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Wed 01-Oct-2008 9:05
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The Squinting Eye
Rash career of Cody impersonator
A certain fellow, using the stage name Maurice Ormond, had begun an unpromising career as a stand-up comedian largely based on his impersonation of Brian Cody, the Kilkenny hurling manager.
This pub entertainer began performing in pubs around Kilkenny and adjacent counties. He obviously made a study of Cody, his tones and mannerisms. He used come forward in the same kind of outfit – tracksuit and runners – as the Kilkenny manager seems to wear a good deal of his life.
He wore an exaggerated version of Cody’s baseball cap, with the peak so long his eyes were almost completely hidden from the audience. Sometimes he pretended to trip, as if he could not see where he was going. The comic had applied crimson make-up to his face, seeking to replicate Cody’s weather-beaten wine-red cheeks.
The impersonator pursed his lips to form a curved Cody-type mouth. Obviously, he had studied Cody’s Kilkenny city accent, even the special accent of The Village area of the city. He spoke his monologue in Cody’s measured, low-key way: “To be honest about it, it was a very tough match. Oh, I know we won by twenty-five points but it was a hard game. Our fellows had their work cut out to get on top”
“We were very relieved when we won the Leinster championship,” he says earnestly.
“It’s all very well to say that people were leaving in droves because we were twenty points ahead but they gave us a fierce hard game. It wasn’t an easy match by any means. All the matches in Leinster were tough for our fellows. The Bob O’Keeffe Cup isn’t won easily.”
The Bob O’Keeffe Cup must surely be one of the biggest trophies in any sport anywhere. But ‘Cody’ maintained that it didn’t at all do the provincial championship justice. It was far too small. Part of the act was, with the aid of the barman, carrying onto the performing area an enormous papier-mâché replica of the cup. It is at least three times the size of the real one, almost touching the ceiling.
The performer told what he imagined were Cody-type jokes. Some were not too clever. Others fall a bit flat when reproduced in print. An example: “I suppose people say that the players are intimidated by me. To be honest with you, that’s not true. OK – I suppose that if in a training match a player didn’t go hard enough into the tackle I might haul off and give him a good kick in the backside. But that’s all.”
“A question I’m being often asked these days is why myself and, indeed, most of the Kilkenny players begin so many sentences with the words ‘I suppose’. Some say Henry Shefflin started the trend. I suppose it’s become contagious. I suppose the most difficult thing for us to do would be to do an interview or hold a conversation without using the words ‘I suppose’.
There’s a rumour going round that the impersonator’s career came to an end out of pure meanness. He wasn’t keen on paying for make-up, especially the rouge he used to simulate Cody’s red cheeks.
Apparently, this fellow spotted a jar of dark orange powder in a disused cowshed on his mother’s farm. He thought it would do the trick, not realising it was a substance used to treat animals suffering for the scours. When he applied it in a pub in Urlingford, he felt an immediate burning sensation. He wiped it off quickly. Too late! An ugly rash began to appear. The performance was cancelled while the comic raced off to see his doctor.
His doctor could do little for him. The rash got worse. He was obliged to go to a skin-doctor in Dublin as a private patient. This dermatologist is notorious for his pompous manner and his greed; his advice and ministrations proved to be very costly. Not alone that, but the rash has not fully disappeared.
As a result, this would-be comedian has returned to tillage farming, spending a lot of time down the fields, away from the eyes of people who might look at his face and be inclined to smile if not to burst out laughing.
This story goes to show that being an entertainer is not without its pitfalls. Show-business is not for everybody.
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