“The buzz of making an entire crowd spit their drink out laughing – there’s nothing like it. It’s food for the soul; there’s no adrenalin like it.”
Edgeworthstown’s Enda Whitney (24), speaking to the Leader this week about the new Comedy Club that’s opening this Saturday, April 23, in PVs Red Room.
It’s a new venture that will see five comedians, including Enda, on stage at the Ballymahon Street venue.
The comedy, for Enda, started with a bet just under two years ago.
“I was up in college in Maynooth, living with a couple of lads and there was a bit of banter going on in the pub. I was giving out about the house-mates that I was living with – I was on a full-blown rant – I was telling the story and the lads were just laughing at me. As they kept laughing, I kept getting angrier.
“Later in the night, some bet was made and the forfeit was for me to go and do a stand-up comedy gig. So I lost the bet and I had to go into the open mic night in the Ha’penny Bar in Dublin.
“I got asked to come back and do a competition another night and I ended up winning the competition. I sort of just got addicted to it and kept going,” explained Enda.
“I might have a little bit of a unique way of looking at life and people seem to find it amusing, I suppose,” he added.
The comedy progressed with gigs in Waterford and Cork, where he was asked to perform on the amateur stage in Kilkenny Cat’s Laughs on June Bank holiday.
“I never looked at going anywhere with it; I always thought it would be a hobby, but now that I’m getting the likes of amateur venues in Cat Laugh’s and have played in nearly every city in the country, I’d like to take it as far as I can. I’d like to play on the biggest stage there is in Ireland, if nothing else. I’d love to get on the main stage in the Cat Laugh’s and I’d love to play the likes of Electric Picnic.”
While the comedy has progressed, Enda – son of Mary and the late Frank Whitney - has continued his training to be a counsellor, firstly at college in Maynooth and now Dublin. Through his studies, he’s discovered that comedy can play a role in health and well-being.
“I’ve just finished my first accreditation in Maynooth and I’m heading up to the Liberties in Dublin to continue my training. Over the course of what we’ve done so far, there’s a tried and trusted method called ‘Energetic Biology’.
“If you can get a room full of people to laugh with just one person to laugh ‘ha’, it gets infectious and goes around the room and people end up laughing uncontrollably. It’s scientifically proven that it releases endorphins into your body and physically makes you happier.
“As I go on and learn more about counselling, I’m definitely going to try and bring comedy into it as well.”
His late father Frank was a foreman in C&D for 30 years, and together with his mother Mary Whitney, they ran the Sportsman Inn in Edgeworthstown for a number of years as well. With strong links to the local GAA club, the acid test for bringing the comedy club took place at the recent Mostrim dinner dance.
“A lot of people from home heard I was doing comedy all over the country and I got asked a few times why wouldn’t you do it here. I said I wanted to be at a certain level to come back here because you’re going to get your most criticism from your friends and family.
“I did a little tester and I did an appearance at the Edgeworthstown dinner dance this year and it went well. So that was the final straw to give the club a push.”
Now living in Longford town, Enda approached PVs to set up a club in the town and this Saturday night, April 23, he has assembled a bill of five acts (including himself) to perform on the night.
Headlining is Colum McDonnell. “He’s from Dundalk – you’ll know by his accent; he’s a very funny man. Regardless of what he says, you’ll laugh at him. He’s got a very good way with the crowd. He’s on the Savage Eye a bit and he used to warm up the crowds on tour with Podge and Rodge. He has also appeared on the ‘World Stands Up’ show on Paramount Comedy.”
Next in the bill is Gary Lynch, who gigs a fair bit in the major cities in the UK, as well as Dublin. He’s also played support to Neil Delamere and Tommy Tiernan at Vicar Street. Highly regarded in comedy circles, Enda predicts he’ll go down well with the local audiences.
Gary Whyte, who is only a year on tour himself, has appeared at a number of top venues in Ireland in that time.
MC is George Fox, who has appeared on a number of RTE shows, is described by Enda as “a great entertainer”. “He’ll get the crowd going from the start,” he added.
Doors open at 9pm, first act is on stage at 9.30pm. Tickets €10.
Following the comedy, there will be live music with the Greenweed.