New year, new laughs — that’s why London-based funnyman Dara O’Briain
has returned to his native Ireland to kick off a brand new tour — wonderfully entitled Craic Dealer.
Most famous for showcasing his quick-witted humour on the likes of Mock The Week
and The Panel, as well as his ever-interesting Twitter feeds
, he’s returning to the place where it all began for him — the live stage.
We can argue his rise in profile has led the way for a rise in his fortunes as a stand-up, but he’s always been a guaranteed draw.It’s just that this time, he’s playing no less than 19 shows at Vicar Street in Dublin — not to mention the other 52 nights he has planned, which also includes an impressive five nights in Cork’s Opera House.
It’s a meaty challenge, but one which he’s well able for, having an only-upward trajectory since the mid-90s, when he entered this biz we call show. Originally from Bray, Co Wicklow, Dara proved his smarts by studying maths and physics at UCD — but didn’t stay in that field for long.
After making a name for himself on the comedy circuit, he stepped up into the TV game on RTE, rising up the ranks to host the hit show The Panel, before he hopped across the water for a similar role in Mock The Week. With viewing figures racking up 3.5 million an episode, he returned to staple comedy shows, like the Kilkenny Cat Laughs festival, and the stand-up scene something of a hero.
As the panel show king has proved countless times, he’s never short of a smart observation or several. He’s as adept at pointing out the hilarity in everyday life as the absurd world of celebrity, all delivered with the confidence and good-naturedness of our best pals.
“Technology is getting so stupidly powerful,” he once said. “For example, my iPod holds 3,000 albums. I own, like, 90 albums. My iPod sits at home, sullen and frustrated and underused, like a wife who gave up her career and the kids turned out to be shite.”
And there’s plenty of Irish jokes too. For example: “There are three states of legality in Irish law. There is all this stuff which comes under ‘That’s grand’. Then it moves into ‘Ah now, don’t push it’. And finally it comes under ‘Right, now you’re takin’ the piss’, and that’s when the police come in.”
Yet he’s now moving away from straight-up comedy into the world and bringing it to new areas, like the spin-off from The Apprentice: You’re Fired, and his current TV enterprise Stargazing Live, which he’s hosting with everyone’s favourite science guy, Professor Brian Cox.
His tweets are just as amusing, as agreed by his 722,000 followers, which have made him one of the most popular Irish stars on the social media site. For example, during the X Factor, he wrote: “Oh dear. Somebody on the X Factor said she has literally had her heart ripped out. Gross. And inappropriate viewing for families.”
More pertinently, of the tour, he’s tweeted: “Have arrived in Dublin to start the tour. Have a limp, a sore throat and no idea what order the show should go in. Work with me, Vicar St.”
That we will. The tour follows his last stint around the UK and Ireland in 2010, This Is The Show. It spawned a corresponding DVD, which was recorded at his record-breaking nine-night run at Hammersmith Apollo in London. No doubt there will be a similar release after this tour — but we see enough of him on the telly.There’s a best way to watch live comedy, and the clue’s in the name.
for the full list of dates for the Craic Dealer tour.
Dara gives his opinion on Christmas cracker jokes -