Irish comedy hits differently, and these successful Irish stand-up comedians know just how it’s done. Here are the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time.
Humour, wit and comedy heavily feature in the Irish culture, making the Irish a likeable nation. So, of course, throughout the years, many funny men and funny women have made a name for themselves as stand-up comedians, catering to a nation that loves nothing but a good belly laugh.
So, if you’ve ever wondered who the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time are, let us unveil the long list of comedy favourites who have had us all laughing until our sides ached.
Meanwhile in Ireland’s interesting facts about Irish comedians:
- One thing many people don’t know about Brendan O’Carroll is that the idea of him playing Agnes Brown only came about when the actress hired for the role didn’t show up.
- Graham Norton’s iconic TV show has won five BAFTAS.
- Dermot Morgan suddenly passed away from a heart attack while hosting a dinner party in 1998.
- Tommy Tiernan, Aisling Bea, and Joanna McNally are just a few of Ireland’s most popular comedians in 2023.
- Brendan Grace was best known for his hilarious schoolboy character, Bottler.
- Irish comedy hits differently, and these successful Irish stand-up comedians know just how it’s done. Here are the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time.
- Meanwhile in Ireland’s interesting facts about Irish comedians:
- 20. Deirdre O’Kane − a well-deserved mention
- 19. Ed Byrne − an Edinburgh Fringe hit
- 18. Eleanor Tiernan − a prominent figure on the Irish comedy scene
- 17. David O’Doherty − a comedy career that started at Trinity
- 16. Neil Delamere − a sharp observational humour
- 15. Joe Rooney − an energetic stand-up comedian
- 14. Ardal O’Hanlon − much more than Father Ted
- 13. Dylan Moran − actor and stand-up extraordinaire
- 12. Graham Norton − one of Ireland’s most recognised comedy figures
- 11. Jason Byrne − memorable live shows
- 10. Joanne McNally − one of the newer kids on the block
- 9. Maeve Higgins − successful writer, actress and comedian
- 8. Dara O’Briain − one of Ireland’s most famous stand-ups
- 7. Catherine Bohart − regular appearances on comedy panels
- 6. Aisling Bea − from Kildare to the stand-up stage and beyond
- 5. P.J Gallagher − one of Ireland’s most beloved comedians
- 4. Brendan O’Carroll − the foul-mouthed Irish granny
- 3. Des Bishop − an Irish-American entry
- 2. Brendan Grace − hilarious characters and accents
- 1. Tommy Tiernan − perhaps the best Irish stand-up comedian
- Notable mentions
- Your questions answered about the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time
20. Deirdre O’Kane − a well-deserved mention
Deirdre O’Kane is a well-known Irish stand-up comedian from Drogheda County Louth. Having kickstarted her career in 1996 and made it to the BBC New Comedy Awards finals, O’Kane has become a massive success in her field.
Not only has she performed at the Edinburgh Festival every year since 2001, but she has also been in notable movies, TV shows and theatre productions. She has shared her comedic talents with audiences across the globe.
19. Ed Byrne − an Edinburgh Fringe hit
This iconic Dublin-born comedian is one that we all know and love. Having been nominated for numerous awards from early on and captivating audiences in Ireland and the UK, Ed Byrne performed eight sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has been featured on well-known TV shows.
With four sell-out U.K. tours under his belt, he gained international success in Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., making him one of the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time.
18. Eleanor Tiernan − a prominent figure on the Irish comedy scene
Eleanor Tiernan is an Irish stand-up comedian and writer. She began her career as a comedian in the early 2000s, performing at various comedy festivals and clubs. She gained recognition for her sharp wit and unique comedic style.
Eleanor’s achievements include appearances on popular comedy shows like The Alternative Comedy Experience and The Panel.
She has also written for television shows, further showcasing her writing talent. Her ability to blend observational humour with social commentary has made her a prominent figure on the Irish comedy scene.
17. David O’Doherty − a comedy career that started at Trinity
David O’Doherty is an Irish comedian, musician, and author who began his comedy journey in the late ’90s. He attended Trinity College, Dublin, where his comedy career started for him, and his career has led to him winning multiple prestigious awards over the years.
O’Doherty won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2008 and became known for his successful stand-up tours, TV appearances, and hosting 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
He first toured Ireland as a support act for Tommy Tiernan and with other well-known comedians throughout the USA, only to return with his successful tours.
16. Neil Delamere − a sharp observational humour
Neil Delamere is one of the best Irish stand-up comedians and television presenters known for his sharp observational humour. His comedy journey began in the early 2000s, quickly gaining popularity with his witty and relatable routines.
Neil hosted his show, The Panel, and regularly appeared on various comedy shows. He is also a skilled writer and has contributed his talents to radio and TV programs, solidifying his status as a multi-talented comedian.
15. Joe Rooney − an energetic stand-up comedian
Many will know Joe Rooney for his hilarious parts in Father Ted, as Father Damien, but he is known for his energetic stand-up performances and relatable humour. He started his comedy career in the early 2000s, honing his skills on the stand-up circuit.
Joe has had several successful comedy specials and performances at renowned festivals like the Edinburgh Fringe. He is praised for his ability to connect with audiences and his knack for finding humour in everyday life, making him a beloved figure in the comedy scene.
14. Ardal O’Hanlon − much more than Father Ted
Ardal O’Hanlon is an Irish stand-up comedian and actor who rose to fame as Father Dougal McGuire in the sitcom Father Ted.
He began his career in comedy during the late ’80s and gained widespread recognition for his quirky and endearing comedic style.
He, along with Kevin Gildea and Barry Murphy, established the International Comedy Cellar in Dublin, a popular haunt for comedy seekers.
Ardal’s achievements include numerous successful stand-up tours, TV appearances, and acting roles in various shows and movies. His role in Father Ted has become iconic, cementing his status as a comedy legend, and his hilarious one-liners are still in use today.
13. Dylan Moran − actor and stand-up extraordinaire
Dylan Moran started his comedy journey in the early ’90s and is mainly known for his dry and observational humour.
Dylan’s critically acclaimed stand-up specials, such as Monster and Like, Totally, made him a big success, and he starred in the popular sitcom Black Books which he co-wrote.
His distinctive style and ability to deliver witty and thought-provoking comedy have earned him a dedicated following both in Ireland and internationally, and he is still well-known as a comedic legend.
If you haven’t seen his stand-up, you might have seen him star alongside Sean Pegg in popular comedy films Run Fatboy Run and Shaun of the Dead.
12. Graham Norton − one of Ireland’s most recognised comedy figures
Graham Norton is not just one of the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time; he also made a successful career as a television presenter and actor. He began his comedy career as a stand-up performer and quickly transitioned to television, hosting various comedy and talk shows.
While his origins are stand-up comedy, his successful chat show, The Graham Norton Show, which features celebrity interviews and comedic segments, is what he is known for today.
He is known for his quick wit, charisma, and ability to entertain a broad audience, making him one of the most beloved figures in British and Irish entertainment.
11. Jason Byrne − memorable live shows
Renowned for his high-energy performances and improvisational skills, Jason Byrne is one of Ireland’s favourite stand-up comedians. He started his comedy career in the ’90s, developing a reputation for his hilarious and chaotic stage presence.
Byrne has had multiple successful stand-up tours, appearances on various TV shows, and hosted his radio program. He is praised for his ability to engage and interact with the audience, creating a memorable and uproarious experience at his live shows, which has kept him around all these years.
10. Joanne McNally − one of the newer kids on the block
Joanne McNally might be relatively new on the scene compared to others on the list, but her presence, authenticity and honesty make her one of the greats. She began her career as a stand-up comedian, quickly gaining recognition for her sharp and candid humour, which gets the crowd going.
She has had successful stand-up specials, regular appearances on comedy panel shows and cohosts the hilarious podcast My Therapist Ghosted Me alongside Vogue Williams. Her ability to address personal and societal issues with humour and honesty continues to make her a rising star in the Irish comedy scene.
9. Maeve Higgins − successful writer, actress and comedian
This iconic Corkonian Irish stand-up comedian is also a successful writer and actress known for her witty and charming style. She began her comedy career in the early 2000s and quickly gained popularity for her unique voice and comedic talent.
Born in Cobh, County Cork, Maeve’s achievements include stand-up specials, successful podcasting, and appearances on various comedy shows.
She is also a published author, demonstrating her versatility as a writer and performer, and is now based in New York City.
8. Dara O’Briain − one of Ireland’s most famous stand-ups
Dara O’Briain is a popular stand-up comedian and television presenter known for his sharp observational humour and quick wit. He began his comedy career in the mid-’90s and soon became a prominent figure on the comedy circuit.
Hailing from Bray, County Wicklow, Dara’s achievements include hosting numerous comedy panel shows, such as Mock the Week and The Apprentice, You’re Fired, which captivate audiences at large.
He is admired for his intelligent and engaging comedic style, making him a household name in the UK and Ireland.
7. Catherine Bohart − regular appearances on comedy panels
Catherine Bohart is widely recognized for her clever and insightful humour. She started her comedy journey in the early 2010s, performing at comedy festivals and clubs. Catherine has many achievements, including critically acclaimed stand-up specials and regular appearances on comedy panel shows.
She is also known for her work as a writer, contributing her talents to various T.V. programs and publications, solidifying her reputation as a rising star in the comedy world. She is currently based in the United Kingdom.
6. Aisling Bea − from Kildare to the stand-up stage and beyond
Aisling Bea, whose real name is Aisling O’Sullivan, is a much-loved Irish stand-up comedian, actress, and writer known for her warm and engaging performances. She began her career in comedy in the late 2000s, rapidly gaining recognition for her talent and charm.
She created, wrote and starred in a host of comedy series. Aisling Bea has had many successful stand-up tours, acting roles in TV shows and movies, and won the prestigious British Comedy Award for Best Female TV Comic.
Her ability to blend humour with vulnerability and social commentary has made her a beloved figure in comedy and entertainment.
5. P.J Gallagher − one of Ireland’s most beloved comedians
P.J. Gallagher began his career in comedy during the ’90s and quickly became a popular figure on the stand-up circuit. P.J. has hosted various T.V. shows and starred in the comedy series Naked Camera. His hilarious depiction of multiple characters has left a lasting impression on Naked Camera viewers over the years.
His ability to deliver side-splitting humour and create these memorable characters has earned him a dedicated following, establishing him as one of Ireland’s most beloved comedians.
4. Brendan O’Carroll − the foul-mouthed Irish granny
Best known for playing Agnes Brown in the hit series Mrs Browns Boys, Brendan O’Carroll began his career in the 90s and left the Irish public with many hilarious and long-lasting memories.
As well as his huge TV success as the foul-mouthed Irish granny, he began his career as a comedy guest on The Late Late Show and then released four stand-up videos.
3. Des Bishop − an Irish-American entry
Des Bishop might have an American accent, but he moved to Ireland when he was 14, so we proudly claim him as our comedic genius, and he is Irish American, after all. His stand-up is iconic across Ireland, with his narratives and observances of Irish culture, which ring true to us all.
It is down to these observations that his comedic career became so successful since his comedic style was relatable and allowed the Irish public to laugh at themselves openly. Perhaps it was because of his charming accent; he gets away with it.
2. Brendan Grace − hilarious characters and accents
When you think of impressionable and ionic Irish stand-up comedians, you cannot help but think of Brendan Grace, whose stand-up performances were second to none.
His ability to put on accents and create characters allowed his shows to be captivating and downright hilarious, which is what the Irish public loved about him.
He fully embraced the Irish sense of humour with a twist, which kept the audience laughing until they fell off their chairs. Brendan Grace is by far one of the best comedic geniuses to have come from Ireland.
1. Tommy Tiernan − perhaps the best Irish stand-up comedian
Tommy Tiernan is perhaps the most successful Irish stand-up comedian of all time, on our comedic radar since 1992. While he is best known for his hilarious role in Derry Girls these days, much of his career was set on stage.
Having appeared several times on The Late Late Show in Ireland and The Late Show with David Letterman in the US, Tommy Tiernan has hosted his successful show, The Tommy Tiernan Show. Amazingly in 2013, the stand-up comedian performed his 200th show at Vicar Street in Dublin to an audience of 1,000 people.
Pat Shortt: Pat Shortt is known for being one-half of the successful duo D’Unbelievables alongside Jon Kenny.
Dermot Morgan: Best known for his incredibly iconic role as Father Ted, Dermot Morgan is one of the best Irish comedians of all time, who sadly passed away in 1998.
Chris O’Dowd: This popular stand-up comedian turned actor is known for his fantastic sense of humour and acting talents, which have taken him to Hollywood.
Gearoid Farrelly: Having quit his IT job to pursue stand-up comedy, Gearoid Farrelly has taken the comedy scene in Ireland and abroad by storm.
Your questions answered about the best Irish stand-up comedians of all time
If you still have questions, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and popular questions that have been asked online about this topic.
Who is the most successful Irish comedian?
Tommy Tiernan is regarded as the most successful Irish comedian.
Who was the Irish comedian in 1990?
Des Bishop, Dylan Moran and Jason Byrne came onto the comedy scene in the early 90s.
Who is the Irish comedian on 8 out of 10 cats?
David O’Doherty is known for his part in the popular show.
As you can tell, there is no shortage of prime Irish comedy, especially in stand-up comedy, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming new Irish comedic talent on Irish and international stages.