By Avril HORAN
For comedian David O’Doherty, all ghosts “sound a bit Welsh”. We uncover this fascinating tidbit at a comedy show held in the King’s Head Ruby Room as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. His unique style of stand-up has won him international acclaim, and we had an opportunity to chat with him before he took tested out new material on the “lab rats” at this lunchtime event.
Naturally I open with the question what’s the Craic?
“It’s a tricky word,” he says, “and its very often used to describe terrible things – ‘we were only having the craic’ when someone has just taken your bed and put it on the balcony of the apartment you are staying in Spain – based on actual events”.
David worked the circuit for many years before gaining success in his own right and believes this is the key for up and coming comics.
“There is no such thing as an 18-year-old wonder Ronaldo kid of comedy,” he says. “You have to die hundreds of times and have terrible experiences. Hopefully you will learn something from it. I have died hundreds of times horrifically in tiny gigs in Dublin, just around the corner from where I lived.
“The fact that no one really noticed what I was doing for five years, or cared, gave me a chance to develop. Now, people go on TV after they have been doing stand-up for a year and the audience thinks ‘they are going to be brilliant’ at a live show. They go and it turns out to be bad. It takes years to be any good at stand-up.”
He is working his “toosh” off for a new show that he will take to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to two weeks time. We were his willing “lab rats” as he joked, sang and played the keyboard to find out if his new material is hitting the right note. Despite his success, David often describes himself as a “failed jazz musician”.
“I am terrible at the piano,” he says. “I have played it professionally on stage now for twelve years and I am not getting any better. My father is a proper musician and you would think that some of it would have passed down through the genes. But nothing has whatsoever. I am better at football than him, I am taller than him!” he jokes. I point out that at least David has a very impressive beard. “He could do a beard,” he says of his father, “but he is 77 and might look a bit ‘Santa Claus’ at this point.
While he is a confirmed Dub, he has strong roots to the west as his granny was from Achill and, as such, he considers himself to be “partly Mayo”. The family “went there every year on holidays” and so familiar is he with the route from east to west, he can remember every town, and every place “where it was ok to pee and to poop”.
Despite his lineage, he has not gigged in Achill and that “is my next career ambition.” “Very few go there,” he explains, “apart from weird Irish country and western acts. It is my next big dream. If you can make it in Achill, you can make it along any of the other islands along the west coast.”