The comedian takes another satirical look at Ireland as his popular show returns for a third and final series
It’s watching people being a bit mental and there is an element to that to the Joe Duffy show
He’s the comic people hate to love — and now David McSavage is back with a third series of the wickedly funny Savage Eye.
The controversial funnyman’s latest satirical outpourings on RTE once again peer deep into the psyche of the nation, reports Robert Cox.
And as usual he takes a hilariously warped view of Joe Duffy’s Liveline show — which he believes is like an Irish version of Jerry Springer.
And while Duffy and McSavage are never likely to see eye-to-eye over the portrayal of a sadomasochistic phone-in presenter who gets off on other people’s misery, McSavage accepts that Duffy has a right to be pissed off. Last year Duffy (56) — who earned €389,314 in 2009 — revealed his distaste for the portrayal and complained about RTE allowing it to be aired.
McSavage (45) believes that Duffy was never going to like the leather clad caricature which has had the nation in stitches over the past two series — and returns for the third. “I wouldn’t have occasion to meet him, but I’d have no problem. I think I could look him in the eye,” McSavage says.
“I have to take responsibility for that. You picking at somebody’s personality, and you’re amplifying their defects. Who the f*** wants to see that? But he really took exception to it, but I thought the character was taken so far beyond who he is, that how could he be... you know?”
It is the Irish love of listening to stories of misery that McSavage is trying to lampoon, he says. He adds: “There’s something about the empathy that flows out of old Joe, I don’t know whether it’s phoney or what, but he (in character) ‘he certainly likes the misery and he really, he does be talking, he really simplifies his way of speaking.’
“And he really plays up his Dubliness and his working class, which is a load of c*** and does my head in.” I think he’s bothered because he has a much bigger listenership, much more people listen to him, and he feels like RTE should protect him from any kind of satire.
“He likes the impressions that Oliver Callan does, or Mario Rosenstock. They’re impressionists, whereas mine isn’t really an impression — I don’t know what it is.” Ironically McSavage says he likes listening to Liveline — but because he sees it as entertainment — a radio version of Jerry Springer.
He says: “In the same way Jerry Springer doesn’t even pretend to be therapy or self-help, it’s entertainment. It’s watching people being a bit mental and there is an element to that to the Joe Duffy show, where people tune in just to hear a sad story, which makes them feel better about themselves.”
Duffy isn’t the only one of RTE’s stars who McSavage has an opinion on — agreeing that his cousin Ryan Tubridy is having troubles of his own on the Late Late Show. McSavage said: “If a guy like Ronan Keating is on, it’s not like he’s a big politician or something, and he won’t ask him a question, well then he shouldn’t have them on.
“He did himself a disservice by not asking the question. I mean, who is Keating, why is he treated with such reverence?” But he reckons much of his cousin’s problems are due to the format. He said: “The Late Late show was of its time. I think it’s way past. I’m sure it’ll go on for ever anyway. These people look at the ratings, us guys on the sidelines, it doesn’t matter.”
That is a theme he adds to when discussing the relative success of his own series, which he describes as “an abject failure” in the real world. “200,000 is fuck all. In the real world, that’s an abject failure. In Ireland, it’s quite okay.” But he accepts the show has helped him out financially noting “certainly, there’s 50 per cent more people at shows after the series comes out.”
Which is welcome, because the third series he reveals was a slog: “It was a lot harder, but hopefully it will be okay. I think there’s some good sketches in the third series.” Having gone to the well three times, this series of the widely acclaimed Savage Eye will be the final one. Don’t fear though, while he says there won’t be any more Savage Eye there will, he assures us, be much more David McSavage.
The Savage Eye returns to RTE Two next Monday at 10.25pm.
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