When I was on building sites – I started my working life on building sites as an apprentice carpenter – Australia was the dream. Everybody dreamed of going to Australia. It was the dream place to be for so many young Irish people.
Have you ever made it down here?
I was there as a kid with my family, 21 years ago, to visit my family in Perth and Sydney. I went to see Fremantle Dockers against the Richmond Tigers, that was my first experience of Aussie footy fans, that was pretty hilarious. It’s not very PG when you’re 12. I’ll never forget a guy sitting behind me, effing and blinding (f—in this, f—in that), and then after about half an hour he goes “f— this, I’m going for a beer!” And he marches down the stairs, and my first sight of him, he was wearing Fremantle Dockers underpants on the outside of his jeans, and a hat with horns on it. It was amazing.
That is the perfect way to experience Australian culture for a young Irish kid.
I remember that, and I remember Milo. I loved Milo.
Back to Love Island: you weren’t familiar with it at the start, but have you fallen for its charms since then?
Yeah, I mean I definitely went down the YouTube rabbit hole on Love Island Australia, and I feel like I got to know the characters a bit more from Season One and Season Two. I feel like they were two very different seasons, the first one there were punch-ups and everything: it reminded me of that Aussie Rules game. But the second season seemed to be the charming Australian side, and I really enjoyed a lot of the characters. I really enjoyed Adam, he came across to me like a genuine bloke. But then he fell in love with this girl Cartier, who was really religious, a born-again Christian, and my dad was a preacher so I know those types of people. I found those guys fascinating.
You say you got to know the characters. As the narrator of a show like this, is that how you see them: as characters?
I think so. I think over the course of the period when you’re spending time with them every day, you’re going to have a relationship with these characters, you’re going to have feelings towards them like every audience member would. They are characters because you’re constructing a story, but they’re also obviously human beings as well, and you definitely have to be nice as well. It’s all a bit of fun, but be nice as well.
Is it hard to be a comedian and be nice?
I find it can be hard to be nice, especially in stand-up: sometimes it can be hard to not be nasty, and to find an empathetic angle, and sometimes you have to check yourself and say, I’m just angry for angry’s sake, I’m getting an easy laugh there because I’m angry and I’m not doing anything unique there. I’ve had to change stuff in the past – that’s all part of the process of being a stand-up.
Love Island Australia premieres on Nine on Monday, October 4.