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jake's japes Funnyman Jake O'Kane says he quit The Blame Game after repeating the same jokes

The Belfast comic handed his seat over to Diona Doherty earlier this year

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Jake starred on The Blame Game with Neil Delamere, Tim McGarry and Colin Murphy

Jake starred on The Blame Game with Neil Delamere, Tim McGarry and Colin Murphy

Jake starred on The Blame Game with Neil Delamere, Tim McGarry and Colin Murphy

Comedian Jake O'Kane has revealed he left The Blame Game when he started repeating jokes.

The Belfast comic was a regular on the panel for 17 series before handing over his seat to Diona Doherty earlier this year.

He says his exit could have been more dramatic if he'd done a Jeremy Clarkson and punched someone, but he just bowed out to spend more time with his online family of fans.

"I would love to say there was a big fallout, or Tim McGarry fancied me and I didn't want to break his heart. I just began to hear myself and thought, 'I've done this before'.

"When you are no longer able to remember what you've done it's time to do something else. I'd been there, done that and got the t-shirt."

Jake, who's just about to launch his Maskerade tour, had appeared alongside Tim, Colin Murphy and Neil Delamere since the series started and says there are no hard feelings.

"Do I miss them? Oh God no. Comedians are the most antisocial bastards who ever drew breath. It's like the martial art of performing arts. The collective noun for a group of comedians is a bitter.

"We had been doing it for so long I could tell when Murph was going to fart, but I was very fortunate to have got it.

"I wish Diona well. She's very talented and a nice person, which is rare for comedy."

The comic can't wait to get back on the road after last year's tour was cancelled due to Covid. He's described it as a minor inconvenience compared to what some families went through and the huge strain placed on NHS staff.

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Jake O'Kane

Jake O'Kane

Jake O'Kane

But he has warned anyone with anti-vaccine views they might want to steer clear because he's not holding back.

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"I'm a card-carrying hypochondriac. I'd have taken the vaccine in my eyeball if I had to. My wife sits me down and reminds me it's a comedy show, not a lecture.

"There are a few members of my extended family who believe Covid is just a bad flu and there are trackers in vaccines. I told one of them, 'your wife doesn't give a sh*t where you are. Why would the government care?'

"I saw one protester with a poster that said, 'the blood of Christ is my vaccine'. I wouldn't deny him his faith, but Moderna and AstraZeneca are much easier to source," says Jake.

"If politicians are saying we shouldn't have the Covid passports I want to know what their qualifications are that they can supersede the Chief Medical Officer."

For Jake, who turned 60 during lockdown, the last two years have been his longest off the stage since he started his comedy career after working in bars around Belfast.

He's a regular MC at the Empire Comedy Club so when all gigs were cancelled, he turned to YouTube videos instead.

The dad of two has explored all corners of Northern Ireland life, including the row over Sinn Féin's views on a fox hunting ban, the Turner Prize and cops on bikes.

For his new run of shows Jake is trying not to let Covid dominate his material, so he talks about everything from his wife's menopause to Viagra instead.

While being sympathetic about her experience of the menopause, it's too good not to make jokes about it, and he's getting revenge for his first lateral flow test.

"She stood at the bathroom door and told me to put the swab up my nose and then down my throat. It's an awful thing to do, and it's worse when you swab the wrong way round.

"She's fine about me talking about her menopause because it's like my menopause.

"I love my electric blanket and I haven't been able to use it since her night sweats started. I invested in a single one, and I couldn't use it either. I sneaked it on one night and fell asleep and she got up and put the winter duvet on me.

"I was cooked alive. I thought Arlene Foster was sitting on me.

"And I don't mind talking about Viagra because at 60 I've still got lead in my pencil, but I just don't get writing much."

His tour kicks off on December 28 in Strule Arts Centre in Omagh and continues until mid-February in the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com

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