Comedian Joanne McNally opened up about a panic attack she had on stage in the Cork’s Everyman Theatre, last week. The Dubliner explained the situation to Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio 1 this morning. Explaining how she had been drinking wine and energy drinks before hand and began to feel as though she wasn’t in her own body.
Saying, “I’d had half a bottle of white wine and three cans of energy drink in the space of 40 minutes before I went on stage. So I’m guessing that was also part of it. And so 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.”
Continuing on to say, “it was on stage. 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.’
“It was horrible. And at one stage, I was like, ‘Will I leave? Will I go?'”
While the situation was already awful, it was made even tougher by a rude audience member who began to heckle her during the attack.
The professional comedian is used to hecklers and a rough audience, but this time with the anxiety she was experiencing, it was a challenge. She said, “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. I was in the middle of this completely outer body experience.”
“I didn’t know what I was going to do, didn’t know what I’d said, what was going to come next. I was trying to power through. I didn’t want them to see that I was struggling with this going on.”
Continuing she added; “And then this young one shouts out, ‘Where’s this going?’ and she shared; “I was genuinely about to go, ‘I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine because I have no idea what’s happening now’.”
Luckily a fan in the audience shouted out a suggestion which surprisingly actually helped The Prossecco Express star;”I was having this – I call it a turn – I was having this weird turn, and some woman shouted out ‘space gins!’
“I talk about having gins in the sky a lot. And then we just kind of carried on. This woman kind of saved it.”
Joanne believes that her energy drink may have contributed to the attack, and has now sworn off them. Saying, “I usually do about 65 minutes. I think that night I did about 50, and I was like, ‘I need to get off the stage’.
“But I learned my lesson. I have a lot of shows to do, I’m pretty much gigging every night, and so the energy drinks are gone now, so I’m learning as I go.”
Words by Slaine McKenna