Finding that Glimmer of Laughter in the Dark Cloud

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Pictúir tógtha ag Kyra Krenitsky

Saturday night saw some very talented and fantastic comedians take to the stage at the Loft to provide plenty of laughter, in aid of the HOPE(D) foundation. (Helping Other People Escape Depression).

HOPE(D) is a non government funded organisation based in Kildare which was set up with the aim of helping people and families suffering from depression and suicide bereavement.

On Saturday night chairperson of the organisation Terri Thorpe spoke about the event and the charity itself.

Terri Thorpe – Chairperson of HOPE(D). Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

“We are based in Kildare, as a non government funded organisation where we work with the community free of charge.

“It is the essence of people who keep us in operation and it is so lovely to have a night like tonight where we find that glimmer of laughter in the dark cloud.

“We got into this with a good heart, as a support group and we treat you in the same way a grandmother would when you come into the sitting room to offload. We listen.

“Shoulder to shoulder we can work through the crisis of depression and mental health”, Terri concluded before she came off the stage.

Terri Thorpe – Chairperson of HOPE(D). Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

Depression and mental health issues are something that have hit every home in Ireland be it directly or indirectly and it is of extreme importance that the issues are spoken about.

From a personal experience one of my best friends committed suicide in September 2014, almost a full month after another former classmate of ours had also took his own life.

Both of these lads were so very young, having just completed their Leaving Certificate and finished school a short 3 years earlier. They were really just starting out in life and should have been looking forward to their future but now neither of them have that chance.

They are always with us in spirit but it doesn’t make it any easier knowing that things could have been different had they spoken about issues that may have been bubbling inside them.

When life changes so drastically and suicide suddenly impacts you directly, for me it was losing one of my best friends, it makes you realise how much you take life for granted. Life is for living and not getting bogged down by the nitty gritty little issues or silly little problems that seem to arise.

The strongest and most important message that I have taken from the suicides of my best friend and our former classmate is; that no matter how obsessed we are with our own lives and how busy we are, we do need to take time out in order to check up on each other.

Taking five minutes to check up on friends and family could be the difference between life and death for some people which is why it is of critical importance to look out for one another and for people to realise that there are plenty of support services available. HOPE(D) is one of those support services located in Kildare but you can find a list of the services available in Galway here.

It has often been said that laughter is the best form of medicine and that saying shone through on Saturday night as I sat in the Loft amongst a small crowd of people who laughed from the moment the show began right through to the end.

With about 25 or so people in attendance on the night, the comedy show gave off a very intimate vibe of togetherness and unity, with the understanding that mental health, depression, and suicide has either directly or indirectly hit every single person in that room.

The intimate crowd on the night – Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

Mayo Man, Paul David Murphy, began the night with a dig at his home town Ballinrobe, but quickly reinforced the fact that no matter how bad the place itself is, the people are what makes it great.

The young comedian was full of beans as he told many true stories about his friends and family which resulted in the audience shedding tears of laughter.

Paul David Murphy Comedian – Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

The West was most certainly awake with AR Devine another Mayo man following quickly in the wake of Paul David Murphy who MC’d the rest of the night. AR Devine poked the beast as he discussed how a homeless man had robbed his bicycle at midnight when AR had just finished a late night in work. Although he hinted at addiction and homelessness it was done so, innocently, with his aim not to go too deep into the dark side and all the while he had the room full to the brim with laughter.

Sean Begley, new to the world of comedy and winner of the Bray Comedy Festival Best New Act 2018 followed swiftly in the footsteps of the Mayo men.

Sean Begley new to the world of comedy – Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

He quickly had the audience in convulsions laughing as he began with,

“I was really enthusiastic about coming out tonight but I got a phone call earlier on that said sorry to disturb you Mr Begley but you’re mother has been rushed to hospital and she’s critical.

“I said sure jeez she’s exactly the same way at home like she never shuts up. She’s grand, she’s grand and there were no mammies harmed in the writing of that joke.”

It was quiet clear from the tone and the content of Sean’s jokes that family means everything to him. Most of what he joked about was aimed at his family, his wife and his own parents clearly showing that his family life is of extreme importance to him all the while keeping the audience entertained.

Sean Begley new to the comedy world – Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

Laughter became the essence of the night even throughout the 20 minute break which allowed people to go to the loo and top up their drinks before the final two acts came on stage.

When the show resumed it was time for the audience to get involved as three people were asked to come up on stage. I quickly reclined back in my seat hoping not be noticed knowing I would probably fall on the stage if I were chosen.

Video by Sheila Ní Bheaglaoich
Roisín, Joceyln and Joe were chosen to join Paul David Murphy on stage as they became the ones to watch. Following their little stint, Johnny Graham bounced onto the stage with copious amounts of energy which stayed with him for the entirety of his act. My jaws hurt as everything he said had the entire room break into streams of laughter.

Video by Sheila Ní Bheaglaoich
Johnny wriggled off the stage like a worm and hopped on a chair in the front row doing somewhat of twerk which made us all laugh until our stomachs hurt.

Johnny Graham – Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

The final act of the night was the internet sensation Farmer Michael and Kathleen, who covered controversial topics of race, religion, sexuality, immigration, war, feminism but all the while keeping the audience well entertained. The duo Farmer Michael and Kathleen together were the perfect act to end what was an amazing night of comedy in the Loft.

Farmer Michael and Kathleen – Photo taken by Kyra Krenitsky

For those interested there is another comedy night taking place in Moorefield Co. Kildare in aid of the HOPE(D) foundation with tickets costing €10. All the information is available here.

Hats off to Sean Begley, who has been involved in the organisation of both comedy evenings remotely from his home town in Bray.

On a final note, a huge thank you to the very talented Kyra Krenitsky who took all the above photos on the night.

For more information on HOPE(D) you can call 1850 855834 or 087 1513535. You can also email contacthoped@gmail.com.