Review: David O’Doherty- Brighton Comedy Festival

Despite David O’Doherty himself describing ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ as a show about “depression that ends in murder, but I couldn’t put that on the flyer,” O’Doherty’s take on break ups and killing mice are endearing, intelligible and mirthful. Reviewing this show was seemingly harder than I initially thought, not because I am inherently lazy and was fairly inebriated at the time, but because everything that spills from O’Doherty’s mouth is full of acerbic wit and charming intelligence. His thoughts and anecdotes on splitting up with someone not only hit home with the crowd, but the way he beautifully captures the manner in which we all become housed tramps for a period is side-splitting.

Before arriving on stage he begins with his infamous ‘unnecessarily long offstage intro’ highlighting The Irish Times review of himself being “A National Treasure” – the same paper who three days later described O’Doherty as “Not everyone’s cup of tea”. His self deprecation and irreverence are his endearing features. He asks the crowd not to just put their phones on vibrate, but off as when you feel the buzz, your mind is essentially 60% on that text and not on the show. Amongst his charmingly daft yet cerebral songs and ‘three proper jokes’ are his thoughts on being 36,  which is better than being 35, as men aged 35 do bad things – “Hitler was 35 once”. He also covers topics such as his fear of being ironically killed by a Tesco’s ‘bag for life’, deranged navy seal pest control men, Catholicism being a pastry based religion and ‘shitting coins’.

His song, The Torah of the Ladies, beautifully comprises tips from Cosmopolitans ‘1000 All Time Greatest Sex Tips’ including advice on “eating raw mushrooms as the smell is reminiscent of sex… The secrets of the ladieeees!” On splitting up, he couldn’t be bothered with rock n roll; he just ordered dominos in his socks on the internet (“If I order enough will it feel like a hug”) and played ‘Frisbee Dog’ on the Wii. Talk leads to his all-boys school upbringing and he ponders that “it might be more important to be able to speak with 50% of the population than getting a C in Geography.” Going back to depression from his split, he feels his stench killed off his plants – either that or his ex girlfriend stopped feeding them. There’s a sincere layer of agony and sadness in his talk of the break up; it’s endearing yet his take on the aftermath is poetically accurate of us all. He’s not asking for sympathy, just merely offering whimsical observations in a manner we can all relate to – and laugh at. And with a Casio keyboard no less. Of Brighton, he’s astonished that despite the nation going through the worst recession since the 30’s, we still have a ridiculous number of boutique shops selling ‘vintage capes for kittens’.

He finishes by asking the crowd not to tell anyone that this Brighton show is the best he’s done – but also not to tell anyone who’s been to his other shows, just give them a knowing ‘look’. He then dutifully informs the crowd that his CD has been illegally downloaded 4000 times, which could have got him out of his destitute financial crisis,  and asks them that as the show went well, to purchase a CD in the foyer. I did just that and was greeted with a warm handshake and thanks, as well O’Doherty writing my name is the strangest way possible on said CD.

A show soaked in charm and humour, I encourage you to ‘Seize the David O’Doherty’ whilst he’s touring. The crowd at the Corn Exchange – “Let’s exchange some corn!” – felt their money had already been well spent purely from the offstage intro and left with content grins on their faces. Incredible.

Words: Simon Herriott