‘This is going to be ... magical’

Dara O Briain
Dara O Briain

Dara O Briain is a household name these days thanks to his television appearances.

However the Irishman’s entertainment roots lie in stand-up comedy and it’s these very roots that he is currently returning to as he tours the UK with his brand new show.

Three years after his last stand-up tour, Dara is performing ‘Crowd Tickler’ at venues across the country and he comes to the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline on Wednesday, April 8.

And after the break, the comedian and television presenter is looking forward to being back on the stage.

He said:“The other day I sat in an empty theatre thinking ‘I just love these rooms’.

“I’m on the board of the Theatres Trust in order to protect these wonderful buildings.

It still gives me such a thrill to walk on stage. The waves of laughter are a huge rush ...

Dara O Briain

“It’s not about nimby-ism; it’s because I adore these places. It still gives me such a thrill to walk on stage. When you arrive at an empty theatre, the potential is immense. You think ‘this is going to be magical’.

“Then when the show starts and you hear those waves of laughter in the auditorium, it’s just so enjoyable. It’s a huge rush.”

In recent years, Dara has been spending a lot of time in television studios, appearing presenting the likes of ‘Mock the Week’’, ‘The Apprentice: You’re Fired!’ and ‘Star Gazing Live’.

He’s also appearing in the programme ‘Dara and Ed’s Great Big Adventure’ that’s currently being aired on BBC2. It features Dara and fellow comedian and his good friend Ed Byrne following in the footsteps of three ‘fools’, travelling by car from Detroit to Tierra del Fuelgo, the most southerly tip of South America.

During his stand-up, Dara enjoys rapid-fire exchanges with his fans and delivers a mixture of witty, daring, thought-provoking and hilarious anecdotes.

And he relishes the spontaneity of being live on stage.

He explained: “I love the fact that you can shape the entire evening by thinking on your feet. If Plan A doesn’t work, you have to come up with Plan B immediately.”

He describes his improvised riffing with the audience as being “like walking a tightrope”.

“The audience love it because they can see you’ve got nothing up your sleeve and that things could very easily go wrong,” he said.

“They realise that this could go anywhere. You’re not given any easy ride.

“When I’m questioning the audience, my stance is not ‘how can I mock this person?’, it’s ‘I am an eight-year-old meeting this person for the first time. What aspects of them do I want to talk and enthuse about?”

No matter where he is appearing the comedian explained that audiences never let him down.

He said: “Everyone has something to give me. The other day this guy in the audience told me he had a very dull sounding job in HR. He said he was the comptroller - no one ever knows what that means.

“But it then emerged that in fact he worked in HR for a chocolate company. So I came up with the idea that he would put a large bowl of chocolate down on the desk in front of a potential employee, and then turn away.

“When he turned back, if the potential employee hadn’t got chocolate all over his face, then he’d get the job.

“If you can survive in an arena of grab-able chocolate without taking any, then you’re the man for the job.”

So what can those attending next week’s show at the Alhambra expect?

Dara continued: “I’ll be talking about the awkward conversations we will have about grandchildren about all the resources we’ve used up and all the wonderful advances we’ve casually wasted, like Concorde and the space shuttle.”

The comedian will also be tackling the subject of “an angel therapist who is leading a campaign to remove fluoride from the water in Ireland because she thinks it’s poisoning the nation. For sheer energy, you have to admire her campaign.”

Dara is a graduate from University College Dublin in maths and theoretical physics and he’s drawn on that background for shows like ‘Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums’ and ‘Dara O Briain’s Science Club’.

Despite his clever routines, Dara underscores that the show is first and foremost about jokes, so what does he hope people will take away from ‘Crowd Tickler’.

“It’s great to tackle subjects that are more thought provoking, but I have this dread that people will go ‘Oh Dara’s show - there’ll be some bit where he bores us with some science thing’,” he said.

“I hope they’re unable to talk because I beaten them over the head with so much humour and punched them repeatedly in the face with jokes - that’s my aim!

“I want them spent. I want them silently driving back home absorbing it all, while I’m left in the empty theatre quietly wiping the make-up off my face in a mirror surrounded by light bulbs.

“I make points here and there, but that’s secondary.

“Above all, I hope that it’s a great night’s entertainment. I hope people walk out and say ‘Dara’s still got it. I hope he doesn’t leave it another three years!’ If they do that, then I will be delighted.”

Dara O’Briain is at theAlhambra Theatre on Wednesday, April 8