I'm Daryn Gary, and you're listening to the laughs of your Life, the podcast where I talk to influential people about laughter from their first memories of laughter to feeling left out to the person they always laugh with. No, I did.
I said I said loads of lovely things. I love you.
I said, don't take it personally, but don't. And now I like they both have very different senses of humor. Now, Nell thinks she's funnier than she is. But that's what I find funny about her, is that she laugh at her own jokes ridiculously, and that makes me laugh. But she thinks I'm laughing at her for being funny, which I'm sorry to say normally isn't the case.
Emmy nominated actor, star of Normal People and Proud Irishman Paul Mesko is my guest. This week. He talks to me about his tight knit family, his love of music and dealing with global fame while stuck in his London flat. I hope you enjoy.
Paul, Michael, you are extremely welcome to the last of your life. Thank you very much for having me.
I've just cut across the production side. Well, I mean, it's obvious you haven't listened to the podcast, but that's OK, because I do that in every episode. Where where is where in the world are you right now?
I'm in London and my flat in London. And you've been there for the most part since since all of that?
Pretty much, yes, since March. And then I got home to open for business for about a month to see family and then to come back for work.
How has it been as in London? I'm not going to ask you about the madness of fame just yet, because I'm sure that will come up later. But how has locked and all that been for you?
Lockdown has been like as I think it has been forever, like a load of different things. The start was kind of a nice break and then it became a really long break, became stressful.
And yeah, I have complicated feelings towards that because it's been positive in a sense, because it has slowed everything down. And then on the other side of things, it's probably slowed things down too much, just personally speaking. But I'm. Yeah, I'm I'm ready for it to be done, as I think everyone else is, but just trying to be as patient as like I know I was isn't the Daisy Jones on Elizabeth Days podcast. And she was talking about the madness of of the fame, you know, in your bedroom.
And, you know, her flatmates just being like this is really weird.
It actually for a lot of it, I was in London by myself because my flatmate went home to Ireland kind of at the start of it, which was really weird for some kind of spent that length of time by myself, especially when everything was kind of kicking off, but actually really useful, like going from Zemko to call and kind of promoting the show, but having that kind of time to yourself to kind of decompress, you know, like life is just fucking great at the moment.
And then having time to acknowledge that was really useful. And then everybody came back and we were able to I was able to see people. Yes, that's a positive. Yeah.
Speaking of your flatmates, is do you still live within Diamont?
Yes. Yes, I do. And Oshin, my friend. Yeah.
Fun fact. I was actually in a play with Endemol and one time that's my. Oh really. Well it was of late. It was a real magic.
Am I. Oh God. It was like they basically raked in about 30 students from the Gaiety School of Acting and from drama and theatre series GITTI. And we we were just extras like we just walked in and I was in my costumes.
But India actually had, I think, a sentence to say, yes, we were all like, oh my God, India like has a line and so never let anyone know otherwise.
OK, Paul, let's start with these questions about laughter.
Yes. Paul Mesko, your first memory of laughter.
My first memory of laughter is I remember my dad watching very highbrow because watching Dumb and Dumber when I was too young to understand the humour of it, I remember seeing him am kind of like viciously laugh at him.
I can't even remember what was on the television, but I remember. I remember being deeply satisfied by seeing, like your dad, who you see being your dad 90 percent of the time, and then it's been kind of doubled over laughing and to see that what he was watching on television was able to kind of elicit that response. But I remember being so deeply confused by the situation, but laughing and the like. But that's my first memory. Laughter.
I can't remember what age I was. But yeah, that was my first memory of it, was it was life in your house like you are.
So there was three of you now who we've all come to. Yes, I knew it was the brother that you don't talk about.
Is that my older brother who I love equally, but his name is I've forgotten his name, but got my mom and my other my other dad are off to a flyer where we're absolutely flying.
And so what does Donica do studying hate your management in. Did you say brilliant rugby player? He's like the donica my mom always described as a fixer, which isn't a job, but it always when we were growing up, he'd be the person to, like, find things that went missing or he would fix kind of family. He's a very like he's very charming and charismatic in the family dynamic that he'd be the person that like if things are stressed or cross, he will he understands the kind of edge of what's appropriate and not appropriate to say enough for it to be controversial, but just enough to make my mom laugh or like give out to him.
But you see the kind of sides of our lives kind of turn into something very good, a kind of judging things, and just these very, very charismatic, very fun person to be around. He's definitely the probably the funniest out of all of us growing up was we like very not not necessarily economically, but in terms of support, we are very privileged. Growing up, we were able to kind of play as much sport as we wanted to.
We could. It's like we like we are grown into things like piano lessons because we were like born in the Celtic Tiger and then went into a recession. So like, let's do a fucking piano, whereas none of us had shown an interest in it before. But we were driven around the country to go and play matches. And when I decided I want to get into the kind of drama side of things, I was drawn so driven up and down to order for it to kind of rehearse for musicals and things.
And I'm so in terms of that site and in terms of being able to go after what we want to do, I would say and I could speak about that as well. Very, very privileged in that sense. I would come from a similar family where you are encouraged because I like this people, you go to school with an Ireland and their parents don't have value in that, or they do. They go, no, it needs to be a primary teaching or it needs to be medicine or it needs to be law.
And that's it. And so to to be from a family that encourages that, it's it's everything, you know.
And and it's also it's the sense that we weren't necessarily brought up in a particularly creative sense, like we never went and did drama or anything like that. But I think what my parents are amazing at is kind of stepping off when they need to in terms of just allowing us find that we want to do and when we do feel like we found it. So they were just really, really support and it's kind of like I find the degree of support that they give so intimidating because it's like what I would eventually probably demand of myself.
And I don't know if I have this in me in terms of it's just so the time that they have put into us is something that I will forever be grateful for. Like, I'm only one of their children and they do the same for Domecq and OK, for the first time you felt laughed at first time on.
So some of that laughter was probably I blame my mom for this was to do with my communion outfits.
I need to describe my community. And it was a disgusting cream.
No, with a green t shirt underneath, like the color palette was atrocious. And then these kind of wrangler boots. And I remember like the lads wearing like a cool Ben Sherman shirt or like dressed like communion boys and little like nice dark colored. I came in cream and a green t shirt and wrangler and I remember one of the less than white white boys. The color of your trousers is the same as some of the girls.
And I remember the first being so confused by the statement because they were green and white are very different colors in my mind.
But then I felt I felt left. And of course, at that age, if somebody says that one of the guys has a comment like that, that's funny.
Like, I remember having a blazing row with my mom and the kind of like, did you wear cream? All the lads were made. Why do you make them? Yeah. Laughter Oh, I think at that age, like your the your currency, the cool guy changes with what's your latest pair of runners are one football team is support. It's kind of a it's less of a permanent thing I think.
What was secondary school. You like secondary school.
Me was. I found the thought of going to secondary school quite daunting, like I found those transitions like primary school to secondary secondary to college, remember being quite nervous for both of those kind of changes, because I like structure. I like kind of getting used to something and then knowing that I know I do exist within that. I know what it looks like. I find the kind of prospect of like going from classroom to classroom, being in a class or being in a year of one hundred and eighty people, or just me not being in a kind of bubble of 30 people.
And that kind of daunting. But I found I really enjoyed secondary school. I had great friends. I really liked my peer group and I loved playing sport and school. There was a really I went to Minutos primary and I was just amazing teachers is amazing kind of programs put in place. It's a public school.
But yeah, I love that you start to feel like more of an adult towards the end of this.
And I like being treated like an adult and kind of and the feeling of you're responsible for yourself the further you get along through. And I know I really like it.
Are there people who from, say, your teenage years or your childhood or whatever who have reached out to you?
Like, I think Irish people who become the level of fame is that that has been bestowed on you fairly overnight. You kind of I think it's an Irish thing where your your you remember or you have it in the back of your mind. Oh, God likes Scarlet for me. If the lads I went to school with think I'm getting ahead of myself, you know what I mean?
I think it's like, do you do you have that?
I, I totally understand that, but I don't feel that because I don't think I think that can sometimes be maybe. And negative thing like, yeah, there's negative connotations to that, that like I think I love being Irish and I love Irish people, but I think sometimes there can be a little bit of and I haven't felt this, but there can be a kind of bitterness. It's like we like to see them do well. But when they get past a certain point, they automatically become egotistical and kind of above themselves.
And my friends from school and my friends from home will like they I treat them and they treat me the same way as as we did before. And that probably we don't get to communicate as often as as we did before. But I think that's just the nature of the game at the moment until I kind of get to grips with what my life is for the next while. But there was no like that's kind of a statement that I'm allergic to is kind of like, oh, and don't you remember us?
No. Oh, yeah. Yeah. When I'm like I told you before, I haven't heard that, especially from people that I genuinely consider. Yeah. Friends. But I have a really positive experience in that sense from people reaching out who we could have been mastering the week before about something else. And then the show comes out and it's a continuation rather than a drop in. And I think I'm lucky that that's not always the case.
OK, Paul, the moment if you if you the moment if you didn't laugh at the right moment.
If I didn't cry, what was my answer for this phone cry? You were allowed to have notes if you wanted them. I mean. Oh I know.
But I didn't try to learn my lines. It didn't laugh. Oh this is it.
I was in drama school and me and my friend Charlie, we get the train I was in first year, still living in Minnesota at the time and you get the train from Paris train. And I remember we were rehearsing for a play.
We were rehearsing for like Old Tales from the Vienna.
We were just we were in a scene together. We were just shit that day, nothing was going right. We got a bit of a scolding for just not being good at their jobs. I remember at that point it was all kind of tenuous because I had no prior experience. I was like going to try out this acting thing. I was a year into it and everything just felt a little bit brittle in the sense that I wasn't able to take.
And it was never like we had we had the most amazing, awesome teacher, Hillary, who challenged us in the most amazing way. But at that point, I didn't have the confidence to take the criticism or see it as constructive. And I remember walking to the train station and getting a brownie and, you know, that center besides pastries. Yeah, they have a deceptively amazing bakery section where they do like great comfort food so they can go in and get a brownie.
And I went outside and Charlie hadn't spoken about the whole thing because we were just got we were like, know what's going to be able to do that?
And it's just like biting into the brownie started lashing rain and we both just started pissing ourselves. But it was so on the edge of like, we're laughing now, but I don't know if I'm going to go into college in the morning.
And I'm like for anyone who maybe doesn't know what actor training is like, it is nothing like college is for most people. It's up at the crack of dawn. It's in your fresh you're ready to roll around the floor or no. You know, three monologues in a row like I didn't do. My sister did it. I actually I'm sorry. I just need to drop this in here. I auditioned for the Lear and I got in and my parents wouldn't let me do it.
And I know I said earlier on that they let me do these things, but basically I was two years into drama and theater studies. So they were like, no, you're not leaving your course. You've done two years. So I, I feel about that.
I'm going to interview you know, I didn't talk to them for like two months. I, I was like, I actually can't believe you're doing this to me. But I just then went back to drama theaters reason I had two years left when I was like, I just need to throw myself into this and I did it anyway.
Whatever do you have any resentment towards? I thought because I think that's such I'm like that's like that's going to be like obviously everything's going amazingly now. But in terms of like I probably felt like a big ship. Yeah.
Massive. Yeah. No I'm fine now cause things have worked out great. And I found I think if I hadn't found my path I probably would have held onto it, but I just, I just made it work in another way and, and it is working out so it's fine. But I don't think I was ever destined. Like when I got into there, I was like, perfect, I'll do the Lear and then Oscar within three years.
It's ideal for books. No, it's all good now. It's all good. We're fine. We're good boys. Yeah. Sorry. What I was saying was it's not your normal college experience. It's intense and it's it's full on and it's kind of you have to be ready for that, that criticism and you're almost kind of stripped of all you think you know about acting or drama or whatever. But did you love that?
You know, I like and to be honest, like I had heard of kind of like horror stories of people going to drama school in London where they basically like. Personally attacked you and tried to strip you of all, like all of you, essentially, and just kind of rebuild you and. That's not the way the law operates. It's a far more it's far more holistic. It's far more attentive to the fact that we are not robots, we're human beings who have feelings, and also that you come into college with a certain set of skills that are unique to you and they're important to enhance rather than strip away.
And like, you got things weirdy that you're good at going in there and it's important to hold onto them rather than strip everything away, essentially trying to say. But yeah, but even at that, there is moments when you need to be called out because it's a very competitive industry. And I feel like it's an industry that's so incredibly talented people of all levels. And I think the only thing that really separates people is look and how hard you're willing to work.
And it was moments like that when I think what upset me about that conversation was the fact that what had been what I'd been called out on was the fact that I wasn't prepared enough. And that wouldn't be something that I would normally. Yeah, typically be.
I don't like to be underprepared. And it was the fact that Hillary so wonderfully called us out on us and we walked away and a like I just felt seen in a way that I wasn't going to like. I knew from that moment I was going to be able to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.
And then I kind of just like promised that, like, regardless of whether the acting or anything is good, I've tried to be as prepared as I can be at every at any given moment.
The years or the classes in acting and drama school are really small. And usually every year there will be a bit of a buzz. You know, when there's a showcase will be a buzz there. There'll be talk or mutterings around the people who are graduating and the ones who might potentially do really well. I know you're probably going to enter this and say, oh, no, no, but genuinely. Did you feel when you were leaving college that there was a chance?
Not I don't think you I don't think anyone could have anticipated what's happened for you and what you've made happen.
But did you did you feel OK?
I think now I probably have. I have a good shot out of the people in my ear. And I know that's that's not a slight on the people in your year. It's just. Did you did you get.
No, I totally understand what you're saying. Yeah. I feel like it's kind of there's loads of facets to that answer because I found I loved drama school. I'm like I had a really great time. And I was also something that I really needed. I had no kind of experience on stage by doing musicals. But I know experience straight acting or anything like that. So I needed that time to figure out how to actually do it and how to make us or try to make a living out of it and try to be like try to have the confidence of myself to go.
Like this is the thing that I love and I want to be able to pay my bills. But that's the idea.
And then I had my first kind of thinking towards the kind of possibility of that was I met my agent, Larra, who I'm still with now, the Christmas and Purger. And and she was she's an amazing agent.
And she she works in the big agency in London. And I remember being like, oh, even if this doesn't pass. It gave me a kind of boost of confidence to know that, oh, somebody thinks that I'm good, who isn't my teacher, who isn't somebody who I have a direct relationship with. Somebody independently came in to watch the show and liked what I did. And then that kind of I left drama school kind of a month, I think early to do my first play, but like everything I think of is to kind of bring it back because you never anticipate anything other than the next thing that is happening to you.
I don't think like everything's relative. Everybody's. I still feel the same level of stress now that I felt when I was leaving drama school, because stress is is I think stress is relative because it's it's in relation to the events that are happening to, you know, and.
So, yeah, I felt I felt I felt in a really good position, I felt like I'd learned a lot from the training and I was as much as I loved those very much ready to leave. And I think that's a sign of that good training that they kind of leave you at that moment being like, OK, go try spread your wings and fly.
Spread your wings and fly.
OK, Paul, you're no laughing matter moment in life. This is often the hardest because it kind of ties back to the fact that I have had a very privileged life emotionally in terms of. I feel very supported by my family. I. I have professionally, things have gone well for me today, but I feel that it's probably due to the recent months of which I'm aware it's such a small thing in the grand scheme of things. But again, it's related to the fact that my family have been such a big time and such a big support of me that not being able to actively share for them not to be present when a big phone call happens or when.
Nominations come through, things like that, and you're on a phone call to them and that connection quotes because the Wi-Fi is shared and everything just feels like it's tiny, things like that. But it's not being able to kind of share the immediate excitement of it all with the people that have supported you and will continue to support you from that.
But also, it's kind of a positive thing, because I think given the circumstance, the kind of reaffirms or kind of reemphasizes what's important to me are the values that I want. Excuse me, to protect.
Yeah, like I mean, I've seen the model she said before.
She was like, there's no handbook for fame.
No one has a clue how to do it or how to deal with it or like those those big moments. No one knows really how to do it right. So, like, I think you and and Daisy and other people in the show were mainly you guys.
No one will ever experience fame in that way. I think ever again, maybe they will. If there's another pandemic, please have another one.
That's odd. But like Dudnik, it's a relationship. Pandemic.
It's where it's to not have yet to not have your your nearest and dearest, the ones, your absolute rock people there to, to just be your soundboards or you're like, yeah, but it sounds like literally such a first world problem that I'm aware of.
No it's not, it's not that it's it doesn't feel like that to me, but I'm aware.
But it's not it. But it's not a problem. It's just a thing. It's not you're not saying it's a problem. It's just my heart and. Yeah. And there's no one else really who has dealt with this the way you guys have.
And so I don't know.
I think it's amazing the way you both have and the way you've just like ridden the wave. And I think you're both just on to something unbelievable. It's just that the only way is up for you both. How is she?
Actually, you guys seem to be genuinely great friends. It's all.
And I know I just feel like I was hoping you'd be like that. She's a bit. I don't know. I don't know.
No, I adore I adore Daisy. It's nice considering the fact that, like when and we were kind of in the midst of the kind of campaign for the show, there was we were in the mid to like like strict lockdown. So we didn't see each other. But kind of in this setting, I'm Zoom's and we would it got to the point where we would like going on to Zoom's and like forget to acknowledge each other just because we were literally going for fifteen minutes and the whole way along.
And then we call each other at the end of the day and be like, oh my God, but we just be so exhausted. Whereas now it's kind of everything's going back to normal.
We're able to actually I think I remember seeing her for the first time after it happened and it was like we were both aware because we were both experiencing the same thing at the same time of. Baho. Weird or how dramatically our lives had shifted between the last two times we've seen each other, like we saw each other in person, say, before the show came out, and then suddenly we were thinking about where we could go, that we wouldn't be photographed or where we go.
The people like, you know, and it's and that's like only a temporary thing in terms of, like, people lose interest in those things very quickly. But, I mean, in the sense that, like. You feel like a dickhead even considering that, but it's also something you want to do, those things to protect your friendship and to and to. Yeah, it was just so nice seeing and being able to see her more and more since the shows come out.
OK, Paul, the person you always laugh. Yes, my sister.
You can't say that again. What about John Guy? No, I did. I said I said loads of lovely things. But like I said, don't take it personally but don't.
And now it's like they both have very different senses of humor. No one else thinks she's funnier than she is. But that's what I find funny about her, that she laugh at her own jokes ridiculously, and that makes me laugh. But she thinks I'm laughing at her for being funny, which I'm sorry to say now normally isn't the case.
It's my family in general, like my mom presents, as my mom does, this thing where if I tell her something that's going on in my life, she'll do that.
I don't know how I describe it, but it drives like a lot of things.
That is like I have a meeting with X or someone at Chewco and she does this sharp inhale. And you can just hear in the background be like, Mom, would you ever just fucking stop doing this?
That is very like he's bold. Like Sonic is like always on the edge. And I like kind of like family dinners for us are normally very pleasant to begin with.
Then politics is brought up like a kind of topic of conversation, a real shouting and roaring of each other.
And somebody's going to bed early, normally by Bob, and know that the point where whenever we talk about something big or. Yeah, politics or something going on in the world occurs here we are talking about something.
I can't remember what it was, but she was so frustrated about what was happening and she's trying to articulate her points and she just started bawling, crying, you know, that she's that.
But then she'll be bawling, growing and laughing at herself or crying. And I think my dad is probably the funniest out of us all in terms of classically funny. He's got a he tells good jokes and he's kind of caustic and his humor and but I laugh most of it now because it's the kind of thing that tickles me the most, somebody who thinks they're really funny but laughs viciously at themselves.
Got you on it like this. OK, right. OK.
A time where you had the last laugh.
It's always that thing with a job that any job that you're going for, regardless of how it ends, like whatever ends up coming in from your agent afterwards, it's always that one. There's always that kind of immediacy.
Like it's a weird, all encompassing desire that you have to play this thing, even though you've read it about 40 minutes ago, you feel best to do this unless it's like it makes it a lot easier if, say, one of your friends ends up doing and you're like, oh, I like that person, that is a good thing that they're playing.
But I'm slightly resentful for the fact that they are.
But it does take it a little bit better. But when it's somebody that you don't know or you're acting them, that's a joke. I don't have an acting on entertainment, but I need to think about a specific moment where I have the last laugh. I genuinely can't think of one look. That's fine.
We'll just totally destroying.
You're the first person in the history of the Bobcats to do that, but don't feel bad about it.
It's for the benefit of the viewers. I'm holding my hands up in the air. Delighted by that.
OK, I know you talked about in the Jetsons. This is this is this is the time that I got the last laugh when I decided prior to the fact that I was going to have and I'm so glad.
Oh, it's like a laugh inception. OK, I got you. Exactly. OK, sorry I don't have one. That's all good. OK people.
If laughter wasn't the best medicine, what would be. I have an addiction to like a cold bottle of coke that would be that. Like I think that could cure everything for me. Definitely.
I always have like a coke in the fridge to you that if I'm feeling down like sometimes I drink it first thing in the morning. No.
Yeah, like ah definitely. If I'm hungover like first thing in the morning, you're you're a rockstar now.
No, it's not good. Yeah, it's rock stars. I used to not drink coke from the fridge before.
All of these are good, but now I can't get enough and hook it to my veins.
I have Coca-Cola and I have difficulty.
Oh, my God. Please do an episode of Cribs. And if you don't have Coke in the fridge, I'll be fuming.
OK. Oh Jesus.
I thought you were going to say music, Paul, because you do love your music.
I do love my music and. Oh yeah. That's one way better answer. Yeah. Like oh that discover weekly section of a podcast of Spotify, you know, in a curated playlist where you start to week of today's Monday. So there's been an update of Spotify weekly. So I'm a happy, happy camper today.
So that's your medicine. That's my medicine on like, OK, stunning, absolutely stunning. Are you ready for your quickfire end? Yes.
OK, Paul, the actor, you always laugh at Jim Carrey, the comedian.
You always laugh it off. This is not quickfire. Now, another comedian, I was laughing. Oh, what's the actor who played? My dad is obsessed with them.
And I'm so sorry. I can't remember his name.
It's good. Will hunting Robin Williams. Robin Williams.
Sorry, I don't do well under pressure.
OK, quick by the end of the week. Makes me go slow. OK. And finally, pull your best or worst joke. Oh come on.
I don't know. This is all coming full circle.
The best or worst joke.
Oh, this is. OK, I'm going to tell a joke. Yeah. It can be dirty or whatever. Do what you like. It's ok. It's OK. It's it's not my views on carbon people.
It's a joke that has always been told to me by having people comment about what people people from carbon. Oh Kevin. Oh OK.
I think the comment I was like, am I so to joke that these are not my views but I don't it.
So it's set in.
The joke is that I going into a bar in Kavin, a man walks into a bar and tavern and the barman says, Johnny, what's not to go at all? And because Johnny's looking really sad and is like someone's after breaking into my house and I'm really sad about this is what they have to take and Johnny like not why are you so sad? It's like I made a stew for the week and he's like, ok, ok. I wanted him, took a shit in the stew and then he said, oh but he just that's not the worst thing they could have said.
And he's like, I know I have to throw half of it out.
No, no. Oh I love it.
Just in case it all we have any international listeners, Paul, was your body. And you start by saying the common people are known for being tight. Yeah, that's the yeah.
The jokes is. That's the joke. That's the joke. That is the joke. Paul. That was stunning.
That was fantastic. That joke. And I cannot thank you enough.
No, no. Honestly no because OK, so I'm sweating.
Wraps it up for anyone who might know.
I basically long story short, I just went out on a whim on Twitter and asked you in a day to do this podcast. It was actually crazy to entertain me and just kind of looped you in.
I was like, OK, let's do this. So you say, oh, but honestly, I like as a result.
Twenty thousand euro has been donated to Comic Relief in Ireland, which is absolutely amazing. It's major. It's major. I knew have already done your bid for Comic Relief post.
Here you are again. No. So honestly, Paul, thank you so much. And I just want to say also, actually, have you done any Irish interviews really since normal people like Coupal?
Yeah, we are to The Late Late Show people. Yeah.
Apart from that, as the major, I honestly, I couldn't tell you what interviews blurr about people there. So it has been a blur. OK, yeah.
Well I think I'm going to say it's an exclusive even though it isn't the excuse and excuse me I heard it all.
Listen it if you're from familiar, don't be wary and you're all right.
Paul, thank you so much for sharing the laughs of your life. Thank you very much for having me.
Thank you for listening to the loss of your life with Paul Mesko, I hope you enjoyed it. A huge thank you to both Taylor and Guinness, who played a big part in making this episode of the podcast happen. Loads of great guests to come this season. So don't forget to like subscribe race review and all that other stuff.
This podcast is brought to you by Collaborative Studios.