Saturday February 04 2012 8:00 PM
David O’Doherty is the stage name of David O’Doherty: comedian, flanneur and 1990 East Leinster under 14 triple jump bronze medalist.
He was born in Dublin at the end of 1975. He wanted to become a professional cyclist, then a professional jazz musician, but an almost complete lack of talent in these areas meant that he became a professional telemarketer, ringing up strangers to ask them to rate things out of ten.
Then in 1998 he did his first open spot at the now defunct Norseman Comedy Club in Dublin's unfortunate Temple Bar district. In 1999 he travelled to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time and was lucky enough to win the Channel 4 So You Think You're Funny? competition and with it a huge cardboard cheque with £1500 written on it. Somebody told him it was legal tender, so he took it into a bank which made the cashier almost weep with laughter. Seriously, she got the other people from round the back to come out and laugh at me. That's the main thing he remembers about that.
In 2000 he wrote a book for children, Ronan Long Gets it Wrong that Mammoth Storybooks in London published. He performed his first full show The Story of the Boy Who Saved Comedy at the Dublin and Edinburgh Fringes where it received a nomination for Perrier Best Newcomer. It was a long winded narrative about a boy searching to find the jokes to put in his father's Christmas crackers that should probably have been another children's book rather than a show for grown ups. Some nights it really worked and they were among the most fun nights he has had in comedy. Other nights it tanked. Absolutely tanked. Once, during the Edinburgh run the entire audience of five people, all of whom had won their tickets through a radio giveaway, walked out.
He spent 2001 contemplating whether he really wanted to be a stand up comedian and cycling in France. He wrote some cartoons for German children's television and a book that is still on his computer. He did a university stand up tour with Noel Fielding where, one night, the audience hated them so much, a man shouted, “STOP CONFUSING ME.” All in all, a tricky time.
But then in 2002 he went to Edinburgh with a new show "small things", met comedians such as John Oliver, Bret McKenzie, Taika Cohen, Andy Zaltzman, Josie Long, Jemaine Clement and Daniel Kitson each doing wonderful and unique things, and decided that he definitely did want to be a stand up comedian.
At the end of 2002 he preformed Saddled with his friend Bryan Quinn at Project Arts Centre in Dublin. It is the first theatrical show anywhere ever to feature live repair of audience member's bicycles.
03/04 were spent travelling around to festivals in Melbourne, Montreal, New York, Kilkenny and Edinburgh. Gerry Mallon gave him his first headline spot at the Comedy Club in Galway and he supported musical acts such as David Kitt. He wrote a radio series The Bees of Manulla with his brother Mark for Irish radio which ended up being horribly record and sounding terrible. He wrote a new stand up comedy show David O'Doherty Creates Something New Under the Sun which was based on a short story he had written about a lobster called Shelly. Recently animator Johnny Kelly has made a much better version of it as an animated short film. You'll find it here: http://www.flasher.com/view_video.php?profile_id=447
In 2005 he supported Tommy Tiernan and Rich Hall on tours of Ireland and the UK. He learned a lot from them.
His 2006 show David O'Doherty is my name was nominated for the if.comedy Award at The Edinburgh Fringe and was performed in Dublin, Melbourne and New Zealand. He recorded his first live album in front of 35 people in his flat. That autumn he toured America with Demetri Martin.
2007 saw his first major Irish tour and a series of documentaries, The Modest Adventures of David O'Doherty on Irish television. As a part of the series he released a single, Orange which reached number 30 in the Irish charts. This was regarded as a failure as the aim had been to get it to 27.
In 2008 his new stand up show Let’s Comedy was performed in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and at the Edinburgh Fringe, where it received the if.com Award for Best Show. That Autumn he toured across Canada with the Just For Laughs roadshow, at one stage getting so drunk he made out with an actual frozen fish. He also performed his first play for kids I CAN’T SLEEP with Maeve Higgins.
2009 saw the launch of the book 100 Facts About Pandas, co-written with his friends Mike Ahern and Claudia O’Doherty. There’s a great website for it here: www.100factsaboutpandas.com . It’s coming out in America in 2010. He also appeared in a feature film A Film With Me in It along with his brother Mark and Dylan Moran and did lots of comedy gigs, including his first major UK tour. He recorded a new album Let’s David O’Doherty in Dublin.
His main plans for 2010 include a world tour and a new children’s book. Please hassle him about this if you meet him. Say, “How is that kids’ book coming along?” Then, if he pauses, punch him and run away.