Enniskillen native Lorcan McManus has wanted to do comedy from he was the age of 16.

“I was told plenty that I was a fairly witty individual and I’ve always liked to make people laugh,” he told The Impartial Reporter:

“But I never had the courage to actually get up and do it until just over a year ago.”

Now in his early thirties, Lorcan is riding the adrenaline rush of performing stand-up comedy to live audiences in various venues around Kent in England, his current home.

“Mainly I started doing it last year just to grow my confidence, to get on stage to deal with my own issues with mental health and stuff like that,” shared Lorcan, noting that he finds performing stand-up comedy a “cathartic experience”.

“It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve just got the courage up to do it now,” he shared.

“It’s an absolutely terrifying experience, every single time that I get up on stage, but when you get off stage, it’s the best feeling in the world,” he added.

When asked what inspires his stand-up, Lorcan explained that he tends to get a lot of his material from the memory section on his Facebook page.

“Little jokes that I made years and years ago or just real life stories, things that have happened to me that were awkward or a silly situation,” he shared, adding:

“The majority of my anecdotes are things that have really happened to me that I try to put a humorous spin on.”

Taking his material to the stage for the first time just over a year ago, Lorcan described his first experience of performing to a live audience as “terrible”.

“It started off quite rocky,” he laughed.

“For my first gig I decided to bite the bullet one night and went down to an open mic in the town I was living in, Ashford in Kent.

“It was actually a terrible experience because I was the only person doing comedy and everyone else was performing songs and poetry, so everyone else was quite dour and down, and then I got up and started telling some quite vulgar stories about my experience in Amsterdam,” he said.

“It just went down like a lead balloon,” laughed Lorcan.

However this experience didn’t put him off and he has since had more enjoyable gigs.

“My favourite gig was probably the last one that I did,” he recalled.

“It was on February 4 at a gig called Comedy Lock-In in Faversham which is also in Kent. It’s a small enough gig for start-up comedians but the crowd was very welcoming and I did a very good set that night, everything sort of just worked,” shared Lorcan.

“I got to a point where I was passed my nerves getting on stage. It’s still terrifying but at the same time I’ll be able to use that bit of adrenaline to do a better gig than I have before,” he added.

When asked if he has had to deal with hecklers during any of his gigs, Lorcan said:

“I’ve only dealt with a very small amount of hecklers, luckily.

“But I’ve found that I tend to shut them down by, in as humorous a way as possible, telling them that it’s not a conversation, they are here to see a performance and that it’s not about them.”

“And, maybe egotistically, tell them it’s about me,” added Lorcan with a laugh.

Like many others in the arts sector, Lorcan’s stand-up comedy has come to a standstill due to the pandemic.

“The industry is not a very fruitful one at the minute. My comedy has taken a backseat because there’s no urgency to it now that there’s no gigs going on,” said Lorcan.

“I’m not a huge fan of the Zoom gigs because a lot of the joy I get out of performing is performing to people and seeing their faces, seeing their reaction,” he added.

Not only has Lorcan been impacted personally by venue closures due to Covid-19 regulations, he explained that the UK comedy industry in general has taken a big hit.

Advocating for ‘Save Live Comedy’ (#savelivecomedy), a movement highlighting concerns that the UK’s world leading comedy industry is on the brink of collapse and runs the risk of being forgotten by emergency government arts funding, Lorcan commented:

“In the next year, I think it’s 77.8 per cent of stand-up comedy venues will probably be closed just due to Covid-19 and the government not really seeing comedy as an art form worth saving, even though I think we can all agree that laughter has helped a lot of people through quarantine.”

Lorcan noted that although the government have announced that £1.57 billion will be going towards helping cultural, arts and heritage institutions across the UK to support the sector post-lockdown, none of the funding is being spent on comedy venues to help save them.

“The things that people see as more important are things like theatres and plays, and stuff like that, even though I would argue that stand-up comedy is much more accessible to the majority of people and it brings in more money to the industry,” shared Lorcan.

“Now it’s not getting any help and we’re in danger of losing a huge part of the industry because of that,” he told this newspaper.

To keep up to date with Lorcan’s comedy, follow him on Instagram @saintlorcan.