Ardal O’Hanlon Profile

Whether playing dopey Dougal in Father Ted or the most unlikely superhero since George Clooney's Batman in My Hero, Ardal O'Hanlon is definitely one of the funniest things to come out of Ireland since, well, ever.

Ardal O’Hanlon

Born in 1965, Ardal is the son of an Irish politician and doctor and named, if you believe him, after a Norwegian village famous for an aluminium plant which caused a mass outbreak of Alzheimer's. It's surprising just how unlike his Father Ted counterpart he is - not only is Ardal a bit posh but he has a degree in communications. Quite impressive, considering Father Dougal struggled with dressing himself.

With a background like that, it never seemed that Ardal would be destined for comedy greatness and considering there wasn't much going in the way of a comedy scene in Dublin the odds were stacked against him from the start. Luckily Ardal, with some help from mates, set up the International Comedy Cellar and got busy changing that status quo. Interestingly, Dylan Moran saw him performing at the Cellar and decided to have a crack at comedy himself, creating another Dave Icon in the process. Cheers for that Ardal – two for the price of one!

In 1994, Ardal won the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition before landing himself the role of Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted, alongside Dermot Morgan, and the rest as they say, is history.

Of course there's more to Ardal than cloth-brained clergymen – with a CV including voicework on Robbie the Reindeer and appeared in an episode of Who's Line is it Anyway? among a number of quirky highlights. Proving he's a bit of an acting legend too, Ardal played a weird feline alien type thing in an episode of Doctor Who, and a creepy teacher in an episode of Skins. Though of course there's no doubt it was his time as Dougal which made us clutch him to our priest-crushing bosom. Playing the dense but lovable character, who admits to knowing more about Star Wars than he does about the Catholic religion, he became a cult favourite with his innocent charm and love of roller-blading. He may not have been able to tell the difference between the size of a real cow, far away and a toy cow, close-up but he was certainly an adorable eejit.

Of course we can't forget his role as Thermoman in long-running series My Hero, either. He played George Sunday who was actually a super hero from the planet Ultron, trying to live an inconspicuous life on earth. As you do. Ardal admitted the costume took ten minutes to get into and that he hated having to wear a thong under it, which, with us at Dave being sadists and all, makes the show seem even funnier. Sorry Ardal!

These days you can still catch Ardal performing his hilarious stand-up, continuing to make packed houses laugh themselves silly as he effortlessly sells out arenas. Known for jokes about being Irish, drinking, embarrassment and making hilarious observations about, well, everything, Ardal has cemented himself a place among the comedy greats. Gems like this antecdote about making friends with a flight attendant, "She said, 'Where are you from?' And I said I was Irish. And she said to me, 'Oh you're Irish, are you? You'll be needing this.' And she left the drinks trolley down beside me."

On top of all the funnies he's also a serious novelist, with his book The Talk of the Town, which is set in Ireland (of course), displaying the sharp intelligence which . If you don't believe us, it was in the bestseller lists for six months and is on the 1001 books you must read before you die. We're not sure we like the threat implied in that list, to be honest. The long and short of it is he's funnier than putting Jedward in a blender. Now all together, "My lovely horse…."

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