First up was Ambassador John Deady - a last-minute replacement for Harry Harron. Despite the short notice, he treated us to a lovely account of the magic of Guinness and the importance of adding the famous ingredient - Liffey water. A lasting memory will be himself eating his sandwiches in school while drinking a heady mixture of guinness, milk and sugar! Next we went to Rome with Norwegian Denise Olimb who shared her story of how she went to the Pontiff's city on a romantic weekend and found it closed. Damn snow! Martin Zdarek gave a hilarious account of what the Czech mean by being 'happy as a turtle'. True cominc genius. Canadian Maja B shared the angst her name has caused her; she left us with a memorable descriptive of a teacher: she looked like a witch and dressed like a whore. Last up, Hans Peterson entertained us with his memories of a past love - Carolina - and the things men do to get a girl to go for a coffee. Why does this sort of thing never happen to me?
Going into the second half, Maja had to choose between Best night in Budapest and How to behave on a first date. No prizes for guessing which the audience picked. After her account of speed dating, I think I'll stay well clear of it. For Denise, the audience had to choose between Why would anyone want to get to the final of the GOTG and Office injuries. They chose the latter. A soon-to-be doctor, Denise gave us an insight into how doctors feel about their patients. It explained so much - who would have thought that doctors were human,too. Hans's choices were If alcohol were invented today, would it be legal? and How to break-up. The audience was in a particularly voyeuristic mood and wanted to dirt on break-up, which is something Hans has never had to do, apparently. Instead, he gave the ladies three pieces of valuable advice. 1. Don't just disappear. 2. Don't do it by letter or e-mail. 3. Don't send your mother to do it for you. Ambassador Deady struck lucky with his choice of Hungarian Palinka. Having waxed poetically about guinness in the first half, he could now do likewise on palinka. And he did. From the jaw-locking numbness to the rubbery-leg feeling induced by the fruit brandy, he captured it all. Martin rounded off the evening with an account of How to propose badly. Advice for the men out there contemplating popping the question: don't do it on the frozen Danube!
Martin's comic genuis won the night. Watch out for this man - he's going places. He was a happy little turtle wandering home with his bottle of Tullamore Dew (kindly sponsored by GrantHill Telecomm Solutions) and his trophy (sponsored by the Fun Palace). He'll join our other finalists on 14 March at the Orfeum to see who will win the coveted title.
Thanks to Jeremy, Kath, Csilla, and Steve (our resident photographer) for their help on the night. And to Kenny and Terry at Smiley's for hosting this season's qualifying rounds. Thanks to judges Lisa, Matt, Gearoid, Rupert and Amanda. But most of all, thanks to you for braving the elements and for turning up on the night. We have tipped the 400,000 mark on the fundraising, which is gratifying to see.