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Why O'Doherty is happy being the laughing stock

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David O'Doherty

David O'Doherty

David O'Doherty

David O'Doherty Has Checked Everything?

Well, that's the name of the show, but we trust O'Doherty wouldn't lie to us and that the man in the woolly hat and Achill Island T-shirt has, indeed, checked everything.

We'll waste too much of our lives "checking" things, he says. So long as we remember to laugh (that bit is really, really important) and try not to start fires (equally important) we should be grand.

Then the dude starts playing makey-uppy songs on his trademark mini-keyboard. Ah, yes, David O'Doherty is still a marvellous oddball.

Here we have a Perrier Award-winning comic, author and musician with a knack for dry, painfully sardonic observational wit. The bearded Dubliner is clever, but he's also very good at playing the floppy and frustrated hipster fool with a long list of "first-world problems" (I do believe that's what everyone else calls them these days).

David's sold-out New Year residency at Whelan's is all about his adventurous quest to find happiness. There will always be something terribly confusing about both his eccentric delivery and, indeed, the material (sometimes, his feet float too far from the ground, and maybe 80 minutes was a bit too long, dude).

But one thing is certain: David O'Doherty is very, very funny, and besides, the best comics are those whose jokes are impossible to repeat. Not because we're afraid we might offend anyone (O'Doherty isn't one of those comedians), but because he has clearly put a great deal of effort into turning a story about a "pizza wheel" into an amusing gag. It takes a lot more than just simple language to achieve that feat.

experimental

What did David O'Doherty think would make him happy in 2014? A girlfriend, maybe. A North Face jacket? Nah, they both had their problems. Nothing is out of reach here as the man with the most expressionless face and distinctive voice in Irish comedy (we mean that as a compliment) races through odd yet hilarious tales about "taking care of business" in a golf bunker (you'll have to ask him what he meant by that) and overpriced internet bills.

Yep, he's on the ball, and O'Doherty could - and probably should - form an entire show on dissecting TV and radio commercials. He likes to think of his set as the sight and sound of a 38-year-old man having a breakdown on stage. It's actually the riotous noise of a quirky, experimental and wonderfully inventive comic playing by his own rules. Catchy songs too.

It is, occasionally, a little too silly, and a few skits could do with some tightening (that callback closer doesn't work as well as it should, and he knows it). But listen, cheers for the joke about lasagne (O'Doherty reckons it should be called 'Meat Viennetta'). Oh, and I love the term "Complaining Delaney". Or was it "Complainy Delaney?" See, this is what happens when you try to copy David O'Doherty. HHHHI


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