With Shogun Joe and the Vagabonds successfully starting their twelve night stand up comedy run at the Edinburgh Fringe, a successor to front man ‘Shogun’ Joe Sweeney has emerged from the other end of the country.
Joe Gilhooly, an aspiring young comedian from the south of England has taken up the mantle of Second Shogun, or Taishogun, for the festival run.
‘Taishogun’ is the closest English translation of the Japanese Shogun hierarchy where a pupil learns from the master.
Young Joe, 24, from London, got the call from ‘Shogun’ Joe Sweeney this week to join his group of Vagabonds at the Surgeons Hall venue in the Edinburgh Fringe.
The only problem was that he was working full time in the capital down south.
“I’d done a couple of shows with Shogun Joe and the Vagabonds earlier this year when I was in Inverness and Aberdeen but hadn’t realised that he was taking the Vagabonds to Edinburgh.
“When he called, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”
Telling his boss by phone that he was off to Scotland and didn’t know when he’d return, Joe Gilhooly dropped everything to travel to Edinburgh in the first week of the festival, pleading with friends in the city for a bed for a few nights.
He quickly realised at the same time that his job in the hospitality sector in London was probably a thing of the past.
“I know that folk will think it’s a bit rash but at the end of the day, my dream is to be a professional stand up comedian and to be able to perform at the Edinburgh fringe tops it all.
“If it means taking that plunge, I’m happy to do so,” he said yesterday.
Shogun Joe and the Vagabonds have their roots in the Scottish Highlands comedy community.
Through a vibrant comedy club scene based in the Highland capital, Inverness, performers from the area have in the last year performed in venues across the UK and continental Europe.
At the Fringe, Young Joe will be joining The Vagabonds, a group that includes young Scottish comedian Hazel Urquhart, musical comedian The Mad Old Punk, comedy poetry from Nick ‘Mulbert’ Trumble and long time Shogun Joe collaborator, Highland Comedian, Gary Aye.
International stand up comedian performer ‘Shogun’ Joe Sweeney, 54, from Inverness who brought together the Vagabonds for Edinburgh this year explained:
“A lot of what the Vagabonds is all about is promoting up and coming talent.
“I’d worked with Young ‘Taishogun’ Joe Gilhooly and saw what he could add to our Fringe performance, hence inviting him north.”
He also said:
“At the end of the day I suppose you could just say that we’re just a couple of ordinary working Joes.
“But it’s those who make the effort, travel the distance and are dedicated to their craft that make it.
“I know that Young Taishogun Joe will soon be a Comedy Shogun in his own right.”
You can catch Shogun Joe and the Vagabonds at The Space UK in the Surgeons Hall until the end of August.