‘Gift Grub’ was first broadcast on ‘The Ian Dempsey Breakfast show’ on May 3 1999. Written and performed by Mario Rosenstock it has broadcast every weekday morning offering a satirical take on the affairs of Ireland and the world. In this time it has, and continues to, poke fun at Irelands leading lights, politicians, sports stars, TV personalities and musicians, in fact anyone who seeks to put their head above the parapet into public notoriety.
‘Gift Grub’ started life on the fledgling ‘Radio Ireland’ as a thrice weekly 2 minute sketch called ‘Starship Compromise”, a parody of Star Trek it featured Gerry Adams as a starship captain accompanied by his faithful NO.1 officer Martin McGuinness as they scoured the galaxy relentlessly seeking compromise with ‘Alien’ beings.
In 1998 Ian Dempsey was famously poached by Radio Ireland (which had by then become ‘Today Fm’from 2fm. Dempsey, along with his then producer Paul McLoone, approached Rosenstock about developing a short comedy item for the show. The result became ‘Gift Grub’. In the original pilot it was set in a fictional hotel with ‘Bertie Ahern’ as manager, but by the time it went to air the idea was simplified as Bertie Ahern doing a spot of cooking with a well known ‘celebrity’ each morning. This very much reflected Aherns populist cuddly image at the time which saw him more comfortable cooking on Dempsey’s popular show rather than fielding ‘stuffy’ questions on Morning Ireland. He was dishing up ‘Grub’ to the plain people of Ireland and everything was ‘bleedin’ gift!’
After three or four months the ‘Gift Grub’ slot on the show had grown in popularity among listeners,with requests for ‘Tapes’ to be sent to the Taoiseachs office. ‘Bertie’ however soon ran out of celebrities to cook with so ‘Gift Grub’ moved out of the kitchen and became more or less ‘The Adventures of Bertie’. This gave ‘Gift’ the scope to go anywhere anytime- eventually leaving out Bertie altogether if the sketch demanded.
New characters like Roy Keane, Jaap Stam, Ronan Keating and Eddie Irvine emerged, followed by Jose Mourinho,’Daniel’, Hector and even Tom Cruise. Since 2000 multiple ‘Gift Grub’ albums have been released in the process selling over 500,000 records.
In 2005 ‘Gift Grub’ achieved the Christmas NO.1 single in Ireland with ‘Roy Keane’ singing a parody of Will youngs ‘Leave right now’.
In 2009 ‘Gift Grub’ became a stage show, ‘Gift Grub live’ and became one of the fastest selling shows in Irish history, spawning the Best selling DVD ‘Gift Grub live-from the grand Canal Theatre.’
Today, ‘Gift Grub’ is populated by anybody from Joan Burton to Enda Kenny, Vincent Browne to Grainne Seoige, Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington, to ‘The Script’, and Keith Duffy, to Joe Duffy. It’s on every weekday morning at 8.15am on ‘The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show’ on 100-102 Today FM……….Tune in!