Richards will bring a pot of gold laughter to town
January 13, 2015
The last time comedian Derek Richards performed at the Egyptian Theatre was back in 2012.
He performed a solo show with fellow stand-up artist Jodi Miller.
This week, Richards will bring his Irish Comedy Tour that features Derrick Keane, Damon Leibert and Mike McCarthy, and he said he looks forward to sharing his culture with Park City.
"I started this thing eight years ago and the idea was to kind of throw an Irish pub and a comedy show into a food processor," Richards told The Park Record. "We wanted to create a fun pub-like atmosphere. They will come out and sing some of the classic Irish drinking songs to get the crowds fired up and then the comedians will come out."
The evening starts with couple of musicians — Derrick Keane and Damon Leibert, who have performed together in different Irish bands.
"Derrick is an accomplished singer and guitar player from Dublin and Damon, on the other hand, happens to be a classically trained fiddle player who is phenomenal," Richards said.
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Since Leibert is five foot three, Richards and the rest thought it would be appropriate to put him in a leprechaun costume.
"The things that these classically trained musicians do for a paycheck," Richards said with a laugh. "It’s just like going to an Irish pub. You walk in and some guy is playing guitar in the corner and there is a group of people at the bar telling inappropriate jokes."
After the musicians get the crowd riled up, Richards will take the stage for 30 to 45 minutes.
"I joke around about growing up Irish," he said. ".My grandparents came over many years ago, and although I was born in the United States, but I come from an Irish heritage. So I joke about different stereotypes and what not."
When Richard takes his bows, McCarthy comes out.
"He’s this bald tornado of energy from Boston," Richards said. "He will do the same sort of things that I do, and give his take about growing up in Boston, which is arguably one of the most Irish-populated cities in the United States."
The Irish Comedy Tour was inspired by other successful, themed comedy tours such as the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and The Kings of Comedy.
"The difference is I wanted to make this more of a production, which is why we added the musical element," Richards said.
The first show he put together went up in Florida in 2006.
"A friend of mine runs this theater and he approached me about doing a show that would be right around St. Patrick’s Day," Richards explained. "So we got a bunch of guys and put together a theme show.
But there was no musical element.
"It went great and was cool, but I thought if it was going to grow some legs, it would need more," he said. "That’s when we started working with musicians." The show, to date, has gone through a couple of musicians over the years until Richards found the exact combination that made complete sense to him.
"That’s when we got Derrick involved and then he told us about Damon," he said. "All of a sudden we became this one big dysfunctional family."
McCarthey has been part of the show from the beginning.
"I’ve know Mike for a long time," Richards said. "He lived in Florida for a while and that’s where we met.
"I liked what he did and he has this great energy on stage." Richards said. "I mean, he’s an absolute madman."
Richards feels lucky to have been able to piece together a show with an array of fun characters.
"When ever we put something like this together, and you travel with a group — whether it’s a band, a singing ensemble or something like that — you’ve got to have a mixture of people who are talented, first and foremost, but who also get along," he said.
"We genuinely, really do that. We hang out together when we’re off stage, so there’s not like four different tour busses because we can’t stand the sight of each other. That bond shows up on stage with just how much fun we have doing the show."
Although the show is called the Irish Comedy Tour, that theme is not the entree, side dish or appetizer.
"The cool thing about the show is you don’t have to be Irish to come out and have a good time," Richards said. "At the end of the show, we’ve had people tell us that their family is German, but their grandfathers did what our grandpas did. Or that their family is Italian and it’s the same thing. We have ended up finding out all the similarities we share within our families, no matter what background you come from.
"Every culture has their own stereotypes, whether it’s the Italians being mobsters and the Irish being all drunks," he said laughing. "That last one is pretty much spot on. I’m not going to lie. But everyone can relate the different stereotypes. When people come to see the show, they won’t hear about the 1847 potato famine or the Catholic/Protestant rivalry."
Richards is proud of the show.
"It’s the probably the most gratifying thing that I’ve done," he said. "We built it from the ground up and it’s nice to see something like that that has developed into what it is and has exceeded our expectations. We have been able to take what I enjoy doing and assembling this crew of nutjobs and taking it out there.
"We just shot a video in Connecticut in February and we’re now in the process of shopping it around to the networks HBO, Comedy Central and Showtime," Richards said. "Hopefully, it will get picked up and we’ll go from there."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present the Irish Comedy Tour featuring Derek Richards, Mike McCarthy, derrick Keane and Damon Leibert from Thursday, Jan. 15, through Saturday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. Thursday’s tickets range from $23 to $40 and Friday’s and Saturday’s tickets range from $29 to $50. They can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .