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Abie Philbin Bowman - Comedian Without Borders
"Way beyond superficial satire... Absorbing, intricately woven, challenging and highly entertaining."– Malcolm Hay, TimeOut
Abie Philbin Bowman has been boycotted by Ian Paisley's DUP and endorsed by Osama bin Laden. He is the only Western stand-up to have performed religious, political comedy in Pakistan during the 2007 State of Emergency. On Barack Obama’s election night, Abie scooped CNN, BBC and Reuters byexclusively interviewing the Ku Klux Klan. TIME magazine describes him as ‘a rising star’.
In 2006, Abie took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm with his debut, Jesus: The Guantanamo Years. The plot was simple: “Christ returns to earth but doesn’t get through US immigration. He’s a bearded, Middle-Eastern guy, who wants to die as a martyr.” The show sold out at Edinburgh for three years running, and was reported by over 70 media outlets including Associated Press, Le Monde, The Financial Times and The New York Times. The Scotsmandubbed Abie "the face of this years' Fringe".
Jesus: The Guantanamo Years later toured London's West End, the USA and Pakistan. Released on iTunes, it entered the top ten comedy albums across Europe and in Japan. In Belfast, the show survived a bombscare and was boycotted by Ian Paisley’s DUP.
Abie’s second solo show, Eco-Friendly Jihad, suggested we could radically reduce carbon emissions by joining Al Qaeda. "Who else can save the planet from airlines, oil-companies and overpopulation?" Eco-Friendly Jihadsold out at the 2008 Galway Comedy Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. Touring was cut short when Abie was offered his own radio show.
From November 2008 to May 2009 Abie hosted the main talk show on youth station i105-107, weekdays from 1-4pm. Guests included Channel 4 News anchor, Jon Snow; Woodstock veteran, Arlo Guthrie; World Pillow Fight Champion, Carmen Monoxide; former Guantanamo inmate, Moazzam Begg; and National Membership Director of the Ku Klux Klan, Dr Travis Pierce. His show received the highest listenership on the station in its first six months on air.
2010 has been Abie’s most successful year yet. In July, the US comedy magazine, Punchline named him alongside Robin Ince & Brendon Burns as one of ‘Five UK Acts You Need to Know’. Abie spent the summer touring his new show, ‘Sex, Lies & the KKK’ to Fringe Festivals in Brighton, Los Angeles, Edinburgh & Dublin, winning awards & selling out shows. In October, he was featured on the cover of the Sunday Times Culture section as one of ‘Ireland’s Top 30 Artists Under 30’ (see Gallery). Abie was the only stand-up to make the list.
Most bizarrely, Abie’s jokes were taken seriously by Al Qaeda. In January &October, two new audiotapes from Osama bin Laden, blamed the USA for climate change. The world’s #1 terrorist was effectively advocating ‘Eco-Friendly Jihad’. Abie was the first to point out that if Al Qaeda are serious about tackling climate change, they need to stop bombing public transport.
Abie has also taught workshops and courses on the art and business side of comedy. He has previously taught courses at Trinity College Dublin, the Hollywood Fringe Festival in LA, Big Smoke Writing Factory, the Brighton Fringe, the Irish Writers Centre, University College Dublin and the Irish Centre for Talented Youth. He wrote a regular magazine column for seven years, and is a frequent contributor to Irish and British television and radio. In 2008, Abie completed a Masters in International Peace Studies at Trinity College Dublin. His thesis, on the use of comedy as a weapon of non-violent protest, was entitled ‘How many Comedians does it take to change a Government?’
“Bursting with talent... The Best Irish Stand-up Comedian under 30” – Sunday Times
“Abie Philbin Bowman deserves a comic sainthood”- The Stage
“With his rapid-fire delivery, wit and taste for paradox, he calls to mind both Swift's Modest Proposal and Robin Williams”- LA Weekly
“A distinctive comic philosopher unafraid of pushing the most sensitive buttons.”– Punchline
“Contemporary and controversial”- The Seoul Times
“If all comedy had Abie Philbin Bowman’s scope of ambition, then plenty more people might take it seriously as an art form.”- Chortle