Sometimes comedy just makes you happy. Coming out of David O’Doherty’s latest show, I have a kind of inside glow, a feeling that our messed up world is maybe kind of OK, maybe even kind of awesome, after all. That’s a pretty good result for an hour sitting in the Forum Theatre listening to a man talk about nothing in particular.
Cheery, idiosyncratic and as Irish as blarney, O’Doherty has been a regular at the Melbourne Comedy Festival for years. He is best known for his charmingly peculiar brand of musical comedy, which will often see him delivering one-liners while jamming on a tiny electric keyboard.
In Seize the David O’Doherty (Carpe DO’Diem), his focus is more heavily on stand-up (although his other hallmark, inserting his name into show titles in ingenious ways, seems to have reached new heights). Not that the keyboard’s been left behind – he opens with it and returns to it for the occasional song – but mostly he spends his time on stage simply talking.
It’s casual, warm and very engaging, at the same time as O’Doherty is bouncing with energy. The quirk is strong in him as always. His material covers many anecdotes about the slightly odd, from caring for a friend’s pet stick insect to the difficulty of finding a manly flavour of cake. Even when he goes into more familiar stand-up subjects, such as smartphones or looking for love, there is a freshness to his perspective. You get the feeling O’Doherty could talk about anything at all and make it hilarious.
Part of O’Doherty’s charm is the comforting sense of realness you get from him. As much as he uses whimsy and exaggeration ad absurdum as comic devices, his outlook is fundamentally down-to-earth and universally relatable. Then too, there is his mighty enthusiasm. It infects everyone and everything. The pleasure he takes in everyday things makes these little things entertaining. The sheer amount of fun he has singing a dirty song about an unseemly act on a bicycle makes what could have been sordid seem merely cheeky, even bizarrely noble. Even when he rants, it is with exuberant joy in ranting.
Carpe DO’Diem played at Edinburgh last year, although it sounds like the content has evolved since then into something almost completely different. O’Doherty is certainly very good at relating his material to the local audience, which is yet another refreshing thing about his approach.
I could rave on and on about how much I enjoyed the show but if you want to listen to raving, I recommend O’Doherty’s over mine. If you get a chance to see this show, seize it, it’s a winner.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival proudly presents
Seize the David O'Doherty (Carpe DO'Diem)
Venue: Forum Theatre – Upstairs | Cnr Flinders & Russell Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 28 Mar – 21 Apr, 2013
Tickets: $28 – $38
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013
Part of the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival