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Cummins Up for Air
He’s the funnyman and MC who doesn’t mind getting into a stand-off with rowdy punters. Steve Cummins explains how a Limerick upbringing made him the man he is today.
Paul Nolan, 01 Aug 2012
One of the most successful Limerick comedians on the Irish circuit is Steve Cummins, whose energetic and attitudinal brand of humour makes him perfect for MC-ing gigs. Indeed, he is resident MC at Dublin’s Laughter Lounge. Hailing from the Treaty City’s notoriously tough Moyross Estate, I wonder how Cummins’ Limerick background informs his comedy.
“The reason I’m such a good MC and host definitely stems from that,” replies the talkative Cummins. “I’m very confident and I’m not scared of an audience. A lot of people come up to me and go, ‘How could you possibly stand in front of these people?’ and so on. And I go, ‘Jesus they weren’t going to throw a petrol bomb at me!’ There’s very little chance that people are going to stab me. I have on occasion had people get aggressive after a gig – some coked-up guy, and he was being a smartarse. I made a show of him because I’m faster and more quick-witted, and I do this for a living, so you’re never going to win. Then he’s snorting coke for the rest of the evening, and he grows a pair of balls and decides to come up to me and be aggressive or whatever.
“If some guy comes up to me doing the nose-to-nose thing, then I’ll say, ‘You better back the fuck off.’ When somebody says it and they really mean it, it will go through somebody’s brain and they’ll go, ‘Fuck, I’m not gonna mess with this guy.’ So, I’m not scared on the stage, and the other thing is that I have a really good instinct for atmosphere and vibe. Before any gig in the Laughter Lounge, I’ll tell you how it’s going to go. Because of that, if the atmosphere’s too high, I know I can bring it down, and if it’s too low, I know I can bring it up, so that it becomes a really good night for everybody.”
Cummins admits that there isn’t a notable Limerick tint to his accent.
“I’ll have people come up and go, ‘You don’t have the Limerick accent’,” he notes. “And I’ll go, ‘Yes I do – but I wanted a career in media, so I got rid of it!’ Basically, I have my Limerick accent for when I’m driving, because there is no greater fun than suddenly putting it on and going, ‘Who the fuck are you?’ It’s great having a proper scumbag Limerick accent to fall back on. It is a genuinely terrifying noise, it’s one of the worst accents in the world – I don’t care if people in Limerick get mad at me, just listen to yourself!