Irish comic’s debut shot rips apart America’s attitude to criminal justice
This article is from 2008.
When Keith Farnan was contemplating his first hour-long show at the Fringe, he wasn’t short of advice from fellow comics. ‘I listened to everyone who had done well and those who had done badly,’ he says. ‘You learn as much from the guys who said to me “never go there” as the ones who got lucky.’
The key decision for Farnan to make was whether he should just go with a compilation hour of his finest jokes and stories or stretch the ambition with a themed show. Choosing the themed approach, his debut was never likely to be a crazy drunken pub-bet travelogue of Gorman proportions; he was destined to write from the heart.
A trained solicitor, Farnan worked as a summer intern in the US at the Innocence Project where he came across cases of wrongful imprisonment, which of course in America can mean people being put to death for a crime they were nowhere near. ‘I’ve tried to write about the subject in a way that’s funny and revealing and angry all at the same time. It’s not just some Irish guy talking about drinking; with a title like Cruel and Unusual, bring the brain because you’ll need it.’
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