Conor (right) with Mercedes F1 driver George Russell, in a still from a video sketch.

'Everything abroad is amazing but nothing beats doing stuff at home'

Moore will tweak act for home town show

You can take the man out of Mullingar, but with Conor Moore, at least, it seems that it’s a lot harder to extricate Mullingar out of the man.

Conor has become a firm favourite with sports fans in Ireland and across the globe thanks to his razor sharp and frequently hilarious impressions of some of the leading figures from the worlds of football, golf, GAA and most recently Formula 1.

He has carved out a successful career on both sides of the Atlantic by tapping into people’s love of sports and comedy and merging the two. In the process, he has almost single-handedly created his own sub genre and others are now following suit.

In December, his career moved up another gear when he signed with Creative Artist Agency CAA, one of the biggest and most prestigious talent agencies in the world and which the boasts the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Beyoncé on its star studded roster.

However, despite the many “pinch me moments” he has experienced in recent years in the UK and America, he says the highlight of his career so far was when he played to a sold-out audience in Vicar Street last September.

“It was amazing. After the Monday night in Vicar Street, I remember saying that I didn’t know if I’d ever get a buzz like that again. There is an eleven hundred capacity in Vicar Street and there was a good contingent from Mullingar that night.

“I just felt that every laugh was louder. Every roar was more raucous. There was something just bigger. There was a chemistry there that night. I remember coming off the stage and thinking ‘wow’.

“People talk about a comedown for comedians and I always said I never get one, but the next day I was talking to my wife, saying: I’m thinking that could have been my peak.

“Everything abroad is amazing but nothing beats doing stuff at home. Your family are there, your friends are there. Even in terms of content, I would find that I enjoy doing the GAA and the Irish comedy stuff more than doing anything else. Just because I grew up with it. The other stuff I enjoy immensely as well.”

Conor’s career has been on an upward trajectory since 2016 when a video shared by Liverpool legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher went viral. Had Carragher not shared the video, Conor could be leading a very different life today, he says.

“I was getting close to going back to my job again, because I was like maybe this won’t happen. Then I woke up one morning and Jamie Carragher had re-Tweeted one of my videos and it just blew up.

“ then rang me and asked if I wanted to go with them. At the start I was finding my feet. Spring of the following year, I started getting good numbers and it built my confidence.

“I started doing Ger Loughnane a bit more. Everyone loved Ger. He was just one of those characters, a bit like Poulter in golf. They are easy to write content for. There are some guys and they are hard to write content for and there are others that are easy. Ger Loughnane was that guy in GAA and José Mourinho was my guy in soccer and Ian Poulter was my guy in golf. You always need someone.”

He might make it look easy, bit Conor puts a lot of work into perfecting his impressions, as well as a huge amount of time keeping up to date with the latest sports news.

It’s time consuming, but there’s nothing else he’d rather be doing, he says.

“You have to know five or 10 times more than the ordinary person. I find that even if you don’t do a video over a weekend, you might write stuff down about something that was said. If you are just watching it, relaxing, you’ll find it hard to write content then and you might struggle.

“Some Sundays there could be a great match on, Man City could be playing Liverpool, the PGA Tour could be on Sky Sports as well and there could be a Formula 1 race on. Literally you’ve got the iPad going, the phone going and the TV going. You are watching three different things trying to keep on top of the whole lot of them.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. But sometimes I am watching all that sport, I’m sitting on the couch and my wife looks at me. I say, ‘What? I’m working’, and just laugh.

“Every day I am switching between all the different sports and then listening to the different podcasts and there are so many of them. The thing is, I enjoy it. I am really interested in it.

“Some people ask me to do different sports and I have got offers from tennis and hockey in America. I haven’t gone near them because I am not interested in them. With Formula 1, I had to question whether I would really get into it and I did. I already feel like I love it. I love golf. I love soccer and I have loved GAA all my life.

“I find that if I am not interested in it, then there is no point. For me it is all about following it and keeping on top of what’s happening. That’s where you find all the gags. That’s where you get the content from, analysing things, and if you don’t have the interest, you just won’t do it as well as you can.”

Conor’s impressions of President Michael D Higgins, Tommy Tiernan, the Healy-Rae brothers and others go down well with Irish audiences, but the year-round coverage of top level sport means it is much easier to mine for material than in the worlds of politics and entertainment. People are also often more passionate about their favourite teams and players than about politicians and entertainers.

Some of his best and most popular videos last year featured impressions of the golfers who left the PGA tour to join the lucrative LIV Golf tour, which is funded by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

The players who jumped ship received widespread criticism, from inside and outside the sport, for signing up for a tour funded by a repressive regime. In his videos Conor poked fun at some of the ludicrous explanations that many players gave when asked why they joined LIV. He admits he wasn’t sure how some of the material would go down with the LIV golfers, some of whom he now knows.

“There was a lot of outrage on social media and the lads came out and said they were doing it for certain reasons, when all of us know that they, like a lot of people in life, do things for money,” Conor says.

“I remember G Mac [Graeme McDowell] sent me a message saying it was really funny. I was a little bit apprehensive. I posted a few videos taking the mick out of them because the interviews were so funny. People were asking them really difficult questions and they were coming out with all these answers. It’s just my opinion but if the boys could have been completely honest, they would have said I’m going because I am getting very well paid to go.

“I thought that Poulter might have fallen out with me for taking too much of the mick out of him, but they just thought it was hilarious. Some of them genuinely like the idea of playing a bit less but I think, fundamentally it’s underpinned by the few quid.

“In a way, you’d feel bad for the PGA Tour because how do you compete with that. I have a great relationship with the PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, and it is tough to compete with another competitor with an unlimited amount of funds. I do think in the end that they will have to sort something out and come together, but in the meantime I will have a lot of fun making videos about it.”

When it comes to creating material, Conor says “there is a line there between having the craic and doing an impersonation and actually maybe taking the mick out of them too much”.

“I try to not go over that line. Sometimes it may happen but the intention is not to do that. These are real human beings. It’s great when I enjoy doing it, people enjoy watching it and the person I’m doing enjoys it too. Then everyone is winning.

“For me, the vast majority of my impersonations are done from a spirit of affection. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery in a sense. So guys that I can’t do will come up to me and say ‘Why haven’t you done me?.’

“I just to try do it all in good spirit so that when you are posting something, you don’t feel like you are kicking someone.

“It’s always about weighing it up and trying to do your best. There will come a time, like everyone, where you do something wrong because you might have crossed a line and I’ll take a battering for it, but that comes with job.”

As committed as he is to his craft, Conor has plenty of outside interests to keep him occupied when he isn’t busy making people laugh.

In November, he and wife Fiona celebrated their first wedding anniversary and the couple are currently building a house at Tudenham, beside near his father Tom’s home.

“At the minute, I am a bit all over the place,” he said when asked where he is based. “It was nice I got a break during Covid. One of the positives [from the pandemic] was that I was doing everything from my home in Dublin.

“Weighing it up, I was like ‘Where do I want to get a house?’ and I just wanted to get it down here. The great thing about my work is that a lot of it is online. I don’t have to be any one place. It doesn’t matter where I love. I have to be close enough to an airport and Mullingar is an hour from an airport. I can be gone for weeks or months at a time. Next year, you don’t know what opportunities might come or where you might be, but the plan is to settle in Mullingar at some stage.”

Conor is also a partner in The Westbury NYC, a pub in the heart of Manhattan. After a challenging first year, 2022 was a good one for The Westbury, which is becoming a must-visit destination for Westmeath people holidaying in New York.

“The Westbury is going great,” Conor says. “We really bounced back. We had a tough year when we opened up with Covid. This year [2022] it has bounced back really well.

“The Katie Taylor fight around Paddy’s Day was a huge boost for us. We had a great weekend, with all the Irish people coming over, and then it just kind of sustained its business over the last couple of months.

“The winter is always very good in New York. It is more of a winter place. In the summer a lot of people are out of the city.

“There are plenty of visitors from Mullingar as well. I get a message at least once a week from someone in Mullingar who has dropped in when they are over there.”

Conor is bringing his critically acclaimed show, Conor Sketches Live, to Mullingar Arts Centre next month for a three-night run (February 24-26).

The tickets for the three shows sold out within days and Conor says that he “can’t wait” to bring the curtain down on his first tour in front of his home town audience. He has tailored his material accordingly and spent Christmas getting up to speed with all the local gossip and news from his friends.

“I purposefully put it at the end of the tour because anyone will tell you that a live show gets better and better as you go along. My show from the first night in Kilkenny to the last night in Vicar Street [at the end of the first half of the tour] was maybe 30 per cent different and has improved quite a bit. You figure out what went well and what didn’t. You cut out what doesn’t work.

“Hopefully, by the time I get to Mullingar, it’s so refined that I’ll feel that I’m giving people the best gig.

“The gig will be a little bit different. I will probably change it up quite a bit and make it more personal for Mullingar.”