One of the most enjoyable parts of the monthly brownbread mixtape show are the original sketches by our very own Brownbread Players sketch troupe (The Brownbread Players on Facebook). The troupe is made up of professional actors Gus McDonagh, Eva Bartley and Sean McDonagh, as well as our own Kalle Ryan (and occasional guest star Dorothy Cotter). The writing team consists of Kalle, Sean, Gus and Eva, with additional material by Ken Rogan. All of the sketches are performed in the style of a live radio comedy show (akin to the classic Goon Show), complete with bloopers, giggles and audience interaction. They are consistently hilarious and are often the most popular element of the evening. For that reason we believe they are definitely worthy of a “Best Of” list of their own.
It is almost impossible to pick our favourites, so here’s a baker’s dozen of them in no specific order of funniness…
[See also : Best of Poetry and Prose 2010 | Best of Music 2010 | Best of Stand Up Comedy 2010 | Overview of The Brownbread Mixtape in 2010]
An Actual Conversation on YouTube
One of our strangest but also one of our favourite sketches where we reenact a series of genuine loony YouTube comments posted in reaction to this rather silly video. You really couldn’t make this stuff up. (We performed the sketch again at the Imagine Arts Festival and it got a great reaction then too). Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Sean McDonagh, Eva Bartley and Kalle Ryan.
Father Shivers and Marek
This sketch is centred around the brilliantly creepy, oddball priest Father Shivers that Gus had created a few months earlier. The sketch managed to capture a lot of what was going on culturally at the time, as well as being a good old-fashioned dig at the Catholic church. There’s also some lovely ad libs at the start about Downes Bar where we were performing when this was recorded. Written by Sean McDonagh. Performed by Gus McDonagh and Sean McDonagh
A really funny sketch set in a booze company (cough, Diageo, cough) sales meeting, where a nasty maniac of a CEO demands answers and data about the latest disappointing drinking related sales figures. As well as being scarily accurate about big business, this sketch has a really brilliant energy. The CEO is definitely a character we would like to bring back in another sketch. Written by Ken Rogan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan, Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley
There’s something really unusual about doing radio ads live but it seemed to work perfectly. In general, real radio ads these days are almost a parody of themselves , so we just went all out and conjured up the most ludicrous products, placements and companies with our own unique twist. They were so much fun to perform. The live sound cues always seemed to add to the madness a bit and they were very different from anything else we had done. Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan, Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley
The State of Our Relationship
We had great craic with this simple premise – What if countries were people and they were in a melodramatic soap opera called The State of Our Relationship? So, in Episode 1 we explore the relationship between Ireland and England. The sketch was so well received that we kept it going for more episodes (see below) Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Kalle Ryan and Eva Bartley
In Episode 2 we delve deeper into our country soap opera and explore the relationship in the British Isles. Broad caricatures, sure. Funny, absolutely Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan, Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley
In Episode 3 we discover that Ireland and England have an illegitimate lovechild. A real little rebel. Who could it be? Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Kalle Ryan, Dorothy Cotter and Eva Bartley
In Episode 4 the excitable America arrives for the summer with suitably hilarious results. But what little secret is America hiding? Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Kalle Ryan, Gus McDonagh and Eva Bartley
Strangely enough this is one of our most viewed sketches online. It seems that people stumble across it when looking for examples of certain types of Irish accent. They may have to look a little further as we loosely tackle various regional accents and stereotypes through the medium of classic jokes. The audience reactions on this one are so good they almost sound like they were added in. They’re not. Added in that is. Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan, Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley
The Secret Diary of Manchester United’s John O’Shea
Kalle is from Waterford. John O’Shea is from Waterford. So this sketch was destined to happen. No one really knows much about John O’Shea. Until now. One of the odder sketches we have performed and it has become a cult favourite. What exactly is a jar of crows? Written and performed by Kalle Ryan.
Jesus and Lucifer
We had this idea to write a sketch for Gus as Jesus. Then somehow that got mixed through a filter of The Sopranos and other Hollywood mafia cliches. Christballs has never been funnier. Fuggedaboutit. Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Kalle Ryan and Gus McDonagh.
Rest of the World vs Ireland
In Ireland our attitude to life and everything around us is distinctly different to everywhere else in the world. So we took that to the ultimate extreme. Really quickfire, quite silly, full of great gags and the audience seemed to really connect with it on the night. Many a true word spoken in jest. Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan, Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley
Self-important celebrities & their charity work were the main target here. It is an absolutely hilarious piece that also manages to savage those fluffy ‘Expose’ style interviews too. The best part is towards the end, as the sketch draws to a close, Sean and Eva start cracking up and it only makes the sketch even funnier. It is a great snapshot of a classic night at the brownbread mixtape where the cast fluffs their lines, laugh it off and the audience roars in approval. Written by Sean McDonagh. Performed by Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley.
The New Day Job
So many modern companies like Boogle and Facebuke have ridiculous amounts of perks and freebies associated with the working environment, so we just took that to the most ludicrous extremes. Or maybe they are the reality? Either way, wouldn’t you love to have a unicorn racing room? Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan and Eva Bartley
Do you speak my language?
Quite an unusual sketch utilising this gobbledygook nonsense speak that was centred around the idea that meaning could be inferred from almost any conversation really. The lines were almost impossible to say but really fun to imbue with meaning. Dik dak drak in de barsnak? Fair play to the audience for going along with it! Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Kalle Ryan and Sean McDonagh.
Dublin Teenager of the Future
Eva had done a slightly toned down version of a character like this in a different sketch, so she really was able to bring this absurd speech to life. Something always made us chuckle at the silly slang and futuristic details as delivered by a vapid teenager from a future Dublin suburb. Would still love to know what a YouTube party is. Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Eva Bartley.
The Definitive View – Poetry Panel
This sketch was written as a silly way of making fun of pretentious arts shows, as well as “roasting” some of the many brilliant poets we have met during the year. The character of Sneachta Ni Mhurchu had always got a massive response when we performed the fake radio ads, so we just knew she needed her own sketch. Fair play to Colm Keegan (The Crackle) , Karl Parkinson (The Positivity Manifesto), Stephen James Smith (Signing Your Life Away) and Dave Lordan (Fearless) for being such good sports about the sketch. It requires a little bit of knowledge about their poetry and performance styles (click the links and listen), but hopefully it works as a stand alone sketch too. Join us for the definitive view! Written by Kalle Ryan. Performed by Gus McDonagh, Kalle Ryan, Elderest McDonagh, Sean McDonagh and Eva Bartley
There are, of course, bucketloads of other brilliant sketches that didn’t make this list. They can all be found on our YouTube channel, so please check it out and if you dig what you see, we encourage you to subscribe to it. Every month the YouTube channel is updated with brand new sketches and more from our live shows. There are over 100 videos available for your viewing pleasure there already!
This year, The Brownbread Players will also be breaking free of their mixtape shackles and performing at other venues. Stay up to date on the blog and Facebook page about those shows! Exciting times up ahead!
We also hope to film some additional sketches & short films and post them to the channel, so keep an eye out for those. In fact, we have already added the short film “Modern Ireland” (Dir. David Bagnall & David O’Sullivan) which we are very proud of.
Kalle was inspired by the film to put together a sweet video for the Paschal Quigley song of the same name, which has also been uploaded to the channel. Worth a look too.
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