Des Bishop : biography
Desmond "Des" Bishop (born 12 November 1975) is an Irish-American comedian. He was brought up in New York and is now primarily based in Ireland, after being sent to boarding school in County Wexford for a heavy drinking problem in 1990 at the age of 14.
Approach to comedy
Bishop's comedy was originally heavily based on his observation of Irish society, supported by his talent for impersonating the regional variations of the Irish accent. His website says, "Des has developed a unique style of observational comedy, most critical of his adopted home in Ireland and the America he left behind." www.desbishop.com
Bishop's comedy has since grappled with social issues, such as poverty. In Conversations with Eamon Dunphy, RTÉ Radio 1, 7 March 2009 In 2000, Bishop was diagnosed with testicular cancer - rather than shy away from this subject, Des went on to turn his experiences into comedy material.
Bishop's TV show, In the Name of the Fada premiered in 2008. It deals with Bishop trying to learn Irish to a standard sufficient to perform an entire standup act through the language. During this period he achieved fluency in the language. He later used his Irish to sing the Gaeilge version of the song Jump Around called Léim Thart
The DVD of his live show Tongues and The DVD of the series in the Name of the Fada were released on 14 November 2008.
- Des Bishop - Live at Vicar Street (2005)
- Des Bishop - Live (2005)
- Des Bishop - Fitting In (2006)
- Des Bishop - Tongues (2007)
- Des Bishop - Desfunctional (2009)
Life and career
Bishop has worked as a comic in Ireland since the late 1990s. He began hosting shows at the International Comedy Cellar - a venue set up by Irish comics such as Ardal O'Hanlon, Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy. It was here that Bishop honed his act.
Bishop first reached a TV audience in early 2000, after appearing on Don't Feed the Gondolas, a news based topical TV show. He later had to pull out of this show due to personal reasons.
Bishop created a "hip-hopera" called "RAP ÉIRE" along with Arthur Riordan. "Rap Éire" was a satire following the story of an ambitious American who finds himself mixed up with a group of political types during the throes of early Celtic Tiger fervour. The show had two runs - firstly in the Project Arts centre in February 2001 and afterwards in the Andrews Lane Theatre the following summer. Bishop performed every night of the first run while receiving radiotherapy for testicular Cancer (the original premier date for the play at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2000 had to be cancelled as a result of the original diagnosis of cancer).
Bishop appeared in the 2002 film, In America, in which he played a high stockbroker rapping in the back of a NYC taxi cab.
He reached a broader audience after his TV show The Des Bishop Work Experience screened on RTÉ Two in 2004. The show featured him attempting to survive for one month working a minimum wage job in various parts of Ireland. During the series, he worked at Abrakebabra, Waterford; The Aqua-dome, Tralee; Superquinn, Dundalk; and the Central Hotel, Dublin.
A more recent TV show, named Joy in the Hood, featured him travelling to impoverished areas of Ireland's major cities and mentoring local people in stand-up comedy.
Bishop and Riordan co-wrote "Shooting Gallery", their second collaboration. This had a short run in Dublin in 2005.
Personal and family
Bishop attended St. Francis Preparatory School in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens.Interview of Des Bishop by Al Roker. Today Show. NBC. 16 March 2009. At the age of 16, he began school at St Peter's College, Wexford in Ireland. He later re-sat his Leaving Certificate at Blackrock College, Dublin. He has a degree in English and History from University College Cork.
Des' brother Aidan is now a working comedian in Ireland. Both are involved in running the International Comedy Club.
His father died from lung cancer in February 2011.. RTÉ News. 4 February 2011.
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