David O’ Doherty Will Fix Everything
★★★★★ (out of five)
Until August 26
TODAY at Pleasance Courtyard the atmosphere was charged and it was clear why. Dubliner David O’ Doherty has built something of a stellar reputation in Edinburgh for almost a decade and a half.
It was, by his own admission, a slightly cleaned-up show as the 37-year-old’s parents had flown over from Ireland for the gig. But it didn’t affect the laughter rating an inch, perhaps suggesting how the Dubliner, like the best, doesn’t need to go beyond the pale.
Reflecting on the 1990s and his youth was comedy gold that clearly stuck a chord with his mainly 30-something audience.
O'Doherty lamented how an evening down the pub was once upon a time spent talking nonsense (Wesley Snipes was once in Emmerdale) or, as O’ Doherty put it, ‘sh**te talking’.
However all this fun has been ruined by people checking facts on their smart-phones. It was followed by a timely moment where he caught someone down the front texting, in his typical self depreciating manner he appealed that they were missing some ‘good stuff’.
Bikes have been a staple for the stand-up as are his trademark comedy keyboard anthems. This time he sang of a frisky Dublin cyclist which had the audience roaring. But it wouldn’t be O’Doherty without the expression of some disappointment with the human condition, if only to end on a more triumphant note.
Undoubtedly one of his biggest lows of late was the fall of Lance Armstrong; he told embarrassing stories of standing by the hero that spoke of miracles but were really lies. O’ Doherty takes it further revealing how all the institutions he grew up with - from government to church - have let him down.
But he shouldn’t be too downhearted because comedy like this is perhaps one of the last places where a room full of people can share some good old-fashioned laughter, social interaction and a sense of the wider world unlike those, as O’Doherty suggests, who present a heightened but questionable version of life on social media.
"You only feel lonelier" he offers; he might be right. His tales of the characters around recession-hit Dublin are really what community is about, such as the old man he meets that puts on his best suit and hat to go and buy sausages.
On this form the Fringe veteran is at his best; don’t miss him.