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Review: Dara O’Briain- Brighton Comedy Festival

Wednesday 24 October 2012

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Offering the audience a brief glimpse at his dancing skills as he walks on stage before informing them that’s all they’ll get, the host of Mock the Week firstly apologises for his voice – though it seems in good form – for he’s recently had tonsillitis, though Dara feels this is a terrible excuse as said illness is essentially a child’s disease. A solid amount of time is spent in audience participation from the “attention demanding” front row, and though some of it could be seen as unforgiving O’Briain freely admits that as a comedian he has no transferable skills and if it were all to end tomorrow “I’d be fucked”. Amongst the crowd is a tree surgeon (who wants to be a video games tester) and randomly enough, an NVQ examiner for tree surgeons, which brilliantly builds to the tree surgeon receiving career advice. Also within the audience is a banker involved in risk assessment, to which the audience provides the obligatory boos. “Thank you for turning this into a fucking panto, though as a risk assessor you surely should have assessed the risk in informing a roomful of people what you do for a living”.

O’Briain masters topics such as corporate gigs, switching school productions of nativity plays to Die Hard or Alien (“Dear  parent, we will require your son/daughter to wear an exo-skeleton”) and his brilliant take on television that provides “Something for the dads” (Strictly dancers, Doctor Who assistants et all). The biggest laughs come from a true story in which footage from Call of Duty was sent to ITV HQ as ‘unseen IRA footage’ and actually used, as well as O’Briain sharing the same tour schedule as Psychic Sally. O’Briain was informed by venue employees of Sally being wound up by audience members wanting to speak with their parents who were actually sitting next to them – Dara quips that “The dead are making Sally look a fool”.  This leads to O’Briains time on Stargazing Live with Professor Brian Cox and the BBC’s comical stance on how to treat complaints from astrologers (irreverently) as well as offering a mantra which really shouldn’t be taken out of context: “Racism is better than astrology” – an intelligible consideration on prejudicing people all born in the same month. Dara’s deftness at intellectually destroying the idiots of the world in an honest yet beautifully brutal manner is not only comical but inspiring.

At this stage the gentleman next to me is laughing like a hyena in the depths of despair, and though I’m wanting to plant my pen into the fucker’s leg – he’s right – O’Briain is on top form. Talk of the shows name ‘Craic Dealer’ comes in the form of security at the Dublin Airport retorting, “here he comes, the craic dealer” giving tourists a taste of Ireland’s slightly liberal stance on drug trafficking. Dara moves onto thoughts on the modern world and how, for example, renaissance Italy would be taken aback at the technology we have – though if Da Vinci inquired how any of it worked most of us, including himself would simply reply, “You plug it into a wall”. Further laughs come from how to get rid of a burglar – possibly by barking or pretending to be a ghost (an audience member does an incredible impression) or informing the burglar he’s entered a sex dungeon. O’Briain quips that if it’s an Irish burglar, just inform them that you know their mother and they’ll run immediately. If confronting said burglar, Dara insists that you shouldn’t use a frying pan as you’ll either merely give them a bruise or kill them.

O’Briain’s skills of making the everyday occurrences into side splitting raconteur comedy as well as his quick acerbic wit in audience converse make him a master of dealing craic.

Words: Simon Herriott