Does anyone remember Echo Island? The Irish television show, which was not just entertaining, but educational too. A parents dream, and a child’s, as you secretly hoped the cameras would come out to your school or house.
The show featured many presenters who were in their formative years in the Irish media, and went on to become household names. Derek Mooney, Carrie Crowley and Peter O’Meara (the Dentist, Season 4 Love/Hate) were just some of the stars who entertained us children and continue to do so, as well as O’Briain of course.
O’Briain has come a long way since Echo Island, and indeed has even moved island and relocated to London. He is a household name both here and in the UK with his likeable personality and sharp wit. Not content with just doing stand-up comedy, Dara also fronts the hugely popular and successful panel show Mock The Week amongst many other shows such as The Apprentice: You’re Fired, Stargazing Live, Dara O’Briain: School of Hard Sums.
2015 will see the airing of Dara’s new show which also features close friend, comedian and fellow Irish man, Ed Byrne. It sees the pair travelling along the Pan American Highway, one of the world’s greatest roads. The journey was originally completed in 1940 by three men, Sullivan Richardson, Arnold Whitaker and Kenneth Van Hee from Detroit. Now comes the turn of two Irishmen to explore how this famous road helped transform America.
But now for O’Briain’s live show, Crowd Tickler. For years, I had heard about Vicar Street, a venue located in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties. Going through the doors, I could finally see what the fuss was about. It’s a wonderful venue, that can be packed yet retain an intimate feel. It reminded me of Dublin’s Laughter Lounge located on Eden Quay.
Just before 8:45, Dara made his appearance, as he danced onto the stage. Suited and booted he began by regaling us of his thoughts TV3’s Toy Show offering, which he had happened to catch the first half hour of. It was baffling to him, he explained, that not only was Ireland the only country to have a Toy Show, but that there was two of them now.
The show was high energy, and even had some dance moves incorporated into it. However, despite being a father of two, there was no ‘Dad dancing’.
The show was filled with audience engagement, something which O’Briain is really on point with. The front row provided him with gags, including one man who was a Garda and another who worked for the PSNI.
With water charges still presenting problems, it was no surprise that the audience had a cheeky ‘boooo’ when Dara decided to drink some water, yet laughter ensued when he spat it out in jest. Dara has this wonderful raw honesty, and nearly says what you might be thinking except don’t dare say it.
His appeal ranges across the board, and this was reflected in the audience last night, with a broad range of ages enjoying his comedy. O’Briain is playing a number of dates in Vicar Street both over the next few days and in 2015, as well as touring and continuing with Mock The Week. Judging by the reaction on the night, the crowd was well and truly tickled.