Behind the laughter: You need a velvet jacket and an Alsatian in showbiz

Bobby Kerr gets 'down to business' with some of Ireland's top comics

Irish comics have been to forefront of the comedy world with the likes of Dara O Brian, Ed Byrne and Tommy Tiernan to name just a few who have flying the Irish flag for comedy both here in Ireland and around the world.

While laughter may be the best medicine, just how profitable is it for a comedian’s bank account and just how difficult is it to turn jokes into your profession? With the Vodafone Comedy Festival in the Iveagh Gardens in full-swing, we thought it world be an ideal time to look at the business angle of comedians. Bobby Kerr sat down with Al Porter, Joe Rooney and Alison Spittle.

"The lines of delineation between who you are as a performer and who you are as a business person is really difficult for a comic. I think it's one of the few creative platforms where for a long time you have to do 'the business stuff' yourself" Al Porter told us, ahead of his appearances at the festival.

For any up and coming comic there's plenty of leg-work to be done before seeing any return on your one-liners - and you'll have to spend the formative stages of your career working as a one-person operation.

Joe Rooney recalled that early in his career a friend was advised by "Joe Dolan's brother" that you need two things in show business - "a velvet jacket and an Alsatian."

"Back in the Celtic Tiger days you could be selling out venues in Letrim on a Monday night" while gigging six nights a week," he remembers. Now comics pursue 'portfolio careers' mixing gigs with voice-over and TV work when they can get it.

Alison Spittle adds that like many informal or freelance careers chasing down payments and agreeing rates can be one of the post stressful parts of the job.

"The hardest thing I found was negotiating payment. You're essentially trying to value yourself for someone and the value that you give. If you're doing comedy I find it very hard," the Westmeath native told Newstalk.

Al Porter added that not knowing when to say no to gigs can also be an issue when you are managing yourself, "I love the lights, I always say 'open the fridge and I'll give you 20 minutes'" he conceded.