Two Hardy Bucks Visit the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix

Martin Maloney (left) and Stephen "Cowboy" Kelly (right) of Ireland's Hardy Bucks visit the Irish Cultural Center on April 14, 2023 at 7pm.
Martin Maloney (left) and Stephen "Cowboy" Kelly (right) of Ireland's Hardy Bucks visit the Irish Cultural Center on April 14, 2023 at 7pm. Courtesy of Martin Maloney
Who doesn't like a good coming to America story?

For Martin Maloney, the one-time star of Irish TV's Hardy Bucks, coming to Phoenix is like a dream come true. The Irish actor and musician is currently living in Stockholm, Sweden, but thanks to his friend, Matt Strangwayes (formerly of the excellent valley band, Greenhaven), Maloney will be performing at the Irish Culture Center on Friday, April 14, with fellow Hardy Bucks alum, Stephen “Cowboy” Kelly, at 7 p.m.

“It's probably the first time I've been to the States for 10 years. I've always been intrigued by Phoenix and it looks like a really cool city. I look forward to meeting everyone,” says Maloney during a Zoom meeting while he was on the train in Stockholm.

Something of a class clown while growing up, Maloney was always drawn to performance of one kind or another. As a young man, he tried the band thing, doing music in his late teens, but found his first taste of success leading the cast of Hardy Bucks, which ran on RTE (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) in Ireland (as well as YouTube, Tubi, and Amazon Prime now) from 2010 to 2018.

“Well, I was always a bit of a class comedian. In school, I was voted most likely to succeed Chris Evans, who was a popular comedian and presenter in the U.K., also a ginger, so I was like, ‘Hey, I'll take that.’ I come from a family of very humorous characters. I got into playing music at 17 and thought it was time to become a rock star, but that didn't really pan out, but then I got into the comedy series (Hardy Bucks) and we got to live a little bit of the rock and roll lifestyle through the comedy show. We’ve had a taste of the wild ife. You’ll hear about that onstage (at Irish Cultural Center),” says Maloney.

According to Maloney, he and Kelly will be doing a fair amount of comedy and music during their performance, and he “guarantees” a good time.

“Plenty of laughs, that’s the first guarantee. There will be some humor based upon our experience of landing [in America] based on our observations and there will be stories and multimedia about our experiences in Ireland and growing up. There will be stand-up comedy and then a few songs at the end to wrap it up. We are really looking forward to meeting the crowd [in Phoenix] for the first time,” says Maloney, who seems genuinely excited about his first trip to the desert.

Thanks to Strangwayes, who has dual American and Irish citizenship, reaching out to Maloney on LinkedIn a few years ago, the show was able to come together.

“I have dual citizenship with the U.S. and Ireland, so I keep up with the fun things happening overseas. I was already following Martin and Cowboy on Instagram, and presumably, via the Irish folks I’m connected to on LinkedIn, [Maloney] came up as a recommendation, so I reached out. We’re both into Komodo dragons and rock music, so we became pals,” says Strangwayes.

You can hear the excitement for the show in both of the men's voices when you speak to them, and the Irish Cultural Center, which is located on North Central Avenue in Phoenix, will be an excellent venue for the event. Maloney, who is also hoping to sample some great local beer and chicken wings during his visit is ready to soak it all in. When he heard there were some excellent local breweries to check out, he shared this:

“That’s music to my liver. I’m looking forward to trying a few of the local culinary delights, as well. I’ve heard Long Wong’s has good chicken wings and my cousin, one of his favorite restaurants in the States is the TeePee, so I am looking forward to trying that out, as well. We might have to head over to the Gaelic Football Club and shoot a few balls over the bar and see if we still have the touch,” jokes Maloney.

For those interested in learning more about Maloney, Kelly, and their show, Hardy Bucks, you can check out full episodes on YouTube, Tubi, and Netflix as well as downloading them (for a fee) on Amazon Prime. There are four seasons to enjoy, and the humor is somewhat reminiscent of Canada’s Trailer Park Boys series, but with a distinctly Irish feel.

Maloney is hoping for a few “gray” days while in Phoenix, but the weather might just disappoint him on that wish. The forecast is for clear and warm during the time he and Kelly are in town.

“I was in Mexico last year and I came back looking like a grilled lobster. I don’t want that happening again. I might just have to find myself one of those 10-gallon (cowboy) hats,” Maloney says.

Martin Maloney and Stephen “Cowboy” Kelly appear at Irish Cultural Center on Friday, April 14, 2023 at 7pm. The Irish Cultural Center is located at 1106 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85009. Tickets are available here.
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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon

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