As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, let’s take some time to appreciate the long legacy of Irish-American comedians. Irish immigrants have been settling along the East Coast since 1700s, establishing large communities in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Irish immigrants and their descendants have had a huge impact on US culture, especially comedy. Here are some of our favorite Irish comedians!

Des Bishop

Des, proclaimed “Ireland’s adopted son of comedy,” is an Irish-American comedian who was brought up in New York before moving to Ireland at 14, where he still primarily resides. A highly successful stand up comedian in Ireland, he’s had three acclaimed television series on RTE, Ireland – The Des Bishop Work Experience (2004), Joy in the Hood (2006), and the award winning six episode comedy documentary series In the Name of the Fada (2008). Des now travels the world performing stand up shows such as My Dad Was Nearly James Bond which premiered at the 2010 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and won rave reviews. On top of that he has released four stand-up DVD since 2005, and is currently the organizer and resident MC of the International Comedy Club in Dublin. But wait… there’s more! Des Bishop will be at Stand Up NY this Wednesday, March 14th at 8:00PM for a Live Podcast taping of Lost In America!

Conan O’Brien

The lanky, irreverent late-night host grew up outside of Boston, where he attended Harvard and wrote for the National Lampoon. In the 1990s, he wrote for SNL and The Simpsons. After moving to LA, his friend, actress Lisa Kudrow, encouraged him to perform more. In 1993, he was hired as David Letterman’s replacement on NBC’s Late Night, and the rest is history. Throughout his long career, O’Brien has often celebrated and joked about his Irish-Catholic heritage. In 2012, he really got in touch with his roots at the Irish American Heritage center in Chicago:


Aisling Bea 

Aisling Bea is the first female comedian on our list, and the only to actually be born in Ireland. She was raised in County Kildare and graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as well as Trinity College in Dublin. She regularly appears on Irish and British comedy shows such as The Big Fat Quiz of Everything and A League of Their Own, and in 2012 was the second woman ever to win the Gilded Balloon So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has also won the British Comedy Award for Best Female Television Comic and performs standup all around the UK and the US. Here she is performing at Live at the Apollo:


Colin Quinn

Colin Quinn, a Brooklyn native, is a staple of the New York stand up scene. His career began in 1984, and in 1996 he was hired at SNL. Within two years, he was hosting Weekend Update, and had his own Broadway one-man show, Colin Quinn: An Irish Wake. He then hosted his own show, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, on Comedy Central. He’s appeared in various films and television shows, like Grown Ups, Girls, and Trainwreck. He talks about his Irish heritage (among others) in his new Netflix special:


John Mulaney

Born in Chicago, John Mulaney moved to New York after college, where he was hired as a writer for SNL in 2008. While he was creating memorable characters like Stefon, he was also performing stand up. He’s recorded three hour-long specials and has appeared on various late-night shows around New York. He and Nick Kroll wrote and starred in their play Oh Hello which ran for six months on Broadway. He recently passed through New York on his Kid Gorgeous tour at Radio City Music Hall. Here’s a clip from his special New In Town where he talks about the emotional complexities of being Irish:


Erin Maguire

Erin Maguire, one of Stand Up NY’s very own, is an accomplished stand up comedian who performs all around the city. Since moving to New York from Boston, she’s been in various theater and TV productions, and now tours all around the East Coast! You can get a taste of her work here or stop by and see her at Stand Up NY!


Catch the next up and coming Irish-American Comedian right here at Stand Up NY! With shows every night of the week, you never know who will show up and step on stage! For future shows please purchase tickets here or make a reservation today. If you want your own opportunity to make your way into the stand up comedy world, join us for our Open Mics every weekday, Monday – Friday at 5PM. Think you’ve already got a great set going? Then check out our Bring It show every Saturday at 5PM with more info on how to sign up here.