Though he may be best known to American audiences as a lovable dad in numerous TV commercials, Doyle is an accomplished writer and performer whose solo performances first gained notoriety while he was a member of Chicago’s famed Second City comedy troupe.
Doyle’s latest comedy, “Must Be Nice,” is produced by renowned Irish singer Dr. Brian Kennedy as part of the 2016 International Dublin Gay TheatreFestival. It will run 9-14 May at the Pearse Centre Theatre at 21:00, with a matinee 14 May at 16:00. Information and tickets are available at gaytheatre.ticketsolve.com.
Called “a one-man reality show” by one reviewer, “Must Be Nice” explores what it means to be too Irish in America and too American in Ireland. “In the show, I reveal the family secrets of growing up gay in a ‘bat-sh*t crazy’ but passionately tribal Irish Catholic family whose first language is a cross between sarcasm and envy – ‘Must Be Nice,’” Doyle said. The story continues with Doyle exiled to Hollywood, battling a climate hostile to fair skin and intellectualism while threatening to cash in his dual Irish-American citizenship.
American audiences have come to expect sharp, laugh-out-loud comedy from Doyle; he’s been called “cranky, cracked, queer (and Catholic)” by the Chicago Reader. But as a writer with a passion for uncovering the truth, Doyle doesn’t shy away from tackling some dark history in “Must Be Nice”: his mother’s death from suicide, his father’s death from alcoholism and anger, and his own battles with addiction and depression. Through it all, though, he “finds the funny” and keeps the audience laughing.
That’s what captivated Dr. Kennedy, well-known Irish singer-songwriter-author and longtime friend of Doyle’s, when he saw an earlier incarnation of “Must Be Nice.” Doyle’s ability to balance humour with honesty is what convinced Dr. Kennedy he wanted to produce the show in Dublin. “I’ve long been an admirer of Jimmy’s talent, and this show is something special,” Dr. Kennedy said. “There are so many great lines! I think he has David Sedaris in a sweat. I honestly laughed out loud.”
Like Dr. Kennedy, Doyle is thrilled to bring “Must Be Nice” to Dublin as part of this year’s International Dublin GayTheatre Festival. “As a gay man and dual citizen, my evolution as a human being has been uniquely tied in with what it means to be part of the Irish Diaspora,” Doyle said. “I’m so honoured and delighted to bring this autobiographical show ‘home’ to Ireland as part of Europe’s most prestigious gay theatre event.”
The 2016 festival program celebrates a century of LGBT heroes. “We are delighted to once again host the world’s biggest and most diverse LGBT Theatre Festival from May Bank Holiday for two weeks in this commemorative year,” said festival founder Brian Merriman. “2016 not only allows us commemorate the contribution of gay people to the freedom of Ireland as a republic, but the many people who led the way to a more equal world for LGBT people.”
Minister of State for New Communities, Culture & Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin added, “The festival is crucial to providing a space for LGBT voices in the arts. This of course is a very special year for our country, as we reflect on the last 100 years and all of the positive things that we have achieved. We need only cast our eyes back to last May, to when we became the first country in the world to vote Yes to marriage equality, to see how far we have come as a nation.”
“Must Be Nice” has been performed in various theatres in the United States, including the Comedy Central Stage and fanaticSalon in Los Angeles, and as part of the 15th Annual Fillet of Solo Festival at the Lifeline Theatre in Chicago. The Chicago production earned rave reviews, including this praise from Chicago Theater Beat: “A relatableIrish love story! Doyle’s act is like a one-man reality show, ‘Meet the Doyles.’ He airs the family’s dirty laundry with pride and humour…. Altogether grand, Jimmy Doyle!”