Oliver Callan

Oliver Callan
Oliver Callan
Birth name Oliver Patrick Callan
Born December 27, 1980 (1980-12-27) (age 30)
Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Ireland
Medium Radio sketches, TV sketches, ridiculing of politicians and other public figures
Nationality Irish
Notable works and roles Nob Nation, Green Tea
Website Supporting the Nobs

Oliver Callan (born 27 December 1980) is an Irish vocal and performance satirist and impressionist known for featuring on Nob Nation, Green Tea and The Saturday Night Show. He rose to fame during the 2000s when his daily Nob Nation slots aired on RTÉ Radio. His Green Tea creation on RTÉ Radio 1 has been described by The Irish Times as "essentially an extended version of Nob Nation.[1]

Nob Nation and Green Tea parody political, social and cultural personalities, with Callan performing as the characters featured on the show. His radio broadcasts have led to the release of regular podcasts, several CDs and appearances on prime time television programmes such as The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ One. He has also incurred the wrath of several politicians and the Kerry GAA star Paul Galvin for his impressions. He is well known in Ireland and the UK for skewering celebrities and politicians on radio.[2] His acerbic wit and talent for mimicry has made him a household name, according to the Irish Independent.[3]


Early life

Callan is from Inniskeen in County Monaghan. He has an older brother.[4] His father's name is Tony.[5] His family have a farm.[5] He has said it was difficult growing up gay in Monaghan in the late 1990s.[5] The first person he came out to was his best friend who is also his producer.[5]

Initially working as a newsreader,[6] he later began to perform sketches on The Gerry Ryan Show on RTÉ 2fm.[5] Its presenter, Gerry Ryan, outed him at a dinner party in Dublin before he died.[5] Callan has been involved in a legal dispute with Mario Rosenstock over his time working with Gift Grub on Today FM.[6]

Very little else is known about Callan as he had never given an interview as himself until 29 October 2011, instead appearing as the public figures he portrays.[5]


Nob Nation

Nob Nation was reported in the Sunday Independent on 20 January 2008 as being Ireland's most popular podcast of the previous year, with figures showing a total of 736,711 downloads on RTÉ.ie between April and December 2007. Comparatively, RTÉ Radio 1's most popular[7] radio show, Morning Ireland, was second with 730,965 podcast downloads. Nob Nation is also frequently in the top five of the iTunes chart.[8]

Following some complaints about Callan's portrayal of Taoiseach Brian Cowen "swaying and snorting in booze-filled sing-songs about his difficulties in office", the popularity of the slot "simply exploded" according to RTÉ, with over 250,000 hits each month and making up almost a third of all downloads from RTÉ.ie.[9] Callan's portrayal of Enda Kenny as cross-dresser "Dame Enda" has drawn reactions from Fine Gael and Enda Kenny himself.[10]

The first Nob Nation CD, containing twenty of Callan's sketches,[11] was released in Ireland in November 2007. Those parodied on the compilation include politicians Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, former Republic of Ireland national football team manager Steve Staunton, broadcaster Gay Byrne and newsreaders Bryan Dobson and Colm Murray.[12] The album debuted at number five on the Irish Albums Chart ahead of Amy Winehouse and Bruce Springsteen on 9 November 2007, according to IRMA, the official chart tracking body in Ireland.[13] A second compilation, Nob Nation 2: The Recession Album, was released on 7 November 2008. Nob Nation 3 was released in the Irish Daily Mail in November 2009. The fourth compilation in the series, Nob Nation 4: The Hangover, was released on 12 December 2010 in the Irish News of the World.

In August 2010, a new website www.nobnation.com showcasing comedy videos and purportedly uncensored versions of Nob Nation podcasts appeared. A number of Sunday newspapers[which?] reported that the website features controversial depictions of Brian Cowen in a bar along with Judge Gargle, a fictional character loosely based on a high-profile Irish judge.

An 84-year-old guesthouse owner sued RTÉ over a Nob Nation sketch claiming it claimed he was running a brothel in County Waterford. His Senior Counsel warned the jury before the sketch was played to them that they might wince as, he said, it was the "most vulgar type of broadcast imaginable".[14] The court awarded €70,000 damages.[15]

Callan once rang Charlie Bird and, impersonating Enda Kenny, said there was a story about to break about Kenny buying women's underwear. Bird thought it was real.[16]

Green Tea/The Saturday Night Show

Callan now works on RTÉ Radio 1 sketch show Green Tea.[1] It features President-elect Michael D. Higgins shouting “Where's my box? Where’s my box?” before he goes to bed under his Seamus Heaney duvet and unsuccessful presidential candidate David Norris as Higgins's vice-president.[17]

In October 2011, Callan and his producer James McDonald[18][19] were allegedly assaulted by Kerry GAA star Paul Galvin late at night in Kehoe's Pub, Central Dublin. Among witnesses to the alleged incident were a Government Minister, a TD, a senator and several journalists. One witness alleged Galvin called Callan a "fucking cunt".[20] Callan later described how Galvin approached him with "his eyes bulging" and looking "crazy".[21] The incident was investigated by the Garda Síochána.[22] The media speculated on the reason behind the alleged incident, reporting that Callan had recently mimicked Galvin asking Taoiseach Enda Kenny to man-up by giving him a body-wax on Green Tea[23] and that Galvin had texted Callan before an appearance on The Saturday Night Show in relation to "gay jibes" the satirist had directed at him.[24] It was eventually revealed that Galvin had complained (or not complained at all)[25] to RTÉ after what he described as "the most excruciating night of my life" at home on his sofa between his parents in Kerry watching The Saturday Night Show when Callan referred to Galvin's "years spent in the closet".[26]

Callan impersonated Galvin again on Green Tea the week after the alleged assault.[27] Callan then appeared on The Saturday Night Show for an unprecedented second consecutive week[28][29] to defend himself against accusations of homophobia.[30][31][32] He did, by announcing he was gay on live television.[4][5][33][34]


  1. ^ a b Heaney, Mick (12 February 2011). "'Green Tea' makes for a weak brew". The Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2011/0212/1224289582405.html. Retrieved 12 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Kinser, Jeremy (31 October 2011). "Comic Comes Out on Live TV: "I'm Not a Homophobe, I'm Gay"". The Advocate. http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/10/31/Comic_Im_Not_a_Homophobe_I_m_Gay/. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  3. ^ O'Connell, Edel (28 October 2011). "Callan no stranger to controversy". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/callan-no-stranger-to-controversy-2913196.html. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Tevlin, Rory (31 October 2011). "Comic accused of being homophobic admits he's gay on live TV". Daily Mirror. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/10/31/comic-accused-of-being-homophobic-admits-he-s-gay-on-live-tv-115875-23527549/. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Horan, Niamh (30 October 2011). "I'm not homophobic I'm a homosexual, reveals comic Oliver Callan". Sunday Independent. http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/independent-woman/celebrity-news-gossip/im-not-homophobic-im-a-homosexual-reveals-comic-oliver-callan-2921076.html. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Gift Grub stars in stand-up row over new CD money". Irish Examiner. 6 November 2006. http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2006/11/06/story17525.asp. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Bray, Allison (14 November 2008). "Tubridy rides crest of airwaves". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/tubridy-rides-crest-of-airwaves-1538956.html. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  8. ^ Doohan, Niamh (20 January 2008). "RTE may cash in on podcast success". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/rte-may-cash-in-on-podcast-success-1269609.html. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  9. ^ Corcoran, Jody (18 January 2009). "RTE's biting satire ruffles feathers of Cowen circle". Sunday Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/rtes-biting--satire-ruffles-feathers-of-cowen-circle-1605908.html. Retrieved 18 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Sheehan, Maeve (19 December 2010). "FG riled by RTE's 'Dame Enda' parody". Sunday Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/fg-riled-by-rtes-dame-enda-parody-2466542.html. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  11. ^ "NOB NATION - As heard on RTÉ Radio's Gerry Ryan Show". CD World.ie. Accessed 31 October 2008.
  12. ^ "Nob Nation - Oliver Callan". RTÉ. 8 November 2007. http://www.rte.ie/arts/2007/1108/callano.html. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  13. ^ "Irish Charts Week 45 - 2007 Top 50 Albums". IRMA. Accessed 31 October 2008.
  14. ^ "RTÉ sued over 'Nob Nation' brothel claim". RTÉ. 12 July 2011. http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0712/otoolev.html. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "€70,000 awarded over 2FM sketch defamation". RTÉ. 15 July 2011. http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0715/defamation.html. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  16. ^ Brunker, Amanda (18 August 2008). "‘You can call this piece, Brunker Hangs Out Her Nobs, or Nobs and Knockers!’". Sunday World. http://www.sundayworld.com/showbiz/brunker-meets.php?aid=364. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  17. ^ Hourihane, Anne Marie (31 October 2011). "Michael D's best qualities make him a mimic's dream". The Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/1031/1224306805767.html. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  18. ^ O'Keeffe, Cormac (21 October 2011). "Galvin in pub row with Nob Nation crew". Irish Examiner. http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/galvin-in-pub-row-with-nob-nation-crew-171418.html. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  19. ^ Lally, Conor (21 October 2011). "Galvin and RTÉ mimic 'had words'". The Irish Times. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1021/1224306217830.html. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Foy, Ken; Doyle, Kevin (20 October 2011). "Galvin attacks TV comic Callan in pub". Evening Herald. http://www.herald.ie/news/galvin-attacks-tv-comic-callan-in-pub-2912889.html. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  21. ^ Swords, Warren (23 October 2011). "I was terrified: Comedian tells of assault by Irish football star who didn't like his impersonation". Irish Mail on Sunday. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2052346/I-terrified-Comedian-tells-assault-Irish-football-star-didnt-like-impersonation.html?ito=feeds-newsxml. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  22. ^ Brady, Tom; Sweeney, Ken (21 October 2011). "Gardai probe GAA star Galvin’s pub bust-up with RTE impersonator Oliver Callan: Footballer clashes with RTE star over Seoige sketch". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/gardai-probe-gaa-star-galvinrsquos-pub-bustup-with-rte-impersonator-oliver-callan-2913194.html. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  23. ^ "Did Paul Galvin nut impersonator Oliver Callan last night?". JOE. 20 October 2011. http://www.joe.ie/gaa/gaa-news/did-paul-galvin-nut-impersonator-oliver-callan-last-night-0016933-1. Retrieved 20 October 2011. 
  24. ^ Foy, Ken (27 October 2011). "Garda anger at 'time wasting' in Galvin-Callan bar bust-up". Evening Herald. http://www.herald.ie/news/garda-anger-at-time-wasting-in-galvincallan-bar-bustup-2918146.html. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  25. ^ Sweeney, Ken (24 October 2011). "Galvin 'has not made complaint to RTE'". Irish Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/galvin-has-not-made-complaint-to-rte-2914667.html. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  26. ^ Horan, Niamh (23 October 2011). "Comic's gay skit was excruciating complains Galvin". Sunday Independent. http://www.independent.ie/national-news/comics-gay-skit-was-excruciating-complains-galvin-2914376.html. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  27. ^ "Audio: Oliver Callan gets his own back on 'humourless' Galvin". JOE. 24 October 2011. http://www.joe.ie/news-politics/current-affairs/audio-oliver-callan-gets-his-own-back-on-humourless-galvin-0017024-1. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  28. ^ Finn, Melanie; Butler, Laura (28 October 2011). "Callan begs RTE for chance to explain Galvin row". Evening Herald. http://www.herald.ie/entertainment/around-town/callan-begs-rte-for-chance-to-explain-galvin-row-2919857.html. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Domhnall Gleeson for Saturday Night Show". RTÉ. 28 October 2011. http://www.rte.ie/ten/2011/1028/satyrdaynightshow.html. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  30. ^ Salerno, Rob (24 October 2011). "Irish fashionista footballer pleads gay panic, demands apology from comedian". Xtra!. http://www.xtra.ca/blog/national/post/2011/10/24/Irish-fashionista-footballer-pleads-gay-panic-demands-apology-from-comedian.aspx. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  31. ^ "Callan defends homophobe accusations". RTÉ. 30 October 2011. http://www.rte.ie/ten/2011/1030/callano.html. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  32. ^ Gray, Stephen (31 October 2011). "Homophobia question prompts Irish radio comedian to come out". Pink News. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/10/31/homophobia-question-prompts-irish-radio-comedian-to-come-out/. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  33. ^ "Oliver Callan, Comedian On Ireland's 'Nob Nation' And 'Green Tea' Radio Shows, Denies Homophobia, Comes Out On Live Television". The Huffington Post. 31 October 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/oliver-callan-comes-out-live-television_n_1067218.html. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  34. ^ "Comic Oliver Callan Says He's Gay And Doesn't Give A Sh*t". On Top Magazine. 31 October 2011. http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=9952&MediaType=1&Category=22. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 

External links

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