Irish comedian Dara O Briain says there’s no better source of comedic gold than a live audience.
Labelled the king of audience interaction, O Briain’s stand-up style involves a lot of improvisation as he mines the crowds for wacky stories.
He claims audiences are much funnier than he is, using simple mathematics to support the theory.
“Say there’s 2000 people in the room,” O Briain begins.
“I know I’m good at telling stories. I tell stories for a living. I am 10 times better than anyone in the audience at telling stories.
“But there are 2000 people in the audience, which means the audience are 200 times better than me.
“No matter how good I am, there is a reservoir of stuff out there and I would be a fool not to tap into it. And so I start asking questions.”
O Briain says when he asks questions, he rarely ever gets nothing from the audience and there’s always bound to be at least one ultra-crazy tale in the mix.
He recalls how once, at a show in Coventry, he asked if anyone had ever interrupted a crime.
One proud punter shared an anecdote about catching someone stealing his car. He dragged the would-be thief out of the car and into his house, tied him up, then called the police.
“Some car thief has gone ‘This will be a really easy one’, then ends up five minutes later in a Reservoir Dogs situation,” O Briain laughs.
O Briain will, of course, share some of his own stories as well, like the time he almost died in a river in Africa while working for Comic Relief. The rafting accident in the Zambezi River ended with the stocky comedian clinging to a tree for 40 minutes waiting to be rescued.
O Briain is one of the most recognisable faces on British TV, hosting the hugely successful Mock the Week panel show, The Apprentice — You’re Fired! and Dara O Briain’s Science Club on the BBC, plus Dara O Briain: School of Hard Sums on Dave. The fast-talking comedian, who studied mathematical physics at university, also co-hosts BBC’s astronomical show Stargazing Live.
Stargazing Live was the original reason for travelling to Australia this year, with the latest instalment set to be broadcast live from Australia this month.
The crew will film the southern skies from a prime spot near Dubbo. O Briain’s co-host Professor Brian Cox will stay on in Australia to film an Australian version of the series for the ABC.
Being so busy with TV and stand-up gigs in the UK and Ireland as well as having a young family meant O Briain hadn’t been able to tour Australia in 16 years.
His last appearances Down Under were at Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Adelaide Fringe at start of the millenium. He’s always wanted to come to WA and will perform in Perth for the first time next month.
After performing at Sydney Opera House then Melbourne International Comedy Festival, O Briain plans to arrive in Perth a day early to do a little research and “plunge into the night life of Perth” before he takes to the Riverside stage to exchange rapid-fire quips with the WA crowd.
“There’ll be a lot of audience messing around. There’ll be a lot of interaction,” he says.
“It’s a live medium in which ludicrous things happen in the room.
“People have stories that they want to tell. You can see people being nudged by their other half, saying ‘Go on, tell them that story’.”