Dara O’Briain: This Is The Show Review
Dara O’Briain had hoped to call his DVD ‘Craic Dealer’, but sadly, that was too near the knuckle for supermarket shelves.
Hosting The Apprentice: You’re Fired and starring in the Dave channel’s incessant re-runs of Mock The Week have made O’Briain appear ubiquitous, the Irishman’s easy affability rendering him Terry Wogan’s heir apparent in the UK’s affections. So it’s pleasing to affirm that he continues to successfully juggle being both a broadly popular television draw and formidable live comic.
On a set that seeks to recreate the Hollywood Bowl but O’Briain admits is closer to the opening titles of kids programme Rainbow, he bemoans the notion that comedy has had to be “nice” since “Jonathan Ross and Frankie Boyle fucked it up”. Railing against the political correctness that prompted This Morning to edit a potato famine gag from a clip, he effectively absolves himself of any accusation that he’s pandering to the mainstream.
In a similar manner, he declares himself an unabashed nerd but is swift to contextualise his nerdiness for the less scientifically inclined and non-gamers. The disc’s standout routine features him running, jumping and crouching in approximation of his hapless computer game avatar, the big man’s underrated physicality and a hefty dose of self-deprecation driving home the laughs.
Bantering with the front rows is de rigueur for most touring shows, but O’Briain spins it out to exceptional lengths for this DVD recording, observing in the extras commentary that he’s practically “his own support act”. He’s a little indulgent, certainly, but it’s an impressive display, fostering the requisite energy and warmth in the Hammersmith Apollo. Moreover, some of the ad-libbing is carefully contrived to lay groundwork for the prepared material ahead.
Delivered in his conversational style, O’Briain segues easily from an epiphany that younger women no longer see him as a sexual threat to a routine about his high cholesterol and reluctant exercise regime. Recounting his falling off his bike and visiting the chiropractor, he once again lays on the physical gambolling, all the while debunking nonsense with straightforward, bullshit-quashing commonsense.
A new age midwife certainly gives him plenty of ammunition, his induction into the parent club a great source of inspiration. But for utterly demented scientific nonsense, he rips into the apocalyptic film 2012, with an endearingly flashy callback during the encore.
Extras include a performance of the show from the more intimate surroundings of Vicar Street Theatre in Dublin; a relaxed commentary from O’Briain with fellow comics Ed Byrne and Andy Parsons, in which Bryne hilariously harks back to seeing O’Briain struggle when the tour hit Cambridge; plus pirate footage of the gig from a 14-year-old boy’s mobile phone.
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