05 May 2012

The patron saint of strangers pissing in your front garden

David O'Doherty Is Looking Up
Downstage
12 Cambridge Tce
Wellington
4 May 2012

This year's comedy festival, or the Wellington portion of it at least, lacks a wide smattering of the usual stars from the British comedy circuit. But the vagrant raconteur / busker / craic pusher David O'Doherty made yet another pilgrimage to the capital, for which he is to be saluted. I first saw him here in 2006, and then again at the Greenwich Comedy Festival in September 2010, and his brand of elliptical not-quite-shaggy-dog stories interspersed with pop-culture references and daft songs on his trademark Casio portable keyboard remains as entertaining as ever.

The title of the show references a recent break-up, and some of the material flirts with the stasis of self-pity (earning heartfelt 'aww' noises from ladies in the audience) and jealousy at new partners of old girlfriends. But despite this occasionally bleak backdrop, the performance sees O'Doherty at his wry, absurdist best. He flits between all or perhaps none of the following: his 72-year-old dad's pretend ignorance of the paraphernalia of electronic transactions; his life-long fear of mice, the tyranny it has wreaked over his psyche, and the guerrilla warfare he waged against a particular mouse called Ringo last Boxing Day; the joys of harassing 'the only Protestant in the street' only to be told by your mum that you're actually a Protestant too; and, hilariously, his skewering of the misery endured by watchers of prime-time TV in New Zealand, who have to put up with sneering put-downs of amateur singers, dancing with fake celebs and 'four blokes sitting in a room with no ties on talking about sport but not actually playing any clips of sport - that's not television, that's radio'. I also particularly enjoyed his definition of St Patrick as 'the patron saint of strangers pissing in your front garden'.

O'Doherty, the gifted co-author of seminal reference tomes on both pandas and sharks, and quite possibly the wayward son of Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannen Doherty and indie junkie nob-end Pete Doherty, plays one more Wellington show tonight, and then proceeds to Auckland for a similar run. See him if you can before he flees back to the welcoming balm of the rainy Irish summer; or, failing that, fly to Ireland and attempt to run into him, preferably whilst he's wearing the prized pair of shorts that he bought in Wellington ($69 for two pairs, and he gave the second pair back because realistically an Irishman will never ever need more than one pair of shorts).



See also:

David O'Doherty - NZ Comedy Festival 2008


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