Arts & Entertainment

Comedy Genius

Dara Ó Briain has become one of the UK’s most in-demand hosts and comedians thanks to his unique fusion of scientific facts with hilarious stories. Next week Sydneysiders will have the opportunity to experience his supersonic wit and provocative observations first hand when he arrives at the State Theatre with his latest live show, Voice Of Reason.

Ó Briain has been developing, performing and tweaking Voice Of Reason since October of 2017. So by the time it arrives in Sydney, it will have been performed and revised over 170 times. This process of revision is something which Ó Briain said brings him great joy.

“One of the joys of comedy is dropping things when new funny things take over. The weird thing about stand-up is that there are some stories you enjoy telling forever, but there are also stories that you enjoy telling 40 times before you get bored with them.”

After all of these performances though Ó Briain told City Hub that he still carries “the same piece of paper from night one in my pocket” as a sort of security blanket.

“That’s just something I’ve done for years… I can only remember one time that I had to use it, which was after an extended break of not performing. I got to a bit where I genuinely went ‘what the hell is next’ and had to look at the paper. When I looked though I realised bizarrely that the next part was focusing on Brexit, of all the many things that you’d like to forget in this part of the world.”

When speaking with Ó Briain last week the excitement in his voice was obvious as he spoke quickly, jumping from one funny story to the next. When asked to explain his excitement Ó Briain said, “touring Australia is the fun part that you keep for the end of these long tours as a reward to yourself for having dragged your sorry ass around the middle of the UK.”

Looking back to when he first started in stand-up Ó Briain never even considered the idea that he would make a lifetime career out of comedy, let alone be afforded the opportunity to travel the world. In fact, Ó Briain told City Hub that the main driving emotion for him to even attempt stand-up initially was envy.

“I was doing a degree in science and my university would hold these debates where someone would argue their case for a particular topic. I envied everyone who was able to do it… I’ve since found that envy is a great emotion to force people to get things done.”

Once the envy became undeniable Ó Briain would get on stage for the first time, surprisingly receiving a laugh and round of applause from the audience. A moment which he still remembers vividly, “I remember at the time thinking it was like the first hit of a drug, and honestly, I think I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.”

Without that initial gratification from the audience’s laughter, Ó Briain is unsure if he would still be performing today.

“I don’t think the idea of somebody failing year after year and then one day it all clicks and changes everything ever really happens… The depths of comedy are quite crushing so you need to have something bolstering your fragile confidence at the start.”

Thanks to his success as a stand-up comedian Ó Briain has been able to segue into a number of other fields which leverage off of his previous mathematics and theoretical physics education. Back home in the UK Ó Briain has written two children’s science books and is one of the most in-demand television hosts, hosting BBC Two’s hugely successful Mock The Week, Stargazing Live, Robot Wars and Dave’s Go8Bit.

In closing out our conversation with Ó Briain he wanted to reassure Sydney fans that they needn’t be worried about his performance despite having not performed in the UK all summer.

“I’m drumming on the table to get back up there, and although I haven’t done it all summer don’t worry about me being rusty after that break because that’s Brisbane’s problem. By the time I get to the State Theatre, the show will be back to its slick, polished perfection.”

Sep 13-14. State Theatre, 49 Market St, Sydney. $79.90-$89.90+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.statetheatre.com.au

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