Awkwardly funny Stranney claims Toilet Duck comedy prize


by Fiona O’Brien

Michael Stranney beat off competition from fourteen comedians who went toe-to-toe last Friday night in a no holds barred lion’s den to win the prestigious Toilet Duck London Award.

His win at the London Irish Centre, held on the eve of the centre’s Tedfest, means he will get a paid gig at the London Irish Comedy Festival in October.

TV comedian Colum McDonnell was on hand to host the evening and to explain the knock-out format to the audience.

FinalistsEach comedian would get a tight two-minute slot to raise as many laughs as they could, before the next comedian would take centre stage.

After each comedy-couplet completed their set, Colum would march up to the stage to engage the audience to cheer for their favourite.

After the highly scientific ‘Giggle-ometer’ decided on which act was the funniest, the victor’s arm was raised and they progressed to the second round.

The comedy on action was on varying levels, and some acts buckled under the pressure of evoking some heartfelt laughter within the strict two-minute deadline.

Belfast comedian Terry McHugh was not one however, keeping his cool even when the microphone broke and let him down and using his party-trick from being a former world yoyo champion to keep the crowd entertained as he shouted towards the back of the room.

He was one of eight to make the next round, where the stand-up acts got a more lenient five minute slot, along with alternative feminist Aideen McDonald who had a novel take on why she wants to date a dictator and why she thinks Stalin was a hottie.

toilet duckExcitable Paddy McDonnell had the crowd in stitches with his take on Irish religion, while Kevin Doyle’s dark set summed up why the best part of a holiday is the looking-forward to it part.

But it was Stranney who stole the show. It’s hard to believe that the character comedian only began to do stand-up two years ago, as appeared the most confident under the stage’s glaring lights and truly held his own against his more experienced competition.

His hilariously awkward ‘Daniel Duffy’ told us about his weird friend Brian, or ‘weird Brian’ as he ingeniously branded him and his obsession with Sarah – a girl so beautiful that fellas rush to Mass early to ensure a prime spot to shake her hand for the ‘sign of peace’.

There was no doubting that Stranney was the act of the night, and the crowd shared a sense of relief when it was announced that he was the winner, and would be returning in October for the comedy festival.

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