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View of Their Own Comedy Continued                           

Yet, as Foil pointed out in an interview for Motley in 2017, sometimes they do need to cut some of the Irish material, especially if it doesn’t fly well at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for it is there that their show develops and “if they’re not laughing at the Irish stuff, it gets cut.”   They've talked a lot about the confusion over the reference to a "sliced pan," in one of their early sketches.  This is evidently a term distinct to Irish culture, but others around the world have no idea what it is.   In a 2015 interview on WiredFM, Foil stated that "no one in the UK had a clue what a sliced pan was . . . they were imagining a frying pan sliced up not bread sliced.  The sketch made no sense to them."  He said that "they learned their lesson" about what people understood in the sketch and made appropriate changes when they toured the US and Australia.  


However, surprisingly one of their “fastest-growing hits to date” is the video “about Irish people not being able to speak Irish.”  FAH observed that “We speak lots of Irish in the sketch and thought we’d be alienating most of our audience, but people all over the world were loving it” (Irish Times 2019).  This video (whose proper title is: When Irish People Can’t Speak Irish) won a spot in the top ten list of favorite YouTube videos of 2019.  It came in at #3.  

FAH have also made a conscious choice not to focus a lot of attention on the political side of comedy. Though there are some sketches that they have posted on YouTube that skirt the political realm: “The World is F**ked,” (2016) or “U. S. Immigration” (2016) or “WTF is Brexit” (2016) or even the most recent two, “Brexit: Divorce” (2018) and the song “It’s Hard to Break Free From a Union (2019), the group’s consensus, according to Arms, is that “political satire” is being done by others and “there’s not that many people doing silly sketches like we’re doing, really” (University Times 2017).  In a 2019 interview Hog stated that the group is about “no message comedy” (ComedySnaps).  

Scholarly Texts & Other Books FAH are Cited

O’Connor, Rory and Dermot Crowe. Rory’s Story: My Unexpected Journey to Self-Belief. October 2, 2020 (ebook). 

Rory O’Connor is an Irish Comedian.  FAH is cited in the following passage by O’Connor about his performance in Vicar Street:


“Before my show Foil, Arms & Hog, a popular comedy sketch act were on stage and they were telling me they had done Vicar Street many times before.  I could see they were really professional and experienced and I had none of that behind me.  They told me it didn’t matter, I had filled Vicar Street. ‘They’ve come to see you. You’ve filled the place.’ That gave me great confidence.” 

Crystal, David. Let’s Talk: How English Conversation Works.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020: 185.

The context is Crystal talking about hashtags: "It has been noticed that some people who say hashtag also accompany it with a crossed fingers gesture, mimicking the graphic shape of the symbol.  This kind of non-verbal communication is a familiar strategy, often seen in face-to-face conversation when someone mimics inverted commas while saying a word by raising a hand on either side of their head, palm outward, and wiggling their first two fingers.  And it’s this combination of words and gestures that has appealed to the comedians who, very soon after the usage began to spread, pilloried it in pastiches of everyday conversation in which virtually every sentence begins with a gesture-accompanied ‘hashtag’. Here’s the opening of a skit by the Irish comedy group Foil Arms and Hog:

            ARMS: How’s it going? Hashtag greeting.

            HOG: Not too bad. How’s your weekend? Hashtag just making       conversation.

            ARMS: Ah, just went out with Niamh you know - hashtag my new hot girlfriend.

            HOG: Oh the old ball and chain, eh - hashtag it should have been me hashtag, keep it together now. . . 


And so it continues.  A year later, the same kind of parody turns up in a fast-moving conversation on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon between Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. " 


Gunning, Ellen. Public Relations: A Practical Approach. Red Globe Press, 2019: 90.


In a discussion of “Working with Videographers: A Selection Process” the author mentions FAH in passing in a somewhat strange way:


"A good videographer can explain something complex in a simple, visually attractive way. They will suggest additional locations, possible celebrity presenters and even alternative approaches to telling the story.  And witty people can take complex situations, simplify them and still manage to make utterly confusing.  Check out Foil Arms and Hog’s video about Brexit—then try to explain it to a seven-year-old."  


UNHCR: Handbook for Interpreters for Asylum Procedures, 2018: 49.


FAH is cited in an “activity” section for potential interpreter situations using two film clips, based in humor.  One is called “President Obama’s Anger Translator” and the other is:


“Never Take an Irish Person Literally” (by Foil Arms and Hog)


Then the following questions are asked for this activity concerning FAH’s sketch: What happens in the video?  What is the punch line?  What competencies would an interpreter need to have in a similar situation, i.e. what must an interpreter be able to do?

Lillo, Antonio and Terry Victor. Dictionary of English Rhyming Slang. Mouton De Gruyter, 2017.

FAH are cited 17 times in the dictionary for their one sketch, Modern Rhyming Slang (December 19, 2013).  

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