Irish stand-up comic Tommy Tiernan is brilliant and so is Something Mental. This stand-up comedy DVD is almost as good as being there live.

I know, I have seen Tiernan at the Gesu during the Just For Laughs Montreal International Comedy Festival. Something Mental captures all of the stand-up’s wit and, most importantly in his case, does justice to his energy and stage presence. In fact, this Image Entertainment release is without a doubt the best capture of a comic’s live performance I have seen in a long, long time.

A Tommy Tiernan stand-up show is a wild ride inside a mind that goes to more places quicker than the speed of light but the comedian is always careful to make sure the audience is following along. If, for some reason, you doubt he has a game plan, pay careful attention to the backdrop painting and you will see elements of his stories depicted there -though there are no Eskimos.

Another reason Tiernan is so funny and successful is his joie de vivre overcomes what life may at times offer. In many ways, this show is a celebration of the twisted and sometimes dark human experience, especially the Irish version of it. This stand-up comic has the ability to never really be negative while still pointing out flaws and imperfections but without sounding like some artificial cheerleader or happy thoughts guru from Houston, Texas.

Tiernan plays the Chicago audience like a show jumping horse resting in County Kildare. He sneaks in the usual Irish cliché about drinking but turns it, and everything else we know about the Irish, on its head. His take on America, the American people’s insistence on being happy, preaches, and even the obligatory coffee or guns bits, is also excellent (and much superior to what any foreign comic has come up with for a North American audience).

If there is a weak point in this show it is Tiernan’s take on women with PMS.  He is also wrong about the Eskimo.

Laughing is good for your health -something about endorphins and the heart rate. The quality of the laughter and its sources on Something Mental are good for the soul.

The stand-up comedy DVD is a better choice than the CD simply because you also get to see the stand-up comic’s energy and body language. It also includes something I despise, the now obligatory pre-show dressing room gag. This time around though it is actually funny and works with who the comic is.

Something Mental
Tommy Tiernan
Stand-up Comedy DVD
Image Entertainment 2008
69 minutes + extras

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