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David O'Doherty

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David O'Doherty
O'Doherty performing at Bumbershoot in 2010
Birth nameDavid Nicholas Doherty[1][2]
Born (1975-12-18) 18 December 1975 (age 48)
Dublin, Ireland
MediumStand up, television
EducationTrinity College Dublin
Years active1999–present
GenresMusical comedy, Surreal humour

David Nicholas O'Doherty (/ˈdɒhərti/; born 18 December 1975)[3] is an Irish comedian, author, musician, actor and playwright and son of renowned jazz pianist Jim Doherty. His stand-up has won many international awards, including the if.comedy award in 2008[4] and Best International Comedian at the 2014 Sydney Comedy Festival.[5]

He attended Trinity College Dublin, where his comedy career began. "I spent a lot of my time introducing things", he says, "concerts and bands, that sort of thing". "I remember my brother once bet me I couldn't get the word 'spaghetti' into an introduction for a piano recital in the Edmund Burke so I stood-up and said 'my brother has bet me I can't say the word spaghetti' and I got a laugh."[6]

O'Doherty has written several books, written two plays and released three comedy CDs. His latest book for children, Danger Is Everywhere, illustrated by Chris Judge has been selected for the UNESCO Dublin, City of Literature Citywide Reading Campaign.[7] In 2015 it was published in 10 languages around the world.

He regards himself as "a failed jazz musician, scrambling about for something else to do with his life".[8]

Early life[edit]

O'Doherty's father is pianist Jim O'Doherty. His grandfather was Kevin O'Doherty, an Irish hurdles champion, and his great-grandfather was Séamus O'Doherty, a head of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.[9] He is the youngest of three children and has an older brother and sister who are seven and eight years older than him, respectively.[10]

He studied philosophy at Trinity College Dublin, where he was a member of the Jazz Society and a fake Breakdancing Society.[11]

Comedic career[edit]

O'Doherty worked in a bicycle shop and in telemarketing and temping before he made his first stage appearance at Dublin's Comedy Cellar in 1998.[12] His first full show was The Story of the Boy Who Saved Comedy which received a nomination for Perrier Best Newcomer when it was performed at Edinburgh Fringe. In 2006, he was nominated for an if.comedy award for his Edinburgh show, David O'Doherty Is My Name. O'Doherty has performed at festivals across the world in locations that include Adelaide, Melbourne, Montreal, New York City and Wellington NZ, Moscow and Iceland. As a support act he first toured Ireland with Tommy Tiernan, the United Kingdom with Rich Hall and the United States with Demetri Martin.[13] he has since returned to those places with his own tours. He has often worked with Flight of the Conchords.

in 2006 and 2008 he performed as part of the Honourable Men of Art at the Edinburgh Fringe, along with Daniel Kitson, John Oliver, Andy Zaltzman and Alun Cochrane.

In August 2008, O'Doherty won the If.comedy award at the Edinburgh Fringe for his show Let's Comedy, which featured "a relationship in text messages, tunes played on a 3ft electronic keyboard, and a badger attack".[14] He was presented with the 2008 Intelligent Finance Comedy Award[15] and a cheque for £8,000 (€10,000)[16] by the previous winner Brendon Burns and the Australian author and television presenter Clive James.

He has returned to the Edinburgh Fringe every year since with a new show, that he has toured around the world for much of the following year.

His first CD Giggle Me Timbers (Jokes Ahoy) was recorded at his bedsit flat in front of 35 people. O'Doherty's second CD release called Let's David O'Doherty was recorded at Whelan's in Dublin and released in December 2009. His third CD We Are Not The Champions was recorded in the same venue and was released in 2012.

Edinburgh Fringe shows[edit]

Year Title
2000 David O'Doherty: The Boy Who Saved Comedy
2002 David O'Doherty: Small Things
2003 David O'Doherty Creates Something New Under The Sun
2004 David O'Doherty in World Champion of Some Things
2005 David O'Doherty: Grown Up
2006 David O'Doherty Is My Name
2007 It's David O'Doherty Time
2008 David O'Doherty: Let's Comedy
2009 David O'Doherty: David O' Doh-party
2010 David O'Doherty: Somewhere Over The David O'Doherty
2011 David O'Doherty Is Looking Up
2011 David O'Doherty presents: Rory Sheridan's Tales of the Antarctica
2012 Seize the David O'Doherty (Carpe D'O'Diem)
2013 David O'Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything
2014 David O'Doherty Has Checked Everything
2015 David O'Doherty: We Are All in the Gutter, But Some of Us Are Looking at David O'Doherty
2016 David O'Doherty: Big Time
2017 David O'Doherty: Big Time
2018 David O'Doherty: You Have To Laugh
2019 David O'Doherty: Ultrasound
2022 David O'Doherty: whoa, is me
2023 David O'Doherty: Tiny Piano Man

Awards and nominations for stand-up comedy[edit]

O'Doherty has been decorated with numerous awards for his achievements in comedy. In 1999, he won the Channel 4 So You Think You're Funny Comedy Competition at the Edinburgh Fringe and was also a finalist in the BBC New Comedy Awards in the same year.[17] He has received the accolade of Hot Press Irish Comedian of the Year in 2003 and 2010. [citation needed] In 2000, he was nominated for Perrier Best Newcomer Award for his show, David O'Doherty: The Boy Who Saved Comedy [citation needed] followed in 2006 by a nomination for The if.comeddie award for his show, David O'Doherty is My Name [citation needed] He eventually won the if.comedy Award (formerly the Perrier Award) in 2008 for Let's Comedy.[18]

In 2009 O'Doherty was made honorary president of The Monumental Brass Society, after a particularly well received routine on brass rubbing at the previous year's Edinburgh Fringe. St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, is his favourite place for brass rubbing.[citation needed] He was also nominated for the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2006[19] and in 2014 received the award for Best International Comedian at the Sydney Comedy Festival.[20]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1999 Edinburgh Fringe Channel 4 So You Think You're Funny Comedy Competition winner Won
1999 BBC New Comedy Awards 2nd
2000 Perrier Best Newcomer Award Nominated
2003 Hot Press Irish Comedian of the Year Won
2006 David O'Doherty is My Name If.comedy award Nominated
2006 David O'Doherty is My Name Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Nominated
2008 Let's Comedy If.comedy award Won
2014 David O’Doherty Will Try To Fix Everything Best International Comedian Sydney Comedy Festival Awards Won


O'Doherty combines his comedic performance with tunes played on his miniature electronic keyboard. He describes his style of comedy in his song "FAQ for the DOD" as "very low energy musical whimsy" – or "VLEMWy", for short.

Television career[edit]

O'Doherty appears regularly on BBC and Channel 4 TV shows including QI, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Would I Lie to You?.

In June 2012 he became the first Irish comedian to have their own Comedy Central Presents episode on American television.[21]

In May 2007, O'Doherty's first TV series, The Modest Adventures of David O'Doherty, began airing on RTÉ Two. The six-part series was directed by John Carney, following the completion of his Academy Award-winning film Once.[22] The premise of each episode was to have the comedian attempt to achieve a goal which he set for himself. The show features O'Doherty, his neighbour Bryan, and his friend Maeve Higgins. A running gag in the show is a reference to road racing cyclist Stephen Roche.

# Title
David attempts to cycle from Dublin to Galway, for a show later that night. He quits 100 kilometres from his destination.
David attempts to have "a minor hit", preferably charting at number 27. His song "Orange" instead reaches number 30, losing the number 27 spot in the Irish Singles Chart to Jibbs's "Chain Hang Low".
David tries to make his rent. A number of strategies are employed for this end; these include: betting money on a game of golf he plays with his nephew (and losing); betting money at a dog track (and losing); attempting to sell an office chair he found in a skip (and eventually making €1.70 on the sale); trying to find a job where he states in an interview that he can touch-type at around 40 words per minute. He turned down a telemarketing placement; and eventually acting as an assistant to his neighbour Bryan, whose work involved erecting signs about planning permission, leading to a string of jokes concerning erections. He eventually earned the €260 through the latter.
David does a stand-up tour which he has t-shirts printed for. One show is for children. He does a gig at Vicar Street (a 1200 seater venue), but due to it being cancelled and re-instated repeatedly only about 20 people attend. The t-shirts do not arrive until after the tour has finished and are too small.

David tries to make a short film. The film is to be about Ernest Shackleton's reasons for trekking to the Antarctic and heavily features penguins. He sneaks his crew into Dublin Zoo dressed in clothes of an 1800s style. Due to too many people walking into frame, he opts to acquire a penguin elsewhere in Dublin. This proves to be a difficult task with O'Doherty eventually buying an inflatable penguin on eBay for €35. The inflatable is blown away by the wind. O'Doherty subsequently dresses up to play the part of the penguin. The film premieres in a local pub during the half-time of a football match on TV. The film's plotline goes as follows: Shackleton's blocks are knocked over by bullies, one of whom has a picture of a penguin on his shirt. His girlfriend breaks up with him at the penguin enclosure at the zoo. The penguins seem to mock him. His parents choke on Penguin chocolate biscuits. He goes to the Antarctic. He shoots a penguin. There is no applause for his film, however there is a cheer when the match is put back on.

This episode is dedicated to O'Doherty's friend's pet kitten, Tony, who appeared in the episode and died in 2007.
David attempts to record a comedy CD. The CD is recorded in his one-room apartment. He then advertises the gig on A4-sized posters, asking to be contacted via e-mail if anyone is interested in coming to the show. Upwards of 30 chairs are squeezed into the apartment.

Radio appearances[edit]

O'Doherty appeared on The Jon Richardson Show on BBC 6 Music on 23 November 2008 and on 8 November 2009.

He is a regular panelist on David Mitchell's Radio 4 series The Unbelievable Truth.

Literary career[edit]

O'Doherty has written widely for newspapers and magazines and also has two plays, two books and a radio series to his name. His debut book was a children's book entitled Ronan Long Gets It Wrong, written in 2001. It was illustrated by David Roberts and published by Mammoth Storybooks.[23] His first play is entitled Saddled and was written with Bryan Quinn. It was claimed as "the world's first theatrical production to feature live repair of audience members' bicycles". In 2008, he and fellow Irish comedian Maeve Higgins performed I Can't Sleep, a play recommended for children aged 5–8. This was O'Doherty's first play for children. The play, which involved the audience entering the theatre to find both performers asleep in separate beds, was performed in both Dublin and Edinburgh.[24]

He has also written a series for RTÉ Radio about bee detectives with his brother Mark, entitled The Bees of Manulla. O'Doherty released a book detailing 100 false facts about pandas called 100 Facts About Pandas. He followed this up with 100 Facts About Sharks which is 100 false facts about sharks. In 2014 he and illustrator, Chris Judge, released a children's book, Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger.[25]

Personal life[edit]

O'Doherty is an avid cyclist and owned, as of 2021, 14 bicycles.[26] He has mentioned that he owns more.[27]


In 2008, O'Doherty starred alongside comedian Dylan Moran, Keith Allen and Neil Jordan in A Film with Me in It, a cinematic release written by and starring his brother Mark Doherty.[28]


O'Doherty has also released five live audio albums, Giggle Me Timbers (or Jokes Ahoy!), recorded in front of 35 people in his studio apartment and Let's David O'Doherty (2009), We Are Not The Champions (2012) and You Only Live (2015) recorded at Whelan's in Dublin.[29] Live in His Own Car During A Pandemic was recorded in his car in June 2020.

Year Title Peak chart position
2007 "Orange" Republic of Ireland No. 30
2009 Let's David O'Doherty Republic of Ireland
2012 We Are Not The Champions Republic of Ireland
2015 You Only Live Republic of Ireland
2020 Live In His Own Car During A Pandemic Republic of Ireland


  1. ^ "Irish comedians have the last laugh".
  2. ^ "Comedy: Sanity claws".
  3. ^ "Providing comedy solutions since late 1975". Davidodoherty.com. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  4. ^ Young, Kevin (23 August 2008). "O'Doherty wins main Fringe award". BBC. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Winners of the 2014 Sydney Comedy Festival Awards". Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  6. ^ "FAQs for D.O'D (frequently asked questions for David O'Doherty)". Trinity News – Ireland's Oldest Student Paper. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Danger, Danger READ All About It!". Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  8. ^ "David O'Doherty, Hyena Lounge Comedy Club, City Screen, York, January 24". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  9. ^ "David O'Doherty: 'Sexual assault in Irish comedy … They're not allegations … they happened'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  10. ^ "David O'Doherty: 'Sexual assault in Irish comedy … They're not allegations … they happened'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  11. ^ "David O'Doherty: 'Sexual assault in Irish comedy … They're not allegations … they happened'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  12. ^ "O'Doherty scoops top Edinburgh comedy award". Irish Independent. 25 August 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  13. ^ David O'Doherty Archived 8 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine at irish-comedy.com
  14. ^ Boztas, Senay (24 August 2008). "'Utterly delightful' David O'Doherty wins Edinburgh's top comedy award". The Independent. London. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  15. ^ "Irish comedian wins UK comedy prize". Irish Independent. 24 August 2008. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  16. ^ "David O'Doherty claims top Edinburgh comedy award". Hot Press. 25 August 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  17. ^ Lister, David (25 August 2008). "David O'Doherty wins top award for his 'delightful' Edinburgh show". The Times. London. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  18. ^ "David does it!". Chortle. 24 August 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
  19. ^ "Some facts about David O'Doherty". RTÉ. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Winners of the 2014 Sydney Comedy Festival Awards". Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  21. ^ "David O'Doherty". Comedy Central. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  22. ^ "The Modest Adventures of David O'Doherty @ www.rte.ie". RTÉ. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  23. ^ Ronan Long Gets it Wrong @. ASIN 0749744502.
  24. ^ Radcliffe, Allan (14 August 2008). "I Can't Sleep". The List. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  25. ^ Danger Is Everywhere: A Handbook for Avoiding Danger: Amazon.co.uk: David O'Doherty, Chris Judge: 9780141354156: Books. ASIN 0141354151.
  26. ^ "David O'Doherty: 'Sexual assault in Irish comedy … They're not allegations … they happened'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  27. ^ "'THIS INFO IS OUT OF DATE'". Twitter. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  28. ^ A Film With Me in It at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  29. ^ "David O'Doherty show in Whelan's". Hot Press. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 3 August 2009.

External links[edit]