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An Irishman Abroad

  • 05-05-2014 9:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166 ✭✭

    I would be interested to hear what anyone else thinks of this podcast...

    I'm surprised it hasn't been commented on before (or perhaps I just haven't noticed) as its being going quite a while now and has attracted a decent calibre of interviewee, including a few eclectic choices (Barry Glendenning being an example).

    For those who haven't heard it, it's hosted by Jarlath Regan - the titular 'Irishman abroad' - and the essential hook (although it is observed as much in the breach) is that the guest each week has an emigration story to tell.

    Initially most of the guests where comedians/journalists, but latterly there has been more sportspeople and tv / film personalities.

    Personally I quite like it as its relatively gentle and inoffensive easy listening with the occasional gem of a guest - Richard Hughes being a prime example. Regan's 'style', if you could call it that, takes a bit of getting used to. In fairness though, he has certainly improved as an interviewer over the course of the series so far (IMO of course). Initially he seemed over concerned to relate all of his guests experiences to his own, however, latterly he seems to have put his own ego to one side and concentrated more on letting his guests speak. Not quite in Eoin McDevitt's league at enabling a story to develop but getting a lot better.

    All of that said, the last episode with Andrew Maxwell was the second in relatively quick succession that I couldn't stand to finish (the other being the 'Laura Whitmore' episode). In fairness neither was Regan's fault - Laura Whitmore simply had nothing interesting to say and Maxwell appears to be one of the more conceited men to have ever come out of this country. Clearly disappeared up his own arsehole a long time ago.

    Could also do without the hyperbole at the start of each episode about the guest - "the amazing so-and-so...the wonderful X...the incredible Y...".

    Anyway, that's my tuppence worth...just wonder what anyone else thinks?



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,850 ✭✭✭FouxDaFaFa

    I've only listened to the Graham Linehan episode but I keep meaning to listen to more.

    As you said, Regan is very "gentle" and it's pleasant to listen to.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,237 ✭✭✭Mr Pseudonym

    I was a fan of Regan's comedy before, and had seen him in Edinburgh. I don't warm to his podcast-persona, though.

    I won't comment on Regan's interview-style, other than that it's not my cup of tea - IMO, a combination of innocent naivete and a hint of self-importance - but I'm sure many/most would disagree.

    He often says, "I don't ask for much", etc, and that grates with me. I listen to several independent podcasts, and have made donations to a few of them, but none of those is as disingenuous to imply that they're doing the listener a favour. It must take a lot of work to research, organise, and then record the podcasts, but, for all but a handful, the expected return should only be publicity for gigs and other work. That's not to say that I have any problem with his trying to monetise content, but the vast majority of what I watch online doesn't try to extract money in the way he does. It should also be said that the primary attraction is the guests he interviews, and it would be wrong, IMO, if the earnings from the podcast started to greatly eclipse its expenses.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,793 ✭✭✭FunLover18

    Totally agree with Mr Pseudonym. Jarlath comes across as quite needy and can be cloying at times. as a result I'm not listening to them all, merely the ones I have an interest in. Highlights so far have been Linehan and Dara O'Briain.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,419 ✭✭✭✭jokettle

    I think there are too many pleas for donations, and too much emphasis on the sponsors. I find that rather grating; as Mr Pseudonym said, plenty of other independent podcasts don't feel the need to engage in this. That ad for McWhoever's Eyewear is getting on my nerves at this stage.

    The interview style comes across as trying very hard to make the interviewee feel at ease, which I think is contributing to the absence of tough questions and general feel of plámásing each guest. But there's nothing wrong with easy listening, and some of them have been good listening.

    I enjoyed the first episode with Linehan, the Lisa Hannigan one, Chris O'Dowd and Dara O'Briain. Like FunLover, I'm now only downloading the ones with guests I want to hear from. I'll keep listening, but I'm not buying any Christmas cards.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,409 ✭✭✭✭Arghus

    It's a fairly good podcast choice for when you are stuck. He does manage to get some pretty incredible guests and 90 per cent of the time is willing to let them speak, which is refreshing if the only similar reference point that you have had up to this point is Marc Maron. He's very gentle and softly spoken but I don't know if he's particularly sincere. Nearly everyone he has talked to seems to have been a subject of childhood adulation or a near neighbor.

    That said he's particularly good with other comedians- his talk/spat with Dylan Moran was pretty hilarious. Moran was so combative it was surreal. He wouldn't let him have anything. Even Jarleth's assertion that Ireland was in "rag order" economically was shot down in double quick time. Couldn't bring myself to listen to Andrew Maxwell. The thought of listening to Andrew Maxwell speak about himself for the guts of an hour would nearly make me cry.

    One big gripe- He could really cut down on the amount of time he spends shilling whatever sponsors he has. I understand it's a free independent podcast but the intrusion of ads into the conversation are particularly grating. Just mention them, don't talk about them for ten minutes at the start or a for further five minutes later on, smack bang in the middle of the crucial part of the conversation. And he has a particularly laid back but salesmans like tone when he's hawking whatever it is this time- "I use their product myself......and found it fantastic" etc,etc. Makes me kind of wonder if ultimately every word that comes out his mouth is false. And I don't want this. I want to think the best of him. I wonder if donations would go through the roof if he cut them out.

    Think about it Jarleth

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 15,238 ✭✭✭✭Diabhal Beag

    Have to say this really grew on me. As a concept it is excellent from the usual "sit down and chat with comedians candidly" approach, which is kinda outdated.

    Regan is a pretty good host. I knew him from his RTE days where he did a fairly horrific teens tv show with Sinéad Kennedy. Made the age-old mistake of lumping him in with the RTE presenter category based on that. He is soft-spoken, granted, but he has a rare talent of being able to ask questions at the right time without interrupting. It's not uncommon for guests to go 5-10 minutes without Jarlath talking.

    As for the ads that's commonplace really. I listen to podcasts that probably do 10-15 minutes worth of ads. Your typical web design, audible types. Only fair really for a free podcast.

    That said though you aren't going to change your opinion on a guest if you aren't a fan beforehand like Andrew Maxwell.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,563 ✭✭✭connundrum

    I've listened to about 90% of them thus far, and I like them because I'm on the road a lot and it fills a lot of crap radio time with something interesting - mainly from 12pm - 1.30pm and 3pm - 5pm :P

    I love the fact that I have a FF button on the car steering wheel which makes skipping through the intro and ads very handy.

    Apart from that, I've actually learned a lot about scholarships and education paths. I'd strogly advise 4th and 5th year school students to listen to the podcasts to be honest.

    Favourites included Linehen, athlete Ciarán Ó Lionáird and boxer Steve Collins. Halfway through the Lenny Abrahamson episode now and finding it good.

    Keep it up Ja!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 15,238 ✭✭✭✭Diabhal Beag

    Dang that's cheeky

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭Son0vagun

    The audio of some if these pods are dreadful. Reason I have stoped listening to them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,567 ✭✭✭delta_bravo

    Only listened to a few. He is better when talking to non comedians otherwise he always tries to talk about himself I find. Also he's quite poor at the ad segment. It really breaks the flow of the show as he appears to get very passionate when mentioning whatever he is flogging. It's not bad but it could be a lot better.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 455 ✭✭metroburgers

    Son0vagun wrote: »
    The audio of some if these pods are dreadful. Reason I have stoped listening to them.
    It's not bad but it could be a lot better.

    The Dylan Moran is definitely worth listening to, as Regan has little input. Audio is terrible and inconsistent in many of the podcasts, no balance in volumes prob down to Mic placement, of course Skype is difficult but some pre-recording tweeking should suffice. Hate the way Regan trails off mid-sentence, or just gets quieter and quieter...he's almost whispering at times...

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 18,152 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatFromHue

    I've listened to a fair few of them when I'm out on my bike and have found most of them to be pretty good.

    Even for people who I wouldn't have been big fans of originally. The Andrew Maxwell being an example but I found that episode really really interesting, one of the best I thought.

    As for the ads I think people are being too harsh. A couple of mins at the start, middle, and end for something that lasts usually an hour or longer isn't much really. Compare it to a show on Sky and it comes out very favourably ad wise.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,709 ✭✭✭cloudatlas

    I'm actually really enjoying it especially the episodes about sports people as their existence always involves troughs and peaks.

    I'm surprised that Jarlaih doesn't make all that many light comments, he is a comedian after all. He can over egg the sycophancy on occasion but that's how you get people to talk about themselves and for the most part he just lets people talk and explain their story. What I found was that he doesn't do too well where there isn't a flow and he has to interject quite a bit, like with Dylan Moran.

    I didn't mind the Laura Whitmore episode. It's good to have a mix of old and young interviewees across many different sectors. I don't mind the adverts either sure I just fast forward through them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3 padrageous

    I do enjoy the show and Jarlath's easy going style. I've tried listening to the ones I've interested in, but the gem for me was a fella I'd never heard of before, a rugby coach, Mick Finnegan. That pod was inspirational, a real story to tell. I've preferred the darker ones, where the interviewee has fallen on hard times, depression etc. and worked their way back up.

    On the downside, the Kian Egan one. Rude, arrogant, talking over the host, all me, me, my success, my hard work etc... And 2 pods of this as well. That git needs a good slap back down to earth.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,397 ✭✭✭bren2001

    Started listening to this a week or two ago. I've seen Jarlath a few times in person but was sceptical of the podcast. Just skimmed through and listened to the people I knew. Really enjoyed the Andrew Maxwell one, Ken Doherty and Chris O'Dowd.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,811 ✭✭✭Dr.Winston O'Boogie

    The Chris O'Dowd episode was very enjoyable, he seems like a mad fecker, that story about working in Paris is one of the most random I have heard in a long time.

    Others suprised me, Dylan Morons was probably my favourite, my god what an interesting guy.

    Both Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews were great. Tom Vaughan Lawlor was amazing, he's is so well spoken and eloquent and actually broke down in tears at one point it sounded like when describing leaving his dad and moving to London.

    I have enjoyed pretty much all of them, although as I am going through the back catalogue I am mainly picking and choosing the ones with people I want to listen to so that probably has something to do with it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,589 ✭✭✭✭Aidric

    FunLover18 wrote: »
    Jarlath comes across as quite needy and can be cloying at times. as a result I'm not listening to them all, merely the ones I have an interest in. Highlights so far have been Linehan and Dara O'Briain.

    Cloying is the exact word I'd attribute to him. Also his speech seems to be deliberately laboured. Thankfully most of the interviewees are talkative and interesting so I can just about tolerate his input.

    The Johnny Vegas and Michael Redmond ones were two of the best for me but I've only listened to about 6 so far.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,679 ✭✭✭Worztron

    Overall, a great podcast.

    Mitch Hedberg: "Rice is great if you're really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something."

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,203 ✭✭✭Parchment

    I listen to this most monday mornings at work. I generally find it interesting, i think Jarlath is a good interviewer - he lets people speak. I was weak laughing at Ken Dohertys one, Jerry Flannery changed my opinion of him also. Some people are more interesting to me than others - but its nice to hear peoples stories. Its nice and gentle for a monday morning!

    The ads dont really bother me as im happy they fund the podcast - otherwise i would be bored on a monday morning!

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,589 ✭✭✭✭Aidric

    It's undoubtedly a great subject matter for a podcast. In my opinion it succeeds in spite of Regan, not because of him.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 15,238 ✭✭✭✭Diabhal Beag

    Ger Gilroy was not a great guest.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,589 ✭✭✭✭Aidric

    Ger Gilroy was not a great guest.

    I thought the contrary actually. I thought he was very open and honest about his career to date and about the dynamic at newstalk, also interesting to get his perspective on the split although it didn't differ from the reported story at the time.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley

    Ger Gilroy was not a great guest.

    Has he ran out of Irish people abroad already?

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 18,152 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatFromHue

    I really liked Gilroy's interview.

    I am a fan of Off the Ball so it was great to hear how it all came about.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,987 ✭✭✭Tilly

    I love this podcast, some guests that he interviews over the phone can be bad quality tho.

  • Registered Users Posts: 66 ✭✭mang0

    This should be of interest to fans of the show:

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,900 ✭✭✭Terrontress

    I've seen ads for comedy gigs which he is doing and am tempted as I like this podcast. However, I only know him from the podcast and there doesn't seem to be any hint of humour about him. Take the Michael Smiley podcasts, they're discussing serious topics but Smiley seems to be a genuinely funny person, who maybe couldn't sustain a podcast, and Jarlath seems to be a straight interviewer.

    Is he actually funny at all?

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 18,152 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatFromHue

    I listened to him being interviewed on the link from mang0 above and he was saying that the show isn't meant to be an avenue for him to boost his stand up. The show is separate and is purely about interviewing people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 198 ✭✭KlausFlouride

    Obvious really, but depends on the guest, some don't have much to say for whatever reason.

    Some are fascinating, the Graham Linehan ones, Tommy Tiernan, Robert Sheehan and Mark O'Halloran are personal standouts. In fairness to Jarlath, he asks a question and lets the guests rattle away.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,679 ✭✭✭Worztron


    Some are fascinating, the Graham Linehan ones, Tommy Tiernan, Robert Sheehan and Mark O'Halloran are personal standouts. ...

    Amongst my favorites is the Andrew Maxwell episode from 2014.

    Mitch Hedberg: "Rice is great if you're really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something."