All booked up ....Conal and his new book Wee Dan's Big Adventure
Conal Gallen has turned over a new leaf ...and about time say many of you.
However, the master of mirth isn't hanging up his joke book, his creative juices are flowing in another direction and by the looks of things, it's an exciting new step in a career that spans decades.
After having to cancel the remainder of his stand-up tour, 'The Joker', thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Donegal comedian found himself at a bit of a loss.
Not knowing when he would ever get to stand on a stage again, he decided to have a look at what he had put on “the long finger”!
He took up hobbies, such as gardening and building useless things for around the house. His son, Rory, who has worked along side his dad from the age of 12, and is also co-writer, began uploading Conal’s hilarious videos and sketches to social media.
And it certainly had a profound effect, as they have racked up over 12 million more video views on YouTube and Facebook since the beginning of the lockdowns.
As they realised that the entertainment industry was going to be in lockdown for the long haul, and that all plans for tours and filming were going to be another casualty of the coronavirus, the father and son duo decided to be productive.
“We have always been great at coming up with ideas, and putting them on the bucket list. But the entertainment business takes up so much of our time, and we never get a chance to concentrate on other projects,” says Conal.
It was at this stage he decided to turn over a new leaf, so to speak.
“That’s exactly what Covid-19 did for us. It freed up our time to work on other things.”
And what was one of those things on their bucket list?
A children’s book!
Conal and Rory spent the summer writing a book about Wee Dan Murphy. Some may have heard of Wee Dan Murphy before, as Conal has being telling stories about him for years, in his live performances.
Well, now, the writing duo have brought him to life in Wee Dan's Big Adventure.
“Covid opened the door for Wee Dan and brought him back to school. This is his second school, the first, well sort of blew up ...well I can't give too much away, you'll have to read it to find out why.
“I've been using Wee Dan for donkey's years and it was Rory who kept at me to use him in a children’s book so after 179 pages he has arrived on paper.”
It's about Wee Dan's first day at the new school, introduces a new friend, Eileen Sideways and follows many twists and turns in a story where there’s a lot going on.
The first print run has already sold out and the second is in selected stores now in Ballybofey, namely Alexanders, SuperValu supermarkets and Conkers restaurant.
“Reaction has been brilliant from adults and children which shows comedy knows no boundaries and who knows Wee Dan might expand his horizons and carry on his adventure into a second book.
“I never thought I'd write a play either but now I'm into my sixth.”
The duo have been working on it for a few months and as anyone who has seen previous offerings knows, it's non-stop comedy from start to finish.
“The new play is 40% written and has a working title of ‘Up The Pole’ and is looking very good. I can't wait to get it out on the road but as the saying goes, that's all up in the air at the moment, maybe September if everything falls into place.”
“The same goes for a book, it was never in the plan but thanks to my driving force, Rory, it has happened. He's the ideas man.”
Covid-19 has been a challenging time for everyone and in Conal's profession, many artists have had to look at new ways to stay occupied.
“March 13 was my last gig. We were just finishing up a tour with seven more sold out gigs to go and the plug was pulled. The autumn and spring tours have also been cancelled and now all hopes are pinned on a tour starting all going well next September and lasting to March or April 2022 but it all depends on how things go over the coming months.”
It will be hard to keep Conal down, Covid or no Covid, he will still entertain.
You can get the new book at any of the shops mentioned, or you can also order it via Conal's website, www.irishjoker.com.
You can also contact Conal via Facebook.
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