Caimh McDonnell’s (pronounced ‘Queeve’) opening gambit is a book of ice breaking questions, which provides the initial inspiration for his routine. The Art of Conversation is about lacking people skills and forcing small talk, which leads into some amusing anecdotes.
Yet McDonnell is much better at conversing than he realises - boy can he talk. An Irishman living in Manchester, he has a likeable delivery that’s natural and full of Irish charm. With great comic timing, he fluidly winds up each joke towards the punch line. He may not stick wholly to his original subject matter (though the jokes are linked towards the end), but his slick routine takes us through a variety of twists and turns.
As he acknowledges, the similarity to Father Ted is obvious - both visually and in his gags. His views err on pessimism and the delivery is rife with sarcasm. At times his subject matter does turn to obvious areas like racism and religion (his Catholic background is an easy target, though he does admit this), but McDonnell always finds the funny side of bad situations. Black humour stems from anecdotes on his family - the stories of his grandfather were especially funny, but never too close to the bone.
As McDonnell notes, people are hard work – but his rapport with the audience contradicted this. Just don’t get his name wrong.