LURGAN funnyman Micky Bartlett is having difficulty coming to terms with the fact he gets paid to tell jokes.
Last year Micky supported Paddy Kielty on his tour of Northern Ireland and played to audiences of over 5,000. The high profile tour followed appearances in TV series ‘Sketchy’ and a starring role in BBC NI’s ‘Find Me The Funny’ talent search.
He was back on our screens on Friday night as one of the regulars on comedy panel show ‘Monumental’, a show which will see the Lurgan man as a fixture on our televisions for the next five weeks.
Micky, who has spent the last two years as a full time stand up comedian, said: “I still can’t believe I’m getting paid to tell jokes.
“I’ve been working full time as a stand up comedian for two years. The nature of the business means you don’t know when you’re going to be working.
“Because a lot of the smaller shows are pay at the door you don’t know if it’s going to be busy or not. There could be a football match on the telly or the weather could put people off going out.
“Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Having earned his spurs as a stand-up in venues around Lurgan it wasn’t long before Micky made the leap to Belfast where he has become a regular MC for Tuesday comedy nights in The Empire.
Micky’s big break came when he won BBC NI’s comedy talent search ‘Find Me The Funny’. Since then he’s gone on to appear in Diarmuid Corr’s ‘Sketchy’ TV show while his stand up routine was good enough to win him a support slot on Patrick Kielty’s comeback comedy tour of Northern Ireland where he played venues like the Derry Playhouse and in the Odyssey Arena to an audience of over 5,000.
He was also given a chance to shine in the Belfast recording of ‘Dave’s One Night Stand’ in the Waterfront Hall.
Micky’s impressive comedy CV resulted in him being chosen for BBC NI panel show ‘Monumental’ where he appears alongside Andrew Maxwell. Micky and Andrew are up against a team containing Michael Smiley and one of Micky’s comedy inspirations, Jimeoin.
The show, presented by Australian Adam Hills, celebrates the great, the good, funny and peculiar side of Northern Ireland.
Micky said: “The format means you’re talking about the same topics every week so you’re able to prepare a couple of jokes. You don’t know what the others are going to say so while you can prepare for some of it, a lot of it is down to reacting to what’s being talked about.
“There’s times the rest of them are reminiscing fondly about things from Northern Ireland and I have to remind them that I’m the only one of the panel still living here. It’s flippin’ miserable most of the time.”
He added: “The six shows were recorded over three days in September. It was exhausting, but it was a great laugh and it was good to go for a pint afterwards with the likes of Roy Walker.”
Friday’s special guest was Eamonn Holmes and upcoming local celebrities include Roy Walker, Dame Mary Peters and Barry McGuigan.
Micky’s comedy often touches on events close to home and he’s fond of quoting his mum during his routine.
He said: “My mum gets so nervous she can’t watch me, so she hasn’t heard any of the material about her. I’d like to keep it that way.
“I still live in Lurgan with my parents and a lot of my stories come from the perspective of a 25-year-old who has been sleeping in the same wee single bed I’ve had since I was six.
“There’s no point trying to pretend you’re someone else.”
Ironically when Micky turned up to the BBC as himself, he was asked to get changed.
He said: “They told me I could wear my own clothes, but when I turned up in jeans and a hoody I was referred to the wardrobe department.”
He continued: “TV is very different from being on stage. You can’t walk about and it’s very difficult not to fidget or stare at the camera. That’s how you know the difference between someone who is very comfortable with being on TV and someone like me - I can’t stop staring down the camera.”
Micky said he had his mates from Lurgan to thank for keeping him grounded.
He said: “They’ll ask me what I’ve been up to and I’ll say, ‘I was on telly last night’. They’ll say, ‘I didn’t see it. But that’s great ‘cause you can buy the first round.’”
Micky will be on our screens for the next five weeks and you can also catch his stand-up routine in the Empire this Tuesday.
Monumental is on BBC One NI on Friday nights at 10.35pm.