Eleanor Tiernan – People Pleaser

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Eleanor Tiernan
Published 12 Aug 2017

Eleanor Tiernan specialises in off-kilter takes on reality, setting her observations in a universe that's relatable but just slightly estranged from the truth. Re-imagining her 2015 move to London and the Brexit vote as a personal existential crisis, People Pleaser is a flawed but amusing enough shaggy dog story.

Opening with a promotional film for a Californian hippy retreat, the Irish comic caustically denigrates the spiritual enlightenment seekers beaming smugly for the camera, her anger informed by the self-help path her family and friends have chosen for her. After they staged an intervention for the comic, whose addiction isn't sex or drugs but an instinctive urge to facilitate, to be a people pleaser, she took umbrage and quit Dublin for London – yet only after exuberantly burning her bridges with anyone and everyone, including the Irish government.

Seeking some British stiff upper lip to reinforce her, she finds her fantasies of moving-on tempered by the metropolis' economic realities, temporarily landing on her feet only to face the potential double-whammy of both eviction and expulsion after the EU referendum result. Driven to desperate measures, she enters a talent contest to try to prove her usefulness to the UK. But a backstage encounter with Nigel Farage finds her facing ruin.

The initial surreality of the intervention is well set-up and executed. But Tiernan isn't consistent with the people pleasing persona she's ascribed herself. Her descent into selfish, narrow-minded survival mode is sketchily arrived at, with her ultimate humbling somewhat crude and atypically lacking in imagination.