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Poignant, funny, charming - this rogue's coming to Libby

by Kyle McCLELLAN Western News
| September 26, 2007 12:00 AM

Malachy McCourt is a New York Times best-selling author, an actor, a thwarted politician, a New York City radio personality and a "charming rogue" — a blaguard.

Hoping to make at least one connection to McCourt, this reporter mentioned his Scottish ancestry to the 76-year-old Irish-American.

"The Scottish are Irish people who can't swim. You were all marooned on the other side when the seas opened."

Charming, indeed.

McCourt will be in Libby on Oct. 13 to perform "A Couple of Blaguards," an Off Broadway show he co-wrote with his brother, Frank, who is also a writer.

Frank's memoir, "Angela's Ashes," won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 and garnered critical acclaim for its depiction of the brothers' survival from extreme poverty in the slums of Limerick, Ireland.

McCourt spoke to The Western News Thursday from his home in New York where he's enjoying temporary rest from a packed schedule.

He was set to appear in Libby with another actor who would portray his brother. But that actor was forced to cancel because he got a part in a movie. Now, "A Couple of Blaguards" will be a one-man show with McCourt as the star.

"I've done the one-man thing before. So, I said, 'OK, I'm not doing anything that weekend.'"

He speaks, he signs, he does commercials and he does movies. Big movies. The latest is called "Righteous Kill," with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

McCourt was the Green Party candidate for the 2006 New York gubernatorial race. He gained 5 percent of the vote on a campaign slogan of, "Don't waste Your Vote, Give it to Me." Of course, he lost to Eliot Spitzer.

But at least he laughed,

"Never make the populace laugh," he said.

Unless that populace is not charged with the responsibility of electing you. In that case, make them laugh. Leave it all on the stage for the audience.

About that audience.

"Tell them this is good for their health, good for losing weight," McCourt said. "They'll laugh their asses off."

In New York, McCourt is recognized as an icon within the city's literary culture.

His fondness and proficiency for language is at once his forte and possibly his foible. He recalls a show in Texas where patrons, offended by something, got up and walked out. They apparently didn't realize what he did.

"There's no such thing as bad language. Just bad usage."

McCourt will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, to spin his acclaimed linguistic talents to a Memorial Center crowd.

"There's half a million words and my ambition is to use them all at one time or another," he said.

"A good deal will be used when I get to Libby."