In his early twenties, Mark O’Connell was a student at the University of Limerick and a member of the comedy scene.
He attended clubs and festivals and found his way into a local group.
“I was lucky enough to get invited to a couple of local comedy nights and a couple that were really good and had great stories, stories of what it’s like being a gay Irish comedian.
It was like the real thing.
It’s a weird experience, but it’s what I wanted to do.”
In 2003, O’Connor moved to Dublin and joined the comedy team at the Comedy Central Dublin branch.
The following year, he made his debut in the hit television show The Comedy Game.
The show won an Irish Emmy Award in 2007 for best comedy series and went on to be nominated for several other awards.
O’Conner’s next series was produced by Mark O. Fitzpatrick and it was a big hit.
“It was like, ‘We’re gonna be here for a while!'” he recalls.
“A lot of people in Dublin wanted to be in that comedy club, and I was one of them.
It wasn’t like being in a big club.
It felt like an extended family.”
Comedy, for O’Connors, was a new way to make money.
“The first two years, I was a very small-time, not a big-time comedian,” he says.
“My pay was very small.
It had to be around €2,000 a week.
It really helped that we were working on an independent show and not a commercial show.
I had an idea of where I wanted it to go, and that was the Comedy Game.”
The show took off and in 2011, Oconnor made his Irish TV debut in an episode titled ‘Boys Club’.
“I didn’t know anything about TV at the time, and it really struck a chord with people,” he recalls of the moment he got the call.
“At that point, I didn’t think about it as being a comedy show or a show about a comedy club.”
O’Donohue’s comedy has been featured in several episodes of the award-winning sitcom and the series also featured in the popular HBO series The West Wing.
Comedy fans will recognise O’Reilly as a regular on the TV show The Thick of It.
Comedy star: Mark O Connor.
Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie Mark OConnor has since moved to Los Angeles to work on projects with director Mike Schur, and also co-wrote the screenplay for the movie The Good Wife.
In the past five years, he has been involved in many different projects.
In May this year, O Connell was named the winner of the Comedy Award for best new stand-up comedian, in recognition of his work on The Comedy Show.
“Being a stand-in comedian was always something that was exciting for me, and now that I’m in L.A., I’m a little bit more confident,” he admits.
“That’s what you want to do when you’ve got a lot of experience and a lot in front of you.
That’s what it feels like to do.
I’m really excited to be a part of it. “
There’s no doubt I’m going to be the next one who’s doing it.
I’m really excited to be a part of it.
It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, you can do it.”
In a year that has seen an influx of new talent entering the comedy industry, Mark is looking forward to working with the likes of Matt Thompson and Danny McBride, as well as fellow Irish comedy veterans Michael Stipe and Sam O’Malley.
“Hopefully it’s going to have a lot more longevity than what we’re seeing now,” he adds.
“For me, I’m more excited about the future than the past.”