Joker Joe McTernan, whose comic capers on TikTok have racked up an astonishing 30 million guffaws, has spilt the beans on how telly titans Simon Pegg and Kevin Bridges helped him to banish his black dog.
The 31-year-old funnyman, poised to wow the crowd at the Edinburgh Fringe next month, confessed there was a time when even donning his pants felt like scaling Mount Everest.
Losing his mum at a tender 11 weeks and later erasing a year’s worth of uni antics from his memory due to a booze-fuelled mental health battle, Joe had been in the grip of the blues. His decision to find solace in comedy, however, proved to be a life-altering move.
“My mental health has been my biggest obstacle; I was down in the dumps, directionless,” he told the Daily Star. “But standing up on that stage, I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a game-changer.”
The laddo, who shot to fame with his rib-tickling TikTok videos during the lockdown, also sang praises of his comedy heroes. Their recognition of his talents gave him the strength to carry on in his darkest hours.
“I was wetting my pants when I heard Kevin Bridges was in the audience,” he said, recounting his nerve-wracking performance in Glasgow. But the top-notch comedian’s simple words of encouragement, ‘keep going’, ended up being the lifeline he needed.
Simon Pegg’s thumbs up to one of his videos on Instagram was another moment that nearly moved him to tears. The lad believes he has his beloved grandparents to thank for his upbringing, but acknowledges the void left by his mother’s absence had a deeper impact on him than he realised.
Although he accepted having a mental health issue rather than an alcohol problem, his depression spiralled downwards after university, leading to his retreat from social life. His chance discovery of stand-up comedy, however, ignited a spark of joy, transforming him into a more focused, motivated, and cheerful individual.
His alien-themed comic sketch that amassed a whopping 5.4 million views catapulted him to new heights, even catching the attention of Law & Order’s Angie Harmon for a collaboration. Now, the comedian lad is bracing himself to make a splash at Edinburgh Fringe, where he’ll be seen poking fun at “online motivational gibberish” while urging folks to enjoy life in moderation.
And if he could give his younger self a bit of advice, it would be to live in the moment and enjoy the small things. “Not every day is going to be a riot,” he said, “but there’s always a silver lining to be found.”