The Rubberbandits use comedy to deal with the saddest of issues, suicide

By Joyce Rubotham  @seoighee 

The Rubberbandits have been described as“hardcore gangster rap” in a recent review but I’ve followed their songs and videos on YouTube and wondered was there any value in such a hardcore title.

The Limerick trio, famed for comical antics performed with plastic bags over their heads, were on stage for a close to sell out gig at Vicar Street earlier this month.

Following a short support act from Dublin rapper Kojaque, Blind Boy, Mr Chrome and Willie O’DJ bounded onto the stage. These lads were in their element, so much so that it was difficult to imagine the same stage had ever been occupied by another act.

Stand-up comedy is a fickle business. You need to be in good hands to enjoy live comedy. Once you get a hint that the performer is not in control or not funny enough, it becomes awkward viewing.

With reckless, raw energy the Rubberbandits held their audience from the beginning of the show. From the start, you knew you were in capable hands and an evening of quality entertainment was ahead.

A sinister “Get rich quick” act grabbed attention as it opened the show. This storyline comfortably threaded the entire evening together like the lose stitching of a favourite jumper.

Just over half-way through the lads introduced their most famous song “Horse Outside”. They shared with us that they usually play this song at the end of a show. But on Saturday they wanted to “get it out of the way”. The audience reacted with expected delight and was livelier thereafter.

How, I wondered would they end the show on a high note, with their best-known tune now unavailable for an encore? I had little time to worry as the tunes kept coming.

With a curious level of competence, they addressed social issues such as bullying, pederasty and abortion. Tackling uncomfortable subjects using comedy as their medium the group epitomise the notion that tragedy lies at the heart of true comedy.

Using expert articulation and with endearing Limerick accents, the Rb’s laid it all out for us. Videos corresponding to each hit were shown on a large screen and the sound was clear enough that the audience could appreciate the power of their witty words.

The finale did not disappoint. Staying true to form, the show ended with a powerful song about suicide as the boys belted out the poignant lyrics of their newest hit, Sonny.

The dance-worthy beat and contagious lyrics brought everyone to their feet. The experience was indeed surreal; Saturday night spent dancing and singing to an upbeat song about suicide. This is series comedy.

Joyce Rubotham is a writer and blogger. You can follow here blog at

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