PAT Shortt has a great laugh, deep and distinctive, one that he has shared with liberal helpings among almost all of his characters, be they on stage or screen.
Discussing one of his favourite characters, solo lounge musician Dixie Walsh, whom he has modelled a new stage show around, I Am The Band, Shortt’s trademark, belly-aching laughter is in full flow.
“It is a show based around him, his passion for the music scene in his locality, the biggest thing to happen in his life,” he roars.
The show is essentially Dixie - singer of the songs Jumbo Breakfast Roll and Where Did My Money Go - recalling the path his career has taken and the struggles he has had to endure to get to the top of his game.
“So he organises a party for himself - a surprise party - to celebrate 22 years in the business, and invites all the local musicians in the area to celebrate him, even though he pretends he knows nothing about it - ha ha ha!”
“In essence the audience become all these showband musicians that he knew for years and he goes around and remembers great times with them all. Some unwitting members of the audience become band members and he encourages them to come up and try and play a few tunes with him - ha ha ha!”
As befits any Shortt show, there is never just one character, the Limerick comedian’s ability to morph across ages and sexes never in flow as much as in the new show, which has sold out in venues across the country and opens in the Lime Tree next week.
“He reminisces about his life and career, his mother and going to school, the influences that had on him and his music, the first band he started out with, and some very funny characters come to life on stage, his mother and his teacher, other crazy characters he has been influenced by, and of course he plays a few tunes that have been big hits,” says Pat.
“He talks about them and the time in his life they came about, it is basically a reminiscence of his life, which is a complete disaster, as we put it, his rise to mediocrity,” laughs the comedian uproariously.
Dixie appeared in two of Pat’s previous sell out shows, You Won’t Get Away with That Here and The Hall, but the format of I Am The Band allows him to marry his twin loves, music and comedy.
“That is why I did it exactly, it marries the two and I like the madness of that mixture of music and comedy,” he says.
“I don’t do stand-up and don’t like it per se, it can be sometimes boring. I like the mixture of music and madness and the energy that comes from that, and I just think it is a rounder night.
“I think in the current, bleak times, people love comedy and there is a great sense of madness at the gig, people are out to enjoy themselves and the more mad it is the better,” he laughs.
Pat Shortt stars in I Am The Band in the Lime Tree Theatre on Saturday, February 23 at 8pm. See www.limetreetheatre.ie for tickets.