anxiety struggles | 

Comedian Joanne McNally 'learned a lesson' following panic attack on stage

"I was trying to power through. I didn’t want them to see that I was struggling with this, whatever was going on"

Joanne McNally

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Comedian Joanne McNally has admitted that she has “learned a lesson” after she suffered a panic attack while performing live on stage in Cork.

The podcast star, who was performing as part of her sold-out nationwide tour, The Prosecco Express, had to cut her set short after the “horrible” attack that she believes was brought on from a mixture of energy drinks and wine.

Joanne explained how she attempted to power through the attack during her show at the Everyman Theatre in Cork but felt the need to flee the stage after she began to hear the crowd grow restless.

“I took a turn where I felt like I was kind of not in my own body and I didn’t know what I was going to say next,” she told Ryan Tubridy on his RTE Radio 1 show.

“I could kind of feel it coming on and then my hands start shaking and I lose my words and I don’t know where I am in the show.

“Obviously I have been heckled but not to the point I’ve really taken any notice. I’ve always been able to deal with it like. It was never anything too vicious, it was always drunken or stupid.

“I was trying to power through. I didn’t want them to see that I was struggling with this, whatever was going on. There was a lot going on."

As she struggled, Joanne could sense she’d lost the crowd, with one disgruntled audience member yelling; ‘Where’s this going?’

Joanne McNally. Picture: Evan Doherty

“I was genuinely about to go, ‘I don’t know’,” Joanne added. “Your guess is as good as mine because I have no idea what’s happening now.”

After she was forced to shorten her set by almost 20 minutes, Joanne reflected that she had learned a valuable lesson.

“I have a lot of shows to do,” she said. “I’m pretty much gigging every night and so the energy drinks are gone now, so I’m learning as I go.”

The comic told how she has been struggling with anxiety since the coronavirus lockdown.

She said: "I think it's a perfect storm of stuff.

"Before lockdown, I'm not going to say I didn't believe in anxiety because that's like saying I'm a flat earther.

"Of course I believed in anxiety but when people said they had bad anxiety, I just [thought] anxiety to me is a part of life.

"Everyone has certain stages in their life where they're more anxious than others.

"But during lockdown I genuinely started suffering with my nerves, as they'd say.”

Today's Headlines

More Irish Showbiz

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos