlet for me where I set aside a couple of times a week to laugh and to make others laugh. This was the inspiration for the show and something we’d like to continue to do in terms of a live show after restrictions ease.
We wanted to make the show for the public and really use that dynamic of a party where you’re in the kitchen and you’re huddled, talking about things going on in each of our lives. That’s one rule of the show – we are New Zealand, where there is no Covid. It’s a space for people to leave that at the door and talk about things we would usually talk about if this pandemic wasn’t happening.
Sometimes it feels harder and harder to keep positivity levels up these days – why do you think it’s important to have events like this to counteract that?
Ben: We’re going into a second lockdown, and it’s no longer warm and sunny. There’s the prospect of a stormy winter. This is when mental health is going to take a real beating, so this is when any semblance of contact, connection, entertainment or something uplifting is most needed.
Keego: I think comedians sense how difficult lockdown version two is going to be – much like Die Hard 2, it won’t be as much craic as the first. We leave politics, bills, lockdown, annoying neighbours and Covid at the door. It’s an opportunity to forget all of that for an hour.We are just here to get a community together to laugh.
Ailish: We’re all in the gutter together, there is no disputing that. But it’s a great feeling when you’ve contributed to making someone’s day a bit brighter or enabled them to switch off from the current climate. Our job is to bring smiles and laughter to the public and it’s great. I guess that’s why we miss stand-up comedy so much. But I’m hopeful live comedy will return, even if it comes in the form of socially distanced gigs.
What does an ideal party for you look like?
Ailish: I guess to stay on brand – this show! We feel that this could have legs once restrictions ease and we can go back to performing in socially distanced gigs that come with regulations. We’d love to have a live show in Dublin where we give the audience party bags as they sit and enjoy their drinks. And we would continue the panel dynamic where we have a different theme for each show. We feel very exciting times lie ahead.
Ben: Bevs, no masks, and a live show version of the Party T*ts at some swanky venue in the centre of Dublin.
Keego: Happy people and enough laughs to lose bodily functions.
The Party T*ts host a Facebook Live party every Thursday evening at 8pm on their Facebook page.