David O'Doherty: Let's Comedy

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

David O’Doherty may have been if.comedy-nominated, but he’s quick to instruct his audience to lower their expectations, bemoaning the hyperbolic praises attached to so many so-called ‘geniuses’ at the Fringe. As he outlines in the song The Finest Minds In History even the likes of Einstein and Marie Curie were fools in love, though thankfully, they resisted the rudest ménage à mathematical equation a great brain has ever misguidedly conceived in a moment of drunken weakness.

Describing his act as ‘basically, man faffs while light points. Plus chair’, O’Doherty is a faffer of real eloquence, who revels in his tiny victories, such as stealing wireless broadband, while profiting from his failures, spinning a decent routine out of his inability to write a Jay-Z joke.

Triumph and despair, laughter and tears are ever-present flipsides in the Dubliner’s world, the genuine emotion he conveys at the death of his grandmother making the laugh so much richer when he catches himself sniggering at the church heater’s explicit German brand name.

Charming as O’Doherty is, his whimsical optimism is invariably qualified – his great love will have to appreciate Irish cyclist Stephen Roach and stay true to his principle of not cooking fruit.

His parents had a simpler courtship and he traces the blame for contemporary alienation and loneliness to our persecution by choice. There were a million other things we could have done tonight rather than come to see him he points out, yet none of his amusingly bittersweet suggestions convince you that you’d rather be anywhere else.

As ever, O’Doherty’s mildly nerdy perspective underscores everything – has any other stand-up written quite so many consistently good routines about text messaging? – but there’s also greater aggression emanating from him this year, beyond the faux-posturing of his surprise physical violence during board games.

His badger-attack story is beautifully set up, but it’s still surprising to see this mild-mannered comic recreating vengeance in such a brutal manner. Such moments afford the show real energy and lay the ground nicely for his keyboard hammering finale, My Beefs 2008, an hilariously angry lampoon of all the things people do that make them dicks, performed as green and red lights flash around him like a Hammer horror movie.

In O’Doherty’s instance, believe the hype. This is furiously funny faffing from a comedian at the top of his game.

Reviewed by: Jay Richardson

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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