Irish comic Maeve Higgins comes to play in New York (and get pregnant)

This charming writer and comedian hops the pond and gets right to work headlining the annual Craic Comedy Festival

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Maeve Higgins

Maeve Higgins Photograph: Jeannie O'Brien


Maeve Higgins has already won over many New Yorkers from her appearances in the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival and at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Now the fanciful stand-up headlines the Craic Comedy Festival—which highlights talent from the Emerald Isle—on Thursday 30. Though she’s also a perceptively silly columnist for The Irish Times and an essayist (We Have a Good Time…Don’t We?), she’s here for the jokes…and to make a baby.

What’s bringing you to New York?
Yeah, well I just got out of prison in Ireland.… No, I’m coming over for a show, and I’m just gonna live there for a while. I’ve wanted to live in New York for ages, like everybody, and now I have the opportunity to do it and do some shows there and really make it as a child star, you know?

Is it odd doing comedy in a place like New York, where people are so proud of their Irish heritage?
It’s sort of lovely to go somewhere and have this instant connection with the diaspora. We get around—I mean that in the nicest way. It’s kind of amazing, because it’s such a teeny country.

How long will you be here?
I know I’m gonna stay through the summer, anyway, and that’s all I know, really. Long enough to find a husband, or at least get pregnant. Those are my career goals. I’ve been living in London, and I’m doing a lot of writing and performing, and you can kind of do that anywhere they speak English. I’m probably going to be writing, and maybe doing other small shows in the next few months, if Carnegie Hall continues to be booked up every time I call them.

Do you have a different approach when you’re doing stand-up in different parts of the world?

Not really. My style of comedy is very personal, and I think the more personal, the more universal. So if I’m just being truthful and talking about what I think about all my experiences, then it usually resonates with people wherever they are. But I guess it would be different if I was doing political satire or talking about stuff that’s intrinsically Irish. Maybe, being Irish, it’s a bit easier, too, because there’s such a familiarity [with Irish culture].
I’ve been interested in seeing other Irish acts who’ve gone to New York. I was looking at photos of Brendan Behan when he went to New York in the ’60s He was in a play, and he was the talk of the town. I think he was drinking quite heavily at the time, but he was, like, hanging around with Mia Farrow and stuff. And I was like, Oh my God, I hope I get to hang around with Mia Farrow. [Laughs]

The 4th Annual Craic Comedy Festival is at the Irish Arts Center Thu 30.


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