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Oliver Callan

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Oliver Callan

Oliver Callan
Birth name Oliver Callan
Born (1980-12-27) 27 December 1980 (age 33)
Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Ireland
Medium Radio sketches, TV sketches, ridiculing of politicians and other public figures
Nationality Irish
Notable works and roles Nob Nation, Green Tea, "Callan's Kicks"
Website [1]

Oliver Callan (born 27 December 1980) is an Irish vocal and performance satirist and impressionist known for featuring on Nob Nation, Green Tea and The Saturday Night Show. He rose to fame during the 2000s when his daily Nob Nation slots aired on RTÉ Radio. His Green Tea creation on RTÉ Radio 1 has been described by The Irish Times as "essentially an extended version of Nob Nation".[1]

Nob Nation and Green Tea parody political, social and cultural personalities, with Callan performing as the characters featured on the show. His radio broadcasts have led to the release of regular podcasts, several CDs and appearances on prime time television programmes such as The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ One. He has also incurred the wrath of several politicians and the Kerry GAA star Paul Galvin for his impressions. He is well known in Ireland and the UK for skewering celebrities and politicians on radio.[2] His acerbic wit and talent for mimicry has made him a household name, according to the Irish Independent.[3]

Early life

Callan is from Inniskeen in County Monaghan.

Callan initially worked as a newsreader,[4] he later began to perform sketches on The Gerry Ryan Show on RTÉ 2fm.

Nob Nation

Nob Nation was reported in the Sunday Independent on 20 January 2008 as being Ireland's most popular podcast of the previous year, with figures showing a total of 736,711 downloads on RTÉ.ie between April and December 2007. Comparatively, RTÉ Radio 1's most popular[5] radio show, Morning Ireland, was second with 730,965 podcast downloads. Nob Nation was also frequently in the top five of the iTunes chart.[6]

His impersonations of Eamon Dunphy and David Norris led to a warning from the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BAI) in July 2008. The BAI deemed his impersonations "offensive to homosexuals" and said they "promoted binge drinking".[7]

Following some complaints about Callan's portrayal of Taoiseach Brian Cowen "swaying and snorting in booze-filled sing-songs about his difficulties in office", the popularity of the slot "simply exploded" according to RTÉ, with over 250,000 hits each month and making up almost a third of all downloads from RTÉ.ie.[8] Callan's portrayal of Enda Kenny as cross-dresser "Dame Enda" has drawn reactions from Fine Gael and Enda Kenny himself.[9]

The first Nob Nation CD, containing twenty of Callan's sketches,[10] was released in Ireland in November 2007. Those parodied on the compilation include politicians Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, former Republic of Ireland national football team manager Steve Staunton, broadcaster Gay Byrne and newsreaders Bryan Dobson and Colm Murray.[11] The album debuted at number five on the Irish Albums Chart ahead of Amy Winehouse and Bruce Springsteen on 9 November 2007, according to IRMA, the official chart tracking body in Ireland.[12] A second compilation, Nob Nation 2: The Recession Album, was released on 7 November 2008. Nob Nation 3 was released in the Irish Daily Mail in November 2009. The fourth compilation in the series, Nob Nation 4: The Hangover, was released on 12 December 2010 in the Irish News of the World.

In August 2010, a new website www.nobnation.com showcasing comedy videos and purportedly uncensored versions of Nob Nation podcasts appeared. A number of Sunday newspapers[which?] reported that the website features controversial depictions of Brian Cowen in a bar along with Judge Gargle, a fictional character loosely based on a high-profile Irish judge.

An 84-year-old guesthouse owner sued RTÉ over a Nob Nation sketch claiming it claimed he was running a brothel in County Waterford. His Senior Counsel warned the jury before the sketch was played to them that they might wince as, he said, it was the "most vulgar type of broadcast imaginable".[13] The court awarded €70,000 damages.[14]

Callan once rang Charlie Bird and, impersonating Enda Kenny, said there was a story about to break about Kenny buying women's underwear. Bird thought it was real.[15]

Green Tea/The Saturday Night Show

Callan now works on RTÉ Radio 1 sketch show Green Tea.[1] It features President-elect Michael D. Higgins shouting “Where's my box? Where’s my box?” before he goes to bed under his Seamus Heaney duvet and unsuccessful presidential candidate David Norris as Higgins's vice-president.[16]

In October 2011, Callan [17][18] was allegedly assaulted by Kerry GAA star Paul Galvin late at night in Kehoe's Pub, Central Dublin. Among witnesses to the alleged incident were a Government Minister, a TD, a senator and several journalists. One witness alleged Galvin called Callan a "fucking cunt".[19] Callan later described how Galvin approached him with "his eyes bulging" and looking "crazy".[20] The incident was investigated by the Garda Síochána.[21] The media speculated on the reason behind the alleged incident, reporting that Callan had recently mimicked Galvin asking Taoiseach Enda Kenny to man-up by giving him a body-wax on Green Tea[22] and that Galvin had texted Callan before an appearance on The Saturday Night Show in relation to "gay jibes" the satirist had directed at him.[23] It was eventually revealed that Galvin had complained (or not complained at all)[24] to RTÉ after what he described as "the most excruciating night of my life" at home on his sofa between his parents in Kerry watching The Saturday Night Show when Callan referred to Galvin's "years spent in the closet".[25]

Callan impersonated Galvin again on Green Tea the week after the alleged assault.[26] Callan then appeared on The Saturday Night Show for an unprecedented second consecutive week[27][28] to defend himself against accusations of homophobia.[29][30][31] He did, by announcing he was gay on live television.[32][33][34][35]

Live

Callan performed two sell-out nights live at Dublin's Olympia Theatre in January 2012.[36] Paul Galvin featured in that live show along with over fifty other characters.[37] Green Tea came to an end in April 2012, with a pilot episode of a new radio series entitled "Callan's Kicks" airing on December 28th 2012. According the Irish Independent, a full series of the new show is to broadcast on RTÉ Radio One in Spring 2013.

References

External links

  • Podcasts:
  • "Me and my money: Oliver Callan"

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