Especially since winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2008 (then known as the if.comedy Award), David O’Doherty has been one of the most recognisable faces on the circuit. The Irish stand-up is regularly on tour in the UK and performing acclaimed shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, and his distinctive brand of comedy – complete with mini electronic keyboard – has won accolades and attention all around the world.
Nearing the end of his current tour, with a show optimistically titled YOU HAVE TO LAUGH, O’Doherty performed a winning combination of stand-up and songs at Warwick Arts Centre, with the result being a delightful two hours in the company of him and his toy instrument-driven tunes.
Those tunes included a musical message to his 18-year-old self and a song which was originally conceived, he deadpanned, as a duet with Shakira. But while these ditties were entertaining – few things are more guaranteed to make people of a certain vintage laugh nostalgically than pressing the demo button on a keyboard – it was O’Doherty’s stand-up where he really shone, with such wide-ranging bits as changing vast quantities of coins just over the Irish border, and the vagaries of modern technology.
For example, the routine about discovering how his home had a mouse problem showcased O’Doherty at his whimsical best, fusing his love of the silly and surreal with his determination to laugh in the face of life’s most absurd and irritating challenges; weaving a peculiar strain of observational comedy into a joyous set by way of near-absolute positivity.
The resulting show was a gleeful tour de force, with O’Doherty’s stand-up and musical excursions neatly dovetailing to devastating effect with huge laughs and big grins guaranteed for an audience which revelled in his warm, affable set. Firmly entrenched as one of the finest acts regularly visiting these shores, it was richly deserved that O’Doherty has progressed to playing large theatre spaces, and on this evidence he’s destined to stay there for a long time to come.