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From dinnerlady to one of Manchester’s leading comics – the incredible rise of Dan Tiernan

Manchester's Dan Tiernan comedy career is skyrocketing. We sat down to chat ahead of his UK tour, and Manchester gig.
Dan Tiernan

Following the success of his sold-out Fringe run and an Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2023 Best Newcomer nomination, comedian Dan Tiernan is set to embark on his debut UK tour.

This includes a run at London’s Soho Theatre and a special one-off show at the iconic Leicester Square Theatre, as well as shows in Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

He’s 27, gay and riddled with dyspraxia.

Dan‘s had a big year, processing his younger sister’s cancer diagnosis, quitting his job as a dinner lady, going full-time in comedy, and finally moving out of his parents’ Manchester home.

Yet despite this newfound independence (and freedom to smoke weed whenever he wants), he somehow still feels that he’s going under.

Exploring everything from being desperately single to competing with his successful stepsister, and asking the poignant questions: What would happen if a dog got high?

How much military precision is needed to feed a rowdy group of Year 5’s?

And why has his tattoo-averse Mum suddenly had a change of heart?

Expect a gag-heavy, high-energy debut hour from one of the UK’s biggest rising star in comedy – Dan Tiernan is leading the pack as one of the many amazing Manchester comics.

We sat down with Dan to find out more.

Dan Tiernan

Dan Tiernan

“This is my first-ever stand-up hour, so I’m dead excited.

“It’s a bit of an amalgamation of all the work and jokes I make – a bit of a greatest hits. It’s centred around who I am and what I’ve got going on – which is a bit chaotic.

“It’s a real mix – we talk about my time as a dinner lady and the chaos surrounding that – through to my sister’s cancer diagnosis.

“I remember making a joke about it [the diagnosis], and someone burst out laughing and I was like you know what, that’s completely fair. If I can make people laugh about that, absolutely wild. I guess anything is fair game.

“It’s a real switch and juxtaposition of idiotic things and more serious things, a bit of a roller-coaster ride.”

Growing up in Didsbury

Dan grew up in Didsbury and then moved to Withington later in his life.

He always knew he wanted to be a stand-up comedian since he was 12 years old – but first took up magic as a way of entertaining.

He described himself as ‘the worst magician ever’.

After a brief stint at Subway, then as a dinner lady at Beaver Road Primary School in Manchester, he eventually turned his hand to stand up.

“It was a pretty bizarre time of my life” he added.

You can watch Dan in action below

Learning the ropes at the Frog and Bucket

After taking a stand-up comedy course at the Frog and Bucket, under the tutelage of Dave Williams, his career has gone from strength to strength.

“I honestly think Manchester is a brilliant place to be a comic. You get so many great opportunities, we’ve got brilliant places to cut your teeth.

“It’s got to be one of the best places. It’s dead-friendly, but it’s getting more and more competitive. That being said you tend to get more stage time up here.

“There’s so many brilliant comics about – which is great for people who love enjoying awesome stand-up.”

He said the Frog and Bucket Comedy course helped him learn the craft.

“It’s a bit of a boot camp. I think the best advice for anyone looking to be a stand-up, is just go out and do it. It’s a terrifying thing to face early in your career but it’s the only way.

“You get six weeks of learning some of the basics, then you do a gig in front of everyone else on the course.

“It’s a great safe environment to learn, with other comedians too.”

On the flip side of that, audiences haven’t always been friendly.

Dan had a drink thrown over him in Sheffield (where he was also threatened with a microphone stand insertion) and in a pitch-black room in Edinburgh – had 200 people heckling him with all manner of abuse – all in the dark.

“Everyone ganged up on me like I was a supply teacher – I couldn’t believe it. I was shining my phone trying to see who I was dealing with – but couldn’t see anyone. That was truly heinous.”

Dan’s career is on a huge upward trajectory, performing alongside well-established acts like Micky Flanagan (WHO AND WHO)
and said that sometimes it’s hard not to get star-struck.

“When I first started I saw all these comedians I’ve seen on the tele and was a bit star-struck. Now it’s a bit better, I think we all recognise that we’re doing the same thing – just trying to make people laugh.

“It feels right. Nearly all the comics I’ve met are dead nice and affable too.

“But you know, when it’s like Gordon Ramsay or Davina McCall it’s like oh my god, what the hell is going on here? It’s hard to get your head around how you’ve ended up here.”Dan said that there were so many decent comics around Manchester, that it’s hard to pick out a favourite.

He singled out Karl Porter, for his now-viral slo-mo celebrations, and Ben Silver, who he said deserves more recognition.

Josh Jones also got a shout-out.

When asked what Dan loved most about Manchester, he said: “There’s just a je ne sais quoi about Manchester isn’t there? We’ve got an incredible dry humour. We just crack on, laughing in the rain – It’s a beautiful thing.”

Dan Tiernan will be playing at Manchester’s incredible Frog and Bucket comedy club on 28th Feb.

You can get your tickets by clicking here

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