Dara Ó Briain (Pronounced Oh Bree-Ann, born 4 February 1972) is an Irish stand up comedian famous throughout the UK and his homeland. Beginning as a children's television presenter, Dara is now known for presenting Mock the Week, The Apprentice UK - You're Fired!, as well as a few Edutainment Shows School of Hard Sums and Stargazing Live, as well as his own show Dara Ó Briain's Science Club, and in 2016 he became the new host of the Un-Cancelled Robot Wars and Go 8 Bit. He's also an occasional guest on QI.
If the excess of educational shows and his nerdy routine wasn't clear enough, Dara is unsurprisingly both a massive nerd and gamer; even stacking atop this, he speaks fluent Irish and has studied mathematics and theoretical physics (despite looking like a Russian gangster). He was actually on track to become an astronomer before discovering how much he loved performing, and has written children's books about the subject.
This comedian provides examples of:
- All Crimes Are Equal: When it comes to pseudo-science and superstition, he despises all parties equally:I would take homeopaths and I'd put them in a big sack with psychics, astrologers and priests. And I'd close the top of the sack with string, and I'd hit them all with sticks. And I really wouldn't be bothered who got the worst of the belt of the sticks.
- Audience Participation: As much as a quarter of his routine will be banter with randomly singled-out audience members, usually regarding their professions.
- Bald of Awesome
- Berserk Button:
[Neutrinos] can't mutate. Their structure is fundamental to the structure of the universe. Right? They can't just change. He might as well have gone, "The electrons are angry!".
- Critical Research Failure: Whilst he usually gives things a pass, he can be extremely petty with inaccuracies. For example, when discussing the "neutrinos are mutating" plot excuse in 2012:
- Earn Your Fun: Whilst an avid gamer, he frequently complains that he has no time to unlock everything to enjoy games. During one gig, he points out that playing through all of Guitar Hero just to get to The Beastie Boys is so intolerable that a minigame where you fellate the controller would be preferable.
- Another routine has him note that he was never able to see the really controversial stuff in one of the Grand Theft Auto games, as he got stuck on an early mission and quit upon realizing that the constant failing and going back to the guy who gave him the mission to restart it (and having to wait at a toll booth both ways) was basically the same as actually being in traffic.
- The Chew Toy: On Mock the Week. Some episodes generate a Running Gag of mocking his baldness or appearance (like his large head).
- Since he's always sitting down on the show, he's made fun of for not doing any work, or is described as having no legs.
- For Want of a Nail: The entire conclusion of This Is The Show is a lengthy rant on how 2012 could have been a masterpiece had the line "The neutrinos are mutating, and they're heating up the planet!" been changed to "The Latinos are mutating, and they're heating up the planet!".
- Hidden Depths: Despite, in his own words, looking like one of Tony Soprano's henchmen, he has studied maths and theoretical physics, and is fluently bilingual with Irish Gaelic.
- Improv: The audience participation bits, naturally, though he takes it a step further by actively encouraging them to lie and give him better material.
- Insult Comic: A large piece of his stand up act is picking on people in the audience, and he actively engages hecklers.Let's engage, fucker!
- Is There a Doctor in the House?: Actually invoked the bit in his safari routine. But he told the doctor there wasn't actually a medical emergency; he just needed her to translate a doctor-y term into Layman's Terms.
- Never Heard That One Before: Apparently people won't stop comparing him to Gru from Despicable Me... or even the Megabus mascot Sid.◊
- Precision F-Strike: While he doesn't swear excessively, he still invokes this occasionally.People say "The great thing about homeopathy is that you can't overdose on it." — Well you could fucking drown.
- One of Us: Despite lampshading he doesn't look the type, he's a huge video game nerd.
- Raised Catholic:I'm not a religious man, right, I don't even believe in God. But still Catholic, obviously.
- Religion Tropes: Occasionally brought up, such as how the Christmas Nativity is unfair when Atheists would rather watch children remake other winter stories:There are lots of Christmas stories they could do. They could do A Christmas Carol, a delightful Christmas story. It's a Wonderful Life. Die Hard. Die Hard is one of our finest and most beloved Christmas tales!
- Ruptured Appendix: One of three things that causes him to seriously doubt the Christian story that God created humans in his own image (the others being the general visual dullness of people compared to mountains and sunsets, and our occasionally biting the inside of our mouths).
- Self-Deprecation: He notes that he looks like either Gru from Despicable Me or one of Tony Soprano's henchmen.
- Suddenly Bilingual: Though he doesn't like discussing it, he is so fluent in Irish he used to present a Gaelic Kids show.
- Surreal Humor: His stand up often results in him regressing to nonsensical scenarios by deliberately antagonizing and misinterpreting the audience. He even makes a point of using the encore to recap on audience members he's engaged.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: He was entrapped into one when an event manager let him hang out in her room before the show. While picking up his things, he found the turndown service had made a bird sculpture of the woman's underwear and was worried she'd think he'd done it, and wanting to get it over with as fast as possible he simply interrupted a conversation with her bosses to say "I did not make a swan out of your knickers!" and walked away.
- Take That, Critics!: His "Craic Dealer" Tour is a pun on the Irish slang "What's the craic?" that means "What's happening?" and the term "Crack Dealer", but this was originally rejected by some Moral Guardians and some retailers as it might give unwanted publicity to cocaine culture. Naturally, after getting approval for the next tour, he had it as the entire backing display so it would be present on all previews and remain uncensored.
- Tempting Fate: He notes that one thing you should never do is tell a comedian not to do something. For example, upon doing a gig where a certain celebrity was present, he was warned not to do material about a super-injunction; a super-injunction is a legal injunction that cannot be publicized, meaning Dara obviously had zero idea about it prior to being warned of it, and he promptly started to make light of it.
- The reverse situation: he specifically brought up his own large, bald head after a story on Mock the Week about people with such heads being at reduced risk of Alzheimer's. The panel predictably shredded him; as Chris Addison mockingly retorted, "I revealed a weakness in front of six comedians, and I thought, 'there's a group that'll help me through this!'"
- Visible Silence: His initial reaction to being confronted after a routine that included IRA jokes by a big English squaddie who informed him two of his mates died in The Troubles: "A big thought balloon with fuckin' nothing inside it."
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: He was once at the centre of a controversy for telling a homophobic joke about Elton John. When a homophobic organisation sent him a letter of support, he backed out of the controversy and cut the joke from his act.