Dara O’Briain & Friends – Benefit for the Irish Cultural Centre

My friend and I had a deal. A couple of years ago I wanted to go and see The Jesus Lizard but had no one to go with. No one had heard of them. no one wanted to go. So I bought my mate a ticket on the understanding that if he wanted to go to a gig in the future but needed someone to go with then i would go to it, whatever it was.

Last week he bought 2 tickets to Dara O’Briain at The Palace Theatre, and as it had almost sold out we got our own box. This was much different to the usual spit and sawdust comedy nights I usually go to.

We got there, and ordered our incredibly expensive drinks as well as pre-ordering our interval drinks and headed to our lovely little box. The evening started off with some fiddle-dee-dee music from “Four Men And A Dog” and continued with some Riverdancing types with lights on their shoes (who I have to admit were excellent!)

Dara, our compere came on, and did a cracking set to warm up the crowd for what was to come. He spent a lot of time on a story about how he had saved 2 people’s lives and asked the audience if they had done the same, which resulted in some great banter. Jason Byrne was up next. I had only seen him on TV before (in fact that goes with everyone on the bill) and hadn’t paid him that much attention but he did a cracking show. We had a little more fiddle-dee-dee and then it was the interval.

Dara came on to apologise for the late start of the second half but apparently there was a “fracas” at the bar, and he sarcastically thanked the largely Irish crowd for reinforcing national stereotypes. Andrew Maxwell was up next and, again, I hadn’t paid him too much attention before, but he is certainly someone I would see again. I was very excited that the “secret special guest” was Tommy Tiernan. I have seen him on TV a few times and have been wanting to see him live for ages!

He came on to the stage, punctuating his punchlines with kung fu kicks. His material addressed his own problems with his own mental illness and had a very touching story about his younger brother with cerebral palsy and his dad’s reaction when discovering a possibly mentally ill baboon in a safari park. Brilliant stuff. Strangely there was a shouting man on our floor (luckily we were safe in our box). I’m not sure what he was angry about. Could he have misinterpreted Tommy’s jokes and got offended? Or (more than likely) could he have been the man causing the fracas in the bar earlier? Either way Tommy cracked on, and possibly didn’t even notice this commotion.

The show ended with a little more hip hop riverdancing and fiddle-dee-dee followed by a an informal chat between the 4 comedians. What surprised me more was that the very end of the show had Jason Byrne in just trousers and vest riverdancing round the stage solo and very competently too. I got my video fired up for this, but the bloomin’ file got corrupted. Damn.

Dara tweeted later that had been threatened after the gig by someone who wanted to punch him. Either this was a surprisingly violent crowd who just don’t like jokes, or the fracas / shouting man had struck again!

It was a nice close to my week of gigs, and I skipped all the way home.

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