Irish comedian David O’Doherty, along with his glued together plastic keyboard from 1985, return to Perth this weekend to bring the laughs with his brand-new show Whoa Is Me. Fresh off a spectacular 15 show run in Melbourne, and a less spectacular seven days in isolation thanks to COVID, O’Doherty takes to the Regal Theatre for two nights on Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30 as part of Perth Comedy Festival (get more info and tickets here). To find out more, MICHAEL HOLLICK caught up with David O’Doherty to discuss what audiences can expect from his upcoming shows, why the Carlton Blues should always, (well metaphorically anyway), beat the Fremantle Dockers and more.

I believe you’ve been fashionable and just got the recent bug that everyone has been talking about?

Yes, unfortunately I did get COVID. Though I did I fly 11,000 miles just to get it, so that’s something a bit special. I’ve been quarantined to my hotel room for the last week, which in my head I think is like that scene in Oliver. The one where he is looking through the window out onto all the people rushing about their busy lives. That was me. Staring out the window. Particularly in the middle of the excitement that the Comedy Festival brings to Melbourne. And I’m not even sure how I got it. I was performing in large-ventilated rooms and I’ve had all the vaccines, and I don’t remember anyone coughing or deliberately looking shady and spluttering all over me, because that is obviously how you get it, so who knows?

When I’ve seen you previously, I’ve noted you don’t use openers. Does that not make things more difficult for you when performing?

To be honest, I actually quite enjoy starting the set to a cold audience. I like that challenge of warming the crowd up. But I usually perform my own shows, not as part of a comedy circuit, and I’ve been doing this for a while now, so my Australian audiences aren’t entirely cold now. They’re often people that have come before and think “oh he wasn’t terrible” and so they come along again.

I was also wondering, as you travel a lot and play to a lot of different audiences do you have any tricks on how best to connect with people?

Well it wouldn’t work in all situations I suppose, but I like to end my gigs by inviting the audience to a nearby local pub. And that usually works a treat. For the pub, the more run down and shabby the better I think. I like the idea that the place has nobody in it, and the staff are shutting things down for the night, and then all of a sudden, 100 plus people turn up and they have to stay open for the next few hours.

Recently you have been able to combine comedy with your first love, cycling, for the series Along For The Ride on UK’s Channel 4. Can you tell me more about the show and how that came about?

I was a keen cyclist as a kid, (cycling) was very big when I was growing up. And that led me into a job as a bike mechanic because I just love fixing things. I actually find in a way that comedy is very similar to repairing bikes. It’s about the construction and compiling of the smaller parts together to making a larger, whole thing. And this opportunity for the show came up, where I get out into some very scenic country as apparently that is what people want to see having been stuck in doors with COVID and cycle about with some comedian friends, such as Richard Ayoade and Joe Wilkinson.

Speaking of sports, I believe you’re a Fremantle Dockers fan?

Well, I might be by default now. A few years back I was doing the roadshow comedy tour of rural Western Australia and we were in that place with the big hole in the ground, Kalgoorlie, and no one told me that it actually gets bloody cold out there, it was freezing. So the next day I went to a charity store and bought a scarf to keep me warm. A photo of me and the scarf turned up on Twitter or Facebook or whatever, and someone from Fremantle reached out and said, “thanks for supporting us” and that’s when I found out it was a Fremantle Dockers scarf.

Do you follow Australian Rules then?

I’m Irish so I understand that the rest of world just don’t get sports like gaelic football. So Aussie Rules isn’t too bad. I used to do a joke where I would talk about the mascots of each team and which would win in real life, like it’s obvious a Bomber would defeat a Magpie but say its the Dockers versus the Blues, you might have a bunch of strong, ripped men from the wharf but they are no match for depression. Which reminds me that I will never forget going to one of their games, and this was back when they weren’t doing that well. They were wearing a jersey that was mainly in white with a large anchor on it, really weighing them down. It just added to their misery on the day I imagine.

And finally, I know you’re a bit of a music fan. Do you have a current favourite?

I think Stella Donnelly is absolutely amazing. I’ve used her music as backing for shows and I have seen her perform. She is really something special.

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