Ardal O’Hanlon, star of UK Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted, will perform in Dubai on May 2.

The 48-year-old shot to fame in the 90s as the dim-witted Father Dougal McGuire, and went on to become an acclaimed actor and standup comedian. Famously self-deprecating, he once said: “If you expect a kick in the ***** and you get a slap in the face, it’s a victory.”

As a young comic, the Irishman founded Dublin’s International Comedy Cellar, upstairs at the International Bar (geddit?). In 1994 he won the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in London, and the following year was cast as Dougal in Father Ted (1995–98), a role that earnt him Top TV Comedy Newcomer at the British Comedy Awards 1995.

O’Hanlon first foray into straight acting was in the ITV comedy-drama Big Bad World, alongside Emma Fielding and Beth Goddard. After a series of minor TV roles, in 2000 he landed the starring role in the UK comedy series My Hero, playing a hapless superhero struggling with a mundane life in suburbia. The show ran for six series.

As a writer, O’Hanlon’s novel The Talk of the Town was published in 1998, a black comedy depicting life in small town Ireland. On stage, O’Hanlon performed at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 2011 in the Irish premiere of Christopher Hampton’s God of Carnage, alongside Maura Tierney. He is currently performing in London’s West End in Conor McPherson’s Olivier Award-winning play The Weir.

Despite making a career out of performing, O’Hanlon has never been an extrovert. “As a child I played football in the garden all day and then I read books all night. I was a very happy child,” he has said. “By the time I was seven I was already settling down to read the newspaper like an auld fella. I was always interested in the world. I always carried a pocket atlas with me. I don’t know much, but I know the capitals of countries.”

Almas Tower, JLT (opposite McGettigan’s), Dubai. May 2, doors open 8pm, show starts 9pm, Dhs125 from McGettigan’s. Metro: JLT.