David O'Doherty, Greenwich Comedy Festival, London
While this easygoing Irishman performs, we witness day turning to night through the windows of his ornate venue. As the day goes through its motions from its extremes of light and dark so O'Doherty shows us the extremes of his act, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
In 2008, the year that O'Doherty won the if.comedy award, the comic adopted the idea of introducing himself from the sound desk as his own hype man. This ruse, which he has wisely kept, was instrumental in giving some momentum to his lo-fi act an act that, is in his own words, is exciting in the way cake is exciting and not the way a bag of drugs is exciting.
A loveable cross between TV's "ALF the alien" and "that bloke from Quantum Leap", the bowl-haired comic demands to be indulged though this can't forgive him an love duet imagined to be between him and Shakira, which seems to only rely on the fact the tryst is unlikely.
Elsewhere, O'Doherty's reliance on what he sees as the inherent humour of a situation fares better, a child's overheard expression of boredom in a library reading ("does this get good soon?") or the muted reception of a Dutch crowd to his comedy. But while gently amusing he's best when he is serving himself up directly. On the matter of The Sun labelling itself "Ireland's Biggest Opinion", he asks what is a big opinion – is it that "sandwiches don't exist!" perhaps?
An uppity O'Doherty is a fun thing to behold and he'll always factor in his "beefs" in a song towards the end, cataloguing what has been bugging him this year (comedians who are deemed controversial being one of them). Elsewhere, such ebullience is balanced by him giving out advice about bicycle maintenance, something he does because he says that, other than comedy, it's the only tangible thing he can offer. Self-effacing and practical then and something that doesn't end up being simply a novelty because it offers him opportunities to riff, more spokes to his wheel so to speak.
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