WHILE he is an established TV presenter and a writer of several science books and newspaper columns, Dara Ó Briain really excels as a stand-up comedian.
Renowned for his crowd work (interacting with the audience absolutely unscripted), at Thursday’s show at Live In The Marquee he managed to find someone who had just opened a rechargeable battery factory in Cork and a series of people who couldn’t seem to be able to explain what their job entailed — or if they did he couldn’t hear them as they kept whispering, all in the first half.
Finding parallels between unlikely combinations such as WWII planes and the human body is the hallmark of the quick-witted Wicklow man.
Still, this particular show entitled So... Where Were We? delves into a much more personal territory than we are used to with him, some critics have been suggesting this is the best stand-up show he has ever created.
As he joked “I wasn’t out of the house for two years, all I can write about it is me”, he delicately spoke about his journey of tracing his birth mother, while always being respectful and sensitive to the experiences of the women whose babies were taken from them, he adroitly managed to glean punchlines from the unlikeliest of scenarios.
Of particular note was how he recounted his time spent tracking down his original birth cert — the ‘Irish Solution To An Irish Problem’ of dealing with the rules and bureaucracy — and with a particular nod to the Cork audience the fact he could have also got Roy Keane’s birth certificate from the same ledger!
It was only when I came off-stage that I found out I had done the Longest show of the tour tonight. Thank you for keeping with me the whole way Cork, although you are partly to blame, of course. (Second longest was Stockholm last week: time to edit!)— Dara Ó Briain (@daraobriain) June 23, 2022
Indeed Dara made a point of talking specifically about Cork including an anecdote from one of his last shows in Cork Opera House that involved the gardaí coming into the auditorium while Dara looked at the audience through the backdrop which had the crowd at the Marquee howling with laughter — and as Cork people always do, trying to work out if they know the people referred to in the story!
Later that night, Ó Briain tweeted to say it was the longest show he’d performed on the So... Where Were We? tour, which was no surprise as Dara Ó Briain had created many loose ends in the first half which he then expertly weaved together in the second half to create a night of comedy and insight that will be remembered as a benchmark for many other stand up comics to aim for.