Review: David O’Doherty

Posted on 20 March 2009

I promise I like comedians and sitcoms that come from other countries than Ireland, like Ed Byrne…oh, hang-on um, Maeve Higgins…no, that’s not right. I know, the show Black Books, that’s based in London. All I can figure is that
this blog went up around St Pat’s day and he’s set the leprachauns on me, the big ones with the uzis screaming “We aren’t cute!”

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a show by David O’Doherty <>. I have to
admit that I was a fan before I went and I was in no way disappointed, despite David’s efforts to lower our expectations so we would all say, “That was a pretty good show.” I have email invites to some of his Melbourne shows from 2003 still sitting in my email box, plus a whole lot of invites to his shows in Ireland when I accidentally was put on his mailing list in 2005. It was fun surprising him in Adelaide this time.

At the moment stand-up seems to be awash with observational humour. Not a bad thing, but it tends to tread the same territory of observation to do with drinking and girlfriends, sometimes mixed up with stories about the jerks at
work. Coming from the right comedian I can still find this stuff uproariously funny. Coming from an amateur, I get to imitate the look of someone having a cricket bat coming straight at their face in slow motion.

David O’Doherty has always been my oasis of whimsical anecdotal humour. He tells whole stories about his own dog, the dog he had to pet-sit, the math guy who shares his name, and mixes these up with quirky songs such as the one last night about a relationship in text messages, though my favourite would have to be his song about very mild super powers. His material always feels fresh and devoid of comedy formulas. Certainly you will find the one-liner and the two-step, but they arise naturally out of his musings.

David gives me hope for my own comedy. I remember my stand-up instructor bellowing, “You can’t do stories, stories aren’t funny!” Bizarre, I know. But it was good being forced to learn how to sharpen up my one-liners. I am a great fan of Garrison Keillor’s <> great wandering stories. I tried to model my comedy on his style and did well enough in front of an audience of creative writers, but I could feel that I would never achieve his expansive and endearing laconic style. My personal pacing is too quick. David has quick pacing and yet he can still achieve the “ah” factor, as in “Ah, how lovely.”

If you get a chance, his show Let’s Comedy can be seen tonight, tomorrow, and Sunday in Adelaide. He will then be at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April.

Peace and kindness,


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