Best known for his three seasons as dopey Dougal on Father Ted, Irish comedian, actor and writer Ardal O'Hanlon is making his Malaysian debut at the PJ Arts Centre on January 11th 2020. He took time out from his busy pre-Christmas schedule, having just completed a mega-successful UK and Irish tour, to chat to us about his upcoming Asian tour and life in general.
Ardal has never been to Malaysia and is really looking forward to the tour of Asia. Ardal told us "I have travelled a fair bit in China, and done gigs over there, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo. One year I did a tour of China when my kids were a little bit younger. We wanted to go on an adventure, so we spent a month travelling around China, that was brilliant, and it was a real eye-opener, so I always had a hankering to travel in Asia since then."
Since his Father Ted days, Ardal has been kept very busy with shows such as My Hero, Death in Paradise and a recent cameo in Netflix smash-hit Derry Girls. His prolific tv career has been interspersed with stand-up tours, writing a novel and being involved in various charity work, including being a patron of a homeless charity in the UK for Irish people. Now that his kids are grown-up, he feels it is an excellent time to get back on the road and head to Asia.
"My kids have travelled in Asia a lot, one of them, last year she spent several weeks in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and she was raving about it. So when this tour came up, I jumped at it because it is taking in a few cities like KL and Saigon, and a few other places I haven't been but I always wanted to visit."
He is looking forward to exploring a little and has been forwarded KL City List recommendations for bars and restaurants while in town. "I will have a little bit of downtime in each place, even though I am working, I have a couple of days off everywhere, which is great," he said.
Looking back on his career, Father Ted was a real turning point for Ardal. He had never done any acting before, and his stand-up career was just starting to take off in London when he got the opportunity to audition for Ted. When he got the role of Dougal he was "shocked to be in something like that, then doubly shocked that within a year it had become such a phenomenon. I still pinch myself that I got that break, but from my point of view, it was only 3 years of my life and every day since then I have to get up and get on with life. I always kept my hand in stand-up and always come back to it."
"When I'm in a tv show, others are doing the real work, the writing and putting it all together and I just rock up and stand there, face the right direction and do what I'm told. Whereas stand-up is very personal. It's all about you. It's the stuff that you think about, you work on all day long, all year round. It's more rewarding in lots of ways, but it can be a lonely old road. But you get a great kick out of presenting your stuff to the public."
"It was lovely to be on Derry Girls, it was very much a cameo role, but I don't know if my character Eamonn will be back but who knows!" With regards to Death in Paradise, Ardal enjoyed filming in the Caribbean "I should be ready for the humidity in Kuala Lumpur after spending the last 4 summers recording on Guadalupe.
"The show in KL will be full of "really, really silly stuff, most of my material is pithy observations, stories or anecdotes and reflections on the world. There is a fair bit of ranting and raving. I think I am heading towards being a grumpy old man."
He is enjoying touring more than ever and is so happy the Asian tour has come just at the end of his autumn tour and before he does a short spring tour in the UK. "I am more confident in my opinions and convictions, have more experience and have figured out what I am doing. So am getting a bit bolder as I get older."
Expect a night full of laughter from an older, possibly not much wiser, Ardal O'Hanlon. Tickets for Ardal O'Hanlon Live in Kuala Lumpur are priced from RM160 and can be purchased at tix.my
Picture Credit Mark Nixon