Dundrum lad Patrick Kielty made a triumphant return to the place where it all began for him, the Belfast Empire Comedy club, and he was accompanied by his new wife Cat Deeley.
Patrick received a rapturous reception from a capacity crowd, who paid 1992 prices – just £3.50 – to witness his return to the stage where he made his name as a fresh faced Queen’s student 20 years ago.
Kielty’s current show is called ‘Home’ and Paddy told an ecstatic audience that the Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, would always be his stage.
A lot has happened since he last tread the boards at the Botanic Avenue venue in 1996 and Kielty’s routine was a whistle-stop tour of the past 16 crazy years. His years of celebrity melted away as Kielty immediately connected with the crowd in his inimitable, hyper- active style.
Subjects included the Titanic celebrations, NI 2012, being slagged off by chuckle brother Martin McGuinness, clerical sex abuse, Rory McIlroy, his plan for renaming Northern Ireland ‘The People’s Republic of Britain’ and Rihanna taking her clothes off in that field.
Some of the audience weren’t even born when Kielty hosted The Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club in the early 90’s and he joked that he didn’t care how the act was received as they had only paid a tenth of the price of his recent show at the Odyssey Arena.
He poked fun at the Titanic memorabilia and said that only Northern Ireland could have a tourist product such as Titanic Whiskey that goes down well with ice and water and Titanic crisps flavoured with sea salt.
Kielty may be close friends with Rory McIlroy but the boy from Holywood didn’t escape his sharp wit when he said he hoped the young golfer never wins the US Masters.
“With his five foot eight inch height and his curly brown hair, wee Rory would look like a leprechaun in that green blazer,” he added.
As Kielty left the stage to a standing ovation, compere Colin Murphy called him back for an encore.
He returned with an old friend, his trademark black woollen balaclava, finishing the act as a Pavarotti Provo with a song from the old days about blowing up the Grand Opera House to the stirring strains of Nessun Dorma.
He also asked the crowd to be upstanding for the new ‘People’s Republic of Britain’s’ national anthem, ‘All You Need is Love’.