Comedian Dara O'Briain - Five things you didn't know
- Brian Donaldson
- 17 February 2011
The graduate in mathematical physics' favourite word is defenestration
1: The Irish comic is a graduate in mathematical physics, a choice that left his parents almost as baffled as being a comedian would later. His mother was a housewife, his father a trade-union arbitrator, who was also a choir master, and may well have influenced O’Briain’s later career choice. He remembers watching his father at concerts, talking to audiences between musical pieces, occasionally cracking a joke.
2: O’Briain’s big break came at the age of 22 when he got into kids’ TV presenting while trying to get his stand-up career off the ground. Although it went well, he realised that his look was not especially conducive to making the nippers feel at ease: ‘I was already balding. I looked like a weird uncle.’
3: He has got much comedic mileage from the fact that he looks somewhat older than he actually is. The blurb for the BBC show, Three Men in a Boat, described Rory McGrath, Griff Rhys-Jones and O’Briain as ‘middle aged men’. At the time, he was 33. His 2001 Fringe show was based almost entirely on his age, fuelled by the fact that each night, without fail, the audience would gasp in amazement when he announced that he was 29.
4: Defenestration is his favourite word.
5: There were rumours that O’Briain had an interest in former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq. This came about after a mild bit of ribbing on Mock the Week after Russell Howard seemed to let slip some green-room banter that Dara had a bit of thing for her. In the immediate aftermath, few interviews would go by without this cropping up but it all got slightly out of hand when someone sent him a copy of a lads mag featuring Ms Huq. All that nonsense has safely been put to bed now that she has become Charlie Brooker’s (presumably) less cynical half.
Playhouse, Edinburgh, Thu 14–Sat 16 Oct.