Comedian in Focus: David O’Doherty

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David O’Doherty is an Irish comedian, musician, writer, and the 1990 East Leinster under 14 triple jump bronze medalist (he seems very proud of that, and so he should be). He got into comedy while at Trinity College Dublin, where he wouldn’t do much work but would introduce a lot of shows. After university, he spent his time working, including one job which left him retrieving sausages from the floor of a German meat factory, while writing a children’s book which got him into writing comedy for real. His first comedy appearance was in Dublin’s Comedy Cellar in 1998 and his first proper show was The Story of the Boy Who Saved Comedy at Edinburgh Fringe.

For anyone unfamiliar with O’Doherty’s comedy, he sings accompanied by a toy keyboard from the eighties, alongside bursts of stand up, mostly of stories about his life and Dublin. He sings about lowering your expectations, someone who’s definitely not him wanking on a bike, and Shakira turning up at his place singing “David, David, King of Everything / let me feel your sexy body, let me feel your skin” while he tells her to “get a hold of your sexy South American horn for just a minute” – though sadly she’s never been able to turn up for that particular duet.

Describing his music and comedy as “very low energy musical whimsy“, he’s written a whole host of books and plays including a book called ‘100 Facts About Pandas‘ and ‘100 Facts About Sharks‘. He has released three CDs and also won awards including the If.comedy award for David O’Doherty is my name in 2008 – another show he took to the Edinburgh Fringe. Every year since then he’s been at the Fringe with a new show, before touring the world for most of the rest of the year, whilst also making TV appearances on 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind The Buzzcocks and writing crosswords for the Irish Times. He’s toured with Tommy Tiernan, Demetri Martin, and worked with Flight of the Conchords, with his CDs recorded in his bedsit flat to 35 people and Whelan’s in Dublin.

Delightfully he doesn’t play up to his Irishness – it would be so simple to, and make for such convenient stand up – instead, he just talks about what he finds funny which he sees as the key to being a good comedian. He has an almost constantly ongoing writing process, talking into his phone and writing on his hands, before doing multiple gigs to put his best material into a show. He has an entire song directed at his friend on how to get over someone, ‘Try To Think of Other Things’, with the motivational lyrics of  “Don’t listen to music or at least only instrumental music / or music with lyrics with no emotional impact whatsoever / world cup songs / ‘It Wasn’t Me’ by Shaggy / ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ actually that’s inappropriate because in the end she took his dog”.

He’s such a fantastic act to see live, even when listening to his albums his comedy shines through but there’s nothing like seeing a man in his forties on a child’s keyboard pretending to be Shakira or singing about a friend’s dog with helium in it.

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Politics and International Relations graduate, Live Editor 2016-18, now a semi-functional adult and journalist. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about the above @cmkavanagh on Twitter.

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