Ardal O’Hanlon – dad, comedian and actor – talks to MFM

Former Father Ted star takes time out to chat about what it takes to be funny and his family life

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You might recognise Ardal O’Hanlon as the dopey Irish sidekick from the hugely popular TV series Father Ted. However, the 44-year-old stand-up comedian has moved on from his ‘Father Dougal’ days. He is now happily married and dad to two girls, Emily and Rebecca, and a boy, Redmond.

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Ardal has taken time out of his schedule to talk to MFM about his life off the comedy stage.

What type of dad are you?

Luckily we live in a time in history when dads are encouraged to play a full role in the child-rearing process. I’m also lucky to have a job that allows to me to spend a lot of time at home. Even when I’m on the road they sometimes come with me. They’ll come to the Edinburgh festival this August. I think I’m a good listener. My wife thinks I’m a soft touch.

Where do you find inspiration and what does it take to be funny? Tips please for any budding (parent) comedians!

Although my comedy often strays into the silly and surreal, it is all based on some sort of truth. That’s the key. Real situations, real events, real feelings, real emotions. For example my daughter announced she doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy (that bit is true)…she was rummaging around in a drawer and found some of her old teeth …beside my wand and my tutu (that’s the made-up bit). 

Have your children inherited your sense of humour and ability to make people laugh?

They all have their moments. And laughter certainly plays a big part in the day-to-day routine at home. The middle one brings the house down.

Why did you get involved in the Huggies Little Bundle of Laughs show?

It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to do dedicated material about the ups and downs of pregnancy and parenting. While I wouldn’t claim to be an expert, they are subjects close to my heart. Also, I see it as technical and creative challenge not to mention a very pleasant journey down memory lane with my wife and friends who’ve been through the mill.

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Ardal will be heading off to crack his jokes at the upcoming Huggies Little Bundle of Laughs comedy night, at London’s Leicester Square Theatre on August 10.

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