Updated: Apr 17, 2022
FAH Live for a Second Night
I honestly didn't know how I would feel going into a second night of seeing FAH live on stage. Fahn friends were asking me, how do you think you'll respond, feel, react? I didn't have the foggiest idea at all. I had wanted to get to Vicar Street early, but that didn't happen because I was hanging out with the McCormack family (inside fahn knowledge here, folks, sorry about that, but just ask around and you'll figure out who I mean) at their digs in Dublin and having so much fun with them. So by the time I got there, the venue was packed once again. But I found my seat and got to talking to three strangers from Dublin who all lived together and who were all seeing FAH for the first time. They were really excited and so was I!
Could another night with FAH be the same as the first time ever seeing them? No, it was not the same, but it was no less brilliant and wonderful. It was no less hysterically funny, no less surprising and wondrous, no less insightful and sublime. What changed the night was, of course, the audience. Because this time, dear readers, there were many, many hecklers and FAH responded to every single one, adapting their humor to the moment, and responding like waves on the shore to the changing environment around them.
At the very start of the night, Arms ducked down and came right past me so that he was no more than about a few inches from me. Moving quickly, he got into place and when Foil announced the two lads at the start of the show, up popped Arms. Then we saw Hog and they were off and moving through the audience, checking people out, chatting to them, and generally trying to figure out who they would work into their sketches and into their comedy routines for the night. The use of the audience is integral to FAH's comedy as I mentioned in my last blog post and that I've also talked about before in other analytical posts, but last night it was a bit hard for FAH to find quite the right people to work with. And this is because the entire front section was filled with fahns.
FAH never pick on people they know. And as Foil said last night, they don't pick people who are volunteered by others either. The people they end up picking are the unassuming audience members who don't want to be seen or found, who don't have any intention of being involved and who, when they are picked, cringe and say things like, "Jesus Christ" and "Oh, fuck". However, as the night goes on, they rally and with the effusive support of the crowd they become part of the show!
Last night FAH started their show with the same sketch I'd seen the previous night and things got rolling along similar lines, but it is they who change things up for each other. And I would say, it is Hog who gets the ball rolling on these changes. His improvisational skills are top notch. He thinks so quickly on his feet that sometimes it is hard to keep up with everything he is doing. But last night the audience kept responding to his changes to this first sketch and, in turn, the lads had to as well. Since they're so good at reading each other's movements, looks and dynamic actions on the stage, it all seems like a walk in the park for FAH.
My favorite moments last night were when FAH laughed at each other. These are genuine moments between three friends being on the stage with each other and simply enjoying the interactive comedy. It is possible to also see the way they communicate with one another, the way they look at each other to see whether one or another of them might have crossed a line, is there too much improvisation? Have they gone too far with what they're doing on the stage? This often happens between Hog and Arms or Hog and Foil because it seems that if it was up to Hog, he would just go diving off script at every twist and turn and take the lads with him, come hell or high water.
For the "Military Captures an Actor Sketch" Hog and Arms started the sketch over again at least four times (!) because they couldn't ever quite get onto the script. It was wonderful to see their reactions to one another, their laughter, their genuine fun and mirth, their playfulness, their silliness - all of it played out in front of the audience for us to see and participate in, to laugh and to enjoy. It was never about failing or walking away from something defeated. It was not about being left behind or feeling like something went wrong in the moment. It was only about the fun and excitement of performing and seeing what the outcome of starting over might be like.
And in starting over, they also allowed the audience into the sketch itself. They let us see how they work, how they connect to one another and how they respond to each other and the audience. We're there seeing it all and living it with them and it is an absolutely joyous experience. But it was when the lads performed their "Beethoven and Barry" sketch that the audience seemed to find their own feet and the hecklers started to emerge in full force. No matter!! FAH are there to handle it all and the hecklers are just incorporated into everything that is happening - they become part of the narrative and are brought along for the ride. And as heckling goes, it really was some of the kindest and most fun I've ever heard at a comedy gig.
I won't go into the show too much here. Suffice to say that it was another incredible night, definitely different than the first, but still memorable and still very much about a community spirit of humor coupled with kindness and a genuine love of what they do up on the stage and with their audience.
I think what stayed with me the most - besides an incredible show - was the meet and greet afterwards. I finally got to meet Hog! I hope I told him that he is absolutely brilliant - I think I did (it is entirely possible to feel like you're basically blacking out and saying whatever comes to mind when you're in front of FAH) because I remember him saying thank you to me. And then, seeing my phone in hand, he said, do you want a selfie and he was so lovely and such a kind soul and took the most incredible photos of us, including Foil and Arms.
And the night didn't quite end there for me, dear reader, because I also got to talk to Mick the Merch Man - another amazing part of the FAH community. He, like the lads, is a genuinely kind and humble person who shrugs off compliments and is very happy to hear all about stories of FAH and the fahndom.
This gig experience ended in the best way possible with one of the fahns producing their guitar and singing a song they wrote especially for the lads. We all stood around in a group singing and being together, feeling the togetherness that FAH bring out in us and that we are so happy to share with them! It was definitely a different kind of night. It was not a night of firsts, but of seconds - a second time to see FAH live, a second time to be with good fahn friends, a second realization of just how brilliant FAH's comedy is and how easily they adapt to the audience and even to each other.
In a world that is very hard and that has in the recent past and even now in the present been about isolation and keeping away from people, being around FAH and their kindness and giving natures makes me feel a part of something that I've not felt in a very long time. They exude care and, dare I even say love - that is love for each other, love for comedy, love for a sense of community and a desire for others to be acknowledged and seen, love for a world that is driven by goodness and integrity. These three men epitomize all of this for their audiences and for their fahns and we in turn recognize that laughter, humor, and comedy can give us all a new lease on life, something that we definitely have needed very recently and certainly will need in the days to come.
I'll leave this blog post on a very personal note, dear readers. I was standing in line behind a whole bunch of strangers, waiting to meet FAH for a second time, when Arms saw me and his face lit up in full and happy recognition that it was me, again! In that one look, he said it all: "Hello, it is you, I know you!" And that is a very nice feeling. And it was indeed for him and for me.