Wednesday last week marked 30 months of marriage for Christine and I. Co-incidentally, the Irish comic Dara Ó Briain was performing his latest show Crowd Tickler in Halifax on the same day, and a handful of tickets were still available the week before, so we went to see him.
This was the second time we’d seen Dara in Halifax; we also saw his previous show, Craic Dealer, a few years ago. If I’m honest, I was a bit disappointed with Craic Dealer, having not found it as funny as some of Dara’s other material. We’d seen This is the Show (or ‘TITS’ for short) broadcast on TV, which is worth watching as and when it’s available, and we always make time to watch Mock the Week when it’s on.
Fortunately, Crowd Tickler is a great show. It’s part-improvised, based on interactions with the audience and some local factual knowledge that Dara has gleamed either through research or previous visits. If you get front row seats to one of Dara’s gigs, expect to be asked a number of questions throughout the show. Thankfully, Dara isn’t the sort of comedian to utterly ridicule you but there may be a few laughs at your expense.
My favourite routine was about TV dramas, particularly on streaming services like Netflix, and how there are so many and that they can sometimes tend towards the utterly ridiculous – ‘a Scandinavian crime drama about a detective who smells crime scenes!’. Which was funny in itself, until Dara pointed out that this is basically the plot of Marvel’s Daredevil.
And then he went about improvising our own crime drama, based on audience suggestions. So we ended up with a detective with tourettes who used to be a taxidermist, investigating a ping pong player who killed someone with a rollerskate.
Another of my favourite routines of his was about tunnel boring machines. Doesn’t sound like the most interesting subject but if you see people tweeting him ‘Poor Chuggy!’ after a gig, then you’ll know why.
Crowd Tickler is almost at the end of its run with only a few more shows left – Dara has been touring it for over a year now. There’s just a couple of UK dates, a few nights in Dublin, and then he’ll be off to tickle various European nations in the new year. Fortunately, a DVD of the show is due out in a little over a week, and based on what we saw, it should be a very good show to watch.