Gift Grub is a series of short comic pieces broadcast on weekdays on the breakfast show of Irish commercial radio station Today FM since 8 May 1999. Paul McLoone moved from Derry to Dublin the previous March to produce The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show for Today FM, and during his tenure as series producer, he co-created and co-wrote Gift Grub for five years until 2004. The characters in the pieces are based on real people, generally local and international celebrities and political figures, and, since McLoone's move to present what is now his own music show at the same station, are mainly voiced by mimic Mario Rosenstock.
The title is a remnant of the original format of the pieces, in which the character of Bertie Ahern, Ireland's former Taoiseach (prime minister), would introduce the listening public to favourite ("Gift") meals or food items ("Grub"). The portrayal of Ahern as blustering and inarticulate but infinitely shrewd set the tone for the future. Ahern is still the main star, but other frequent appearances are made by impersonators of Roy Keane, Gerry Adams, Colin Farrell, Ronan Keating, Bill Cullen, Michael D. Higgins, Keith Duffy, Daniel O'Donnell, Niall Quinn, Ben Dunne, Pádraig Harrington, Steve Staunton, Bobby Robson, Rafael Benítez, Joe Duffy, Paul O'Connell, Conor Deasy, Jack Charlton and Brian Cowen
The popularity of the show has generated a number of spin-off compilations, merchandise and catchphrases that have caught on in the general public, such as Bertie's "Infacta", "Jaysus" and "Ya Spanner", and some may claim that the sketches' portrayal of Mr Ahern as street-wise, human and funny has arguably boosted the approval rating of Mr Ahern and his government.
A big part of the success of the series has been the ability of the writers to respond quickly to current news and events with withering satire. A notable episode involved the re-writing of the song Dry Your Eyes by The Streets, with Roy Keane singing to David Beckham, consoling him on England's loss to France in UEFA Euro 2004.
In Summer 2005, a sketch entitled "José and his Amazing Technicolor Overcoat", mimicking Chelsea boss José Mourinho, caught the attention of football fans in the UK on a number of forums and message boards. Rosenstock was invited by Mourinho to attend a match at Stamford Bridge. This track, along with "I Sign a Little Player or Two", based on Aretha Franklin's I Say a Little Prayer, have proven so popular with listeners to London's Capital Gold radio station, that breakfast DJ Mick Brown was quoted in the 24 October 2005 edition of The Sun as saying that the two tracks may be released in the UK as a Christmas novelty song.
On 16 December 2005, a parody of Will Young's song Leave Right Now relating to the events surrounding Roy Keane's dismissal from Manchester United was released as a charity single in the Republic of Ireland. It went straight in at the number 1 position on the Christmas chart; until 2014, it was the last Irish Christmas number-one not to be from the winner of The X Factor. Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars would be the next case in the Irish chart, 9 years later. José and his Amazing Technicolor Overcoat was released in the UK on 20 February 2006.
In March 2007, the real Roy Keane met with Ian Dempsey to promote the Irish Guide Dogs Foundation and was introduced to the Gift Grub Roy. Previous special guests who were invited on the show to meet their Gift Grub equivalents included Hector Ó hEochagáin, Eddie Hobbs, Ronan Keating, the actresses who portray Fair City characters Carol and Ali, Aisling O'Neal and Doreann Ni Charaigain. and recently, Bertie Ahern himself to celebrate the segment's tenth anniversary. José Mourinho's sudden departure from Chelsea, in September 2007, and his falling out with owner Roman Abramovich, became the subject of yet another Gift Grub parody .
In December 2008, a parody of Beyoncé Knowles's "If I Were a Boy" about the then Sunderland manager Roy Keane's difficulties in the Premier League was transmitted. The lyrics of the chorus were altered to "If I wasn't Roy". Keane resigned hours later.
In November 2009, Today FM released a special 10 year edition of the annual 'Best of' CD which included 3 CDs', They were a best of 2009 CD, a best of the decade CD and an unreleased sketches CD, which included a sketch Titled "Ronan's Stalker" that became so popular it was then released on The "The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show".
In 2006, They also started to upload all Gift Grub Sketches on to iTunes so people can listen to them on the go anytime, anywhere.
- The Official Gift Grub Website
- Gift Grub Page on the official TodayFM website.
- Leave Right Now
- Niall Quinn & Roy Keane partnership
- Steve Staunton sings Eminems Stan