Laughter in The Liberties with Dara O’Briain

Image: Dara O'Briain Facebook

Image: Dara O’Briain Facebook

“And there ends my reign of terror” read the tweet sent out by Dara O’Briain just before midnight on the last of his three-night run at Vicar Street. The 136 people who ‘liked’ that tweet were dwarfed by the thousand or more people who loved his show, Crowd Tickler.

O’Briain eased the audience into the gig by embarrassing half a dozen latecomers who had to shuffle, red-faced, into their front row seats. Once everyone was buckled in, O’Briain’s comedy vehicle began to gather phenomenal speed as his mouth worked overtime to keep up with his extraordinary mind, fuelled by the raucous laughter which now filled the room.

“I’m here to own this room,” O’Briain said in a 2014 interview with BBC Radio 2, and own that room he did. Armed only with a mic and the clothes on his back, the Bray native eased through two-and-a-half hours of what appeared be a very well-polished routine while making it look entirely natural and almost impromptu.

One fan, named Robert, stood outside stroking his sore jaw. “It was jaw achingly funny – as we’ve come to expect from him, to be fair,” he said. “He was outstanding.”

Robert was not wrong. Every carefully polished gag maintained its edge, ensuring that at no point did he veer into the realm of cliché. Each joke was relatable but did not pander to the lowest common denominator. The thoughts he vocalised on stage were sharp as ever but in no way pretentious. They were made accessible by and felt personalised because of the simple fact that they were downright funny.

A gag centring around xylophones was a particular favourite among the fans. The #YouHadToBeThere trend he ran on his Twitter account after the show didn’t even come close to covering it; because you really did have to be there.

O’Briain has spent 40 nights thrashing out his show in Dublin this year, and for an ex-pat living abroad that is an unusual amount of time to spend in one’s home town. For someone who is very much associated with the British comedy circuit, he sure fits right back in on his visits home. The folks at the Whitefriar Grill and Thomas House would surely agree. Before he hopped back over the pond, O’Briain found time to endorse a couple of his favourite Liberties haunts, the Whitefriar Grill of Aungier Street and Thomas House of Thomas Street. He once again took to social media to say “Before I leave Dublin, can I just recommend the steaks at @WhitefriarGrill and the Pints at @thomashousedub.”

The DVD of Crowd Tickler is now available on Amazon and is well worth the €14. This would make a great Christmas gift for a loved one with very, very good taste.

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