I played a midwinter Christmas gig last weekend at my local, the Moutere Inn.
It was freezing cold and the ABs versus Irish test was on TV so I thought it would be a quiet night.
It actually turned out to be a really cool gig, memorable not just for the mulled wine and the great audience but because it was the first solo gig I had done in a while.
There is something very exposed about performing without a band. Solo is always a bit risky; playing in a band is more like walking a tightrope with a large velvet cushion placed underneath it.
After much back-slapping after the gig and a midnight drive home, I fell on to the couch with TV remote in hand and found myself watching Irish comedian Ed Byrne live in concert in Glasgow.
It was a standup comedy tour-de-force. He kept the audience engaged for over two hours with a fusillade of Blarney. See, he's got the solo thing down.
Ed Byrne is one of the most incisive comedians on the comedy festival circuit. His TV show Different Class had at its core some smart observations about social mobility.
"Having a SodaStream at home is posh; drinking real Coke is not."
Halfway through his show Byrne's humour turned to family relationships. Even if a tad profane, Byrne's comedic tales about siblings, parents and partners were well above average. Whatever that is. Let's say a sitcom like The Middle is average.
Believe me I am no killjoy but I am so "over" the current parade of sitcoms which deal with family relationships. Especially those which depict fathers as losers – something which began with The Cosby Show in 1984, flourished with The Simpsons and has reached full noise in programmes like Modern Family and Family Guy.
There are now countless TV sitcoms where the man of the house is painted as gormless.
Maybe it's just a sign of the times but, as a bloke and a father, I feel under siege.
It would be refreshing to have men depicted as kingly characters who are robust, just and compassionate. But no, we are now deep in a cynical age when TV fathers are shown to be bar-room dropkicks who secretly resent their kids (despite high-fiving them and calling them "dude") and where kids learn whole catalogues of withering adult put-downs from TV shows like Two and a Half Men.
In the cartooning of the father we have been sold the idea that The King is dead. The TV father figure has become the fall guy in a slapstick comedy that just won't let up. LOL!
I like to think that comedy is more than just a remedy for boredom. I keep hoping for intelligent life – Ed Byrne style.
There must be a sitcom out there somewhere that depicts its leading man as a strong, admirable character. But, seriously, right off the bat I can't think of one.
Funny that. LMAO!
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