Have you ever listened to a podcast at twice the speed?
Fast, yet still intelligible, right?
Well that’s like watching a Dara O Briain gig, or at least one of his recent Crowd Tickler performances in Newcastle.
When you travel 123 miles (one way) and book a hotel for a show, you want a performance to be good. Not that phoned-in nonsense i’ve seen from some comedians over the years.
With 1,900 people in one venue, I imagine my wife and I weren’t the only ones who trekked to see the Mock the Week host in action.
I’d interviewed Dara a couple of years ago about that maths strand he does on Dave; a highlight of my career. I’d also seen his stand-up show on TV and wondered whether he’d be as good in the flesh.
Like a chunky Ferrari going flat out for the duration, he went from nought to hilarious in seconds. No support act. Just a lightning fast intro and the obligatory chat with the front row to get some comedy context for the rest of the gig.
A bunch of robot technicians were like catnip to the Irish funnyman; his face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning when Dara realised he had such rich material to work with.
Powering through the first half, he fired off the essential observational gags that touch a chord with the masses (the sudden omnipresence of pulled pork in pubs and restaurants left me nodding), and by the interval I felt like I’d had my money’s worth.
The second act was also side-splitting. A skit on pole dancers left me gasping for breath it was so well executed.
Some say comedians are born not trained. Maybe so, but a smart brain, that comedic face and perfectly timed physical gags left me in no doubt that Dara is currently in the top five of UK stand ups.
The man did not disappoint, working his derrière off throughout and yet remaining personable. Some comics drop F bombs like Tourettes-suffering bomber pilots with itchy trigger fingers. For me it compromises the integrity of a well written show, albeit with ad-libs. Dara kept it edgy but without sounding like a pre-bleeped pre-watershed show about Morse code.
Seen after a bad week, O Briain did me a world of good.
Would I see it again and travel 246 miles for the privilege?
In a heartbeat.
:: Dara O Briain: Crowd Tickler tour runs until the end of May.