Comedian Al Porter will make his first comeback gig tonight after disappearing from public life five years ago.
he funnyman (29) was once one of Ireland’s most successful entertainers until unproven allegations of sexual assault emerged in 2017 and derailed his career.
Within days of an allegation surfacing on social media, Porter quit his lunchtime show on Today FM. At the same time, TV3 – now Virgin Media One – axed a series of the hugely popular Blind Date he hosted. That November, he also stepped aside from his lead role in the Olympia Theatre’s Christmas panto.
However, all allegations against Porter were unproven, and the DPP withdrew a single count of sexual assault against the comic at Dublin District Court in November 2019.
Despite being cleared, Porter remained out of the public eye to focus on his family and physical and mental health. At the time, he said the events took a grave personal toll on him.
However, tonight he will return to the stage at Roisin Dubh in Galway.
Writing on social media, he said: “A good few people have asked if I’m doing any gigs. I am!”
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He added he was “excited to do some short spots of new material soon” and listed venues in Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Portlaoise.
Writing about that difficult time in his life and his hopes for the future on his website last July, the acclaimed comedian said he is a “long-time sober” living a quiet existence in his parents’ house in Tallaght.
He said that about five years ago, he “kind of disappeared”, and his life changed beyond all recognition.
Porter said after a series of tweets making allegations against him in 2017, he took the issues in his personal life very seriously and decided to walk away from all his work commitments.
“From the age of 19, my life had been a runaway train, I had been burning the candle at both ends, leaving me overwhelmed and unable to cope,” he said.
“At the time, all I wanted to do was go home to my family, but I couldn’t even do that as the media were outside my mam and dad’s house. In the space of 48 hours, it felt like I’d lost everything.”
Porter said he learned from the experience that “people are a lot kinder in person than they are on a keyboard”.
He said me wanted “to make people laugh again”.