Interview: David O’Doherty will try to fix everything

David O’Doherty is on a quest: to try and fix everything.The “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” star performed his sold-out “David O’Doherty will try to fix everything” tour live in the venue last night. He spoke to The College View about his mission to save the world – or something to that effect at least.

David O’Doherty is best known for his “Beefs” – the everyday offences that get under his skin. He shares them with the world via an angry, keyboard-accompanied, rant. But the internet of things has made first world problems so unbearable – a 4 minute, keyboard-accompanied, monotonous, post-modern, rap-like, overly-adjectified rant is no longer enough. David now spends an hour or two – it could even be three, time does not exist as we know it at an O’Doherty gig – telling the audience just what is wrong with the world in which we live.

“Spoiler alert: it’s not successful,” he says in his signature self-deprecating tone. Everything’s always a bit meh in O’Doherty land.

He’s fresh off the stage after taking on a crowd of students – blasting them for their avid social media ways – and being near-harassed by a young woman who “just loved old men – so much”.

Nothing phases him though. “People seem to think it’s brave or really hard but stand-up’s so easy. Nothing happens. Drunk people shout at you but drunk people shout at you every night of the week and you don’t s**t yourself.”

He’s just finished an interview with DCUtv where he graciously accepted a pound of raw mince so his many beefs can finally be tangible in dead animal form. But raw meat and lovers of old men are nothing to a man who’s been doing this for 14 years – and learned how to embrace the stage from his jazz musician dad.

“Not that we were that sort of showbiz ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ thing,” he adds. “Being a jazz musician, you’re just sort of used to people not liking it. So that gave me quite a bit of a thick skin. Especially when you’re starting out – you die.”

DCU students last night lapped up jokes about selfi-crazed twitterati and some ill-bred humans known as instagrammers.

David says: “We are kind of an experimental generation where we didn’t have [social media] when we were little. Now we have it and people have just sort of accepted that it’s important but it’s not.”

He’s pinning his hopes on this generation’s spawn – that they won’t have iPhones for vital organs. “In the future, the idea of people stopping, mid-conversation, to see what a bunch of strangers are saying on twitter will be deemed socially unacceptable.”

Sitting on a chair too tall for him, he’s dressed in a hoodie and runners with a miniature Casio keyboard on his lap. He swings his legs like a happy child as they dangle over the ground. He could pass for one if it wasn’t for the majestic beard he wears which appears to have a life of its own.

Innocence lost is something he tackles in his show. He says: “It’s a joke in the show, but it’s true where every single major institution that I was brought up to have belief in is just gone. The government is rubbish. The Church.”

“I said so many prayers. We used to have to say prayers for an hour a day in junior school. I could speak Japanese probably if I had been doing that instead of decades of the rosary.”

He says he doesn’t know which is more pointless now – praying or looking at people’s Instagram and Twitter.

On government, the student audience cheered when he proclaimed that, for once, you just want to see someone better than you in charge of things that affect your life. He says: “You look at them and go, ‘sure I could do that’.”

And as for newspapers – although he spends all day reading them for material, aka things to bemoan and begrudge – he’s obsessed at “just the amount of nothing” in them.

“300 word articles based around someone’s inane tweet.The Irish one from One Direction will tweet: ‘I love beans’ and then it’ll be like: ‘Niall, 22, has always had a culinary taste but now he reveals…’ You just don’t know who to believe.”

David started his career in the 90’s when the internet was still a mystical place a dial-tone away. He worked with stars like Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan and Eddie Izzard. A chance which, he says, was “inspiring”. He wouldn’t still be doing it if it was nerve wracking working with comedians as good as them.

He adds: “I know I’m really, really lucky to have a job that I would do for nothing but I manage to get paid sweet DCU millions to perform.”

It’s not just comedy he loves though. He’s the proud owner of 8 bikes and lists off the brands like they’re a camaraderie of precious pet cats.

He says: “It’s just the magic of why bicycles stay up when you’re cycling. I think I’m at my happiest when part of my body is distracted by doing something else.

“I wanted to be a professional cyclist when I was like 13 or 14. But then it turned out they were all of their face on drugs and that I’ve got quite short legs which none of them do. So it wasn’t ever really going to happen.”

What did happen, though, was a successful career as a children’s author. He admits he kind of “went sideways from doing readings for kids to comedy”. His next furor into fiction is ‘Danger Is Out’, set for release next Summer.

He explains: “It’s a book for 7-9 years olds warning you of made up dangers that don’t exist in the world – like sharks coming up out of the toilet. The book is very serious but then all the stuff in it is total rubbish. There’s a snake called the toothbrush snake which crawls into your bathroom and lies beside your toothbrush and if you’re not paying attention it shoots up your nose.”

He seems happiest in the zany world of snakes, bikes and toilet sharks but nothing will stop him from getting audiences in dark rooms to laugh at their lives. He’s playing the Just For Laughs Comedy festival in Montreal next summer and has appearances set for Comedy Central’s Alternative Laughs.

In true O’Doherty style, he declines an offer for an interview with DCUfm, stating: “I can’t help all of you.” And with a dismissive wave of the hand he’s gone. Off on a bike. With keyboard and beard in tow.

Mary McDonnell

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