Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One From The Archives - David O'Doherty

One of Ireland's genuine funny guys David O'Doherty lands in Limerick tomorrow night (Thursday). It has been quite the twelve months or so for the boy, landing the if.comedy Award at Edinburgh in the summer (that's what used to be the Perrier, you know?)

In honour of that, here's a piece from an interview I did with David two years ago for the Limerick Independent newspaper. Enjoy!

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"I can't possibly sell it; the only way to sell it is by telling you that you probably won't like it. Then you will have to go and watch it.".

I am sure that a psychoanalyst could probably read a lot more into it, but David O'Doherty is the paradoxical champ of self-promotion. The Dublin comedian sincerely tells Limerick Independent that he does not really "do" promotion, but we still manage to talk about his new TV show, new album, new shows and children's books. That is a lot of new stuff.

It is his first television series, "The Modest Adventures of David O'Doherty", that prompts the aforementioned response. The self-effacing, yet mightily cordial O'Doherty explains the series' premise: "It is a series of really stupid documentaries, where I set out to do something pointless, but do it to the extreme. One of them was to get to number 27 in the Irish singles chart, and we tried to record the worst possible Irish chart song ever. But it only got to number 30, so it was a failure!"

Said single "Orange" was lifted from O'Doherty's debut album "Giggle Me Timbers (Jokes Ahoy)", and focussed on the perils of applying too much fake tan in advance of a first date. Inspired couplets such as "Her tan had been applied by a three year old child", and "he wanted to sit with her and have a banter, but she looked like a huge bottle of Fanta", combined with a Johnny Logan-esque white-suited O'Doherty video, made sure this one was a winner.

While comedy pop is a dangerous genre (see Rolf Harris, and er, Mr Blobby), the appearance of his Casio keyboard has been integral to O'Doherty's offbeat stand up shows for a number of years now. The album, which won't be officially "launched", was released by top Dublin label, Trust Me I'm A Thief.

"It's my favourite Irish label", the chuffed O'Doherty says. "Brian who runs the label said that if I ever wanted to put something out to ask him. So I did!" The recording process was anything but conventional. "Yeah, we recorded it live in my flat one evening in front of thirty-five people. We had to borrow chairs and patio furniture from my neighbours, and we got loads of cheap beer in. We couldn't fit the mixing desk in my flat, so Brian was operating out of our neighbours!"

On top of this, O'Doherty didn't know any of the people hanging about his home. "I couldn't ask my friends, as they must be sick of my comedy. So we made these really ambiguous posters about a David O'Doherty show and stuck them up around town. We got a lot of responses, and went with the least loony! The people seemed very nice. Someone even wrote "thanks very much" on the tea bags!"

As with all top Irish comedians, the necessary trip to the Melbourne Comedy Festival is on the cards for O'Doherty this April. "I've done it before, and you got to do it. It's great really, just like Edinburgh but without the smell of vomit! At the moment, I'm just trying to write jokes for that".

Jokes are coming quick and fast for David, using everyday life as the pinpoint for new material. "My focus at the moment is on "Facts and Life Lessons Learned". For the past year, I write down any crappy bit of knowledge I get. For instance, I got into a taxi one day with this big rucksack that was full of stuff for recycling. The driver told me that taxi drivers always pick up people with big rucksacks because they think they are going to the airport. That's useful stuff to know"

Aside from the stand-up routine, O'Doherty has already had a children's book published and has recently been commissioned by the Project Arts Centre in Dublin to write a live Christmas show for kids. "It is a really, really stupid show about two people trying to go to sleep, but they can't because everyone is watching them", he explains.

David points to huge changes in the approaches of several comedians and wider perceptions of comedy, that can even be seen in the success of the "Orange" video that has scored close to 5,000 hits on YouTube. "Comedy is at a very interesting place at the moment. It's like where rock music was in the mid-sixties; before that there was just rock n'roll. People are starting to do things very differently, and that's where Team O'Doherty want to be".
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Tickets for tomorrow night's gig are available from Dolan's priced €15, and kick off is 8pm. To get you in the mood, here's the music vid for "Orange", which wasn't quite a hit single

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