David O’Doherty has been one of the safest bets of the Comedy Festival since his first trip to Melbourne in 2006.
That’s not a disparaging comment; rather the opposite. The Irishman never fails to create a constantly funny show, and his self-confessed brand of “whimsical musical comedy” is always one of the festival’s top sellers.
This year, the newly bearded O’Doherty is angry. All the institutions he had faith in growing up in Dublin, he says, have lost him.
“The government is corrupt, the banks lied to the government and the church is just the church,” he rages.
The comedian’s last show in Melbourne, David O’Doherty is Looking Up, was a darker-than-expected piece about the ending of a long-term relationship and wallowing in self-pity.
Despite his early rant, Seize the David O’Doherty is a random collection of thoughts and songs. He has gags about binge drinking, his disdain for celebrity culture and his most hated Australian expression, “too easy.” Illegal downloading, too, gets his goat – more than 9,400 people downloaded his latest album and by his reasoning he could be $94,000 richer (“do you think I’d be here playing in this shithole if I had $94,000?”)
O’Doherty is a charming and accomplished stand-up comedian but really excels when he picks up his miniature electronic keyboard. This year, he has a song about his short legs, and another about the traits he’s after in his next girlfriend (she needs to be a competent badminton player and preferably own a tumble dryer).
The comedian even generates laughs from his self-made backdrop – ‘D O’D’ spelt out in masking tape across the stage curtain – when the ‘O’ begins to fall halfway through the show.
With more than 150 shows at the festival, investing more than $30 for a ticket to just one can be a hard decision. But O’Doherty is yet to disappoint and in terms of a laugh-per-minute ratio – you’ll be hard pressed to find a better comedian.