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Creator / Dara Ó Briain

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People say "Science doesn't know everything!" — Science knows it doesn't know everything, otherwise it'd stop.

Dara Ó Briain (pronounced "oh bree-ann", born 4 February 1972) is an Irish standup 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. Most recently he's the host of the newest revival of Blockbusters on Comedy Central.

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:

  • The Ace: His performance on Taskmaster showed that he knew how to play the game and earn every point he could. He became the first contestant to sweep an episode (setting a scoring record in the process) and won his series by a large margin and with the highest points total out of all preceding contestants.
    • After winning Champion of Champion's III note  he becomes the first note  contestant in any version of Taskmaster to exceed a total of 200 points.
  • 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.
  • Anti-Climax: Discussed in his show So... Where Were We?: he discusses the process of having to psych himself up to broach the question of whether he was adopted with his father... only to be slightly thrown when, on eventually raising the question, his father nonchalantly replied "Yeah. Did you forget?" Apparently, in keeping with good practice regarding adoption, his parents had informed him he was adopted when he was younger (multiple times, apparently), only he obviously just hadn't really been paying attention and it never fully sank in.
  • Audience Participation: As much as a quarter of his routine will be banter with randomly singled-out audience members, usually regarding their professions.
  • Beary Funny: His Imagine Spot from "This Is the Show," about "Doctor Bear."note 
    Graaar! Raaar! Raarrr! (lumbers across the stage, mimes scrubbing for surgery) "What are we doing today? Appendectomy? Stand back." (ripping noise) "Good-bye." Raaaaarr! (lumbers off)
  • Berserk Button:
    • Very blatant factual errors: 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:
    [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!"
    • 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 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.
    • He also won't live down the fact that he hosted the reboot of Robot Wars
  • Culturally Religious:
    I'm not a religious man, right, I don't even believe in God. But still Catholic, obviously.
  • Double Speak: In one of his routines, he describes getting into trouble with a group of astrologists after he and Brian Cox basically made fun of it in one of their shows together. In revenge, the group kept Astro Turfing complaints to the BBC to make sure that it had to go further and further up the chain of command in an attempt to get them into trouble with the BBC Trust, which is basically the head of the organisation. Dara amusedly encourages his audience to check out the official response from the Trust, which he describes as basically a carefully neutral corporate-speak way of yelling "Oh, just fuck off and stop wasting our time!" at them.
  • Failed a Spot Check: One of his Craic Dealer routines recalls the time he and Brian Cox insulted astrologers, who then proceeded to tell Dara that he didn't deserve to call himself a scientist.
    Lucky for me then, I'm a fucking comedian!
  • 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!".
  • Gentleman Thief: Discussed on Mock the Week. Apparently he got into a little trouble while staying with Ed Byrne, who was asked to vouch for him.
    I was wearing a tuxedo at the time, right? I looked like a gentleman burglar, like I'd left a note saying "The Cat has visited you!" Hmnahahahaha!
  • Happy-Ending Massage: In one of his anecdotes, he was looking to get a sports massage to help him recover from an injury, but the directions he got to the nearest "massage parlour" caused him to end up at a brothel instead.
    So I said "I've genuinely hurt my back. Genuinely, it's in spasm, and I need a proper massage." And God love her, the woman running this rub-and-tug joint in Adelaide looked at me and went "we can give it a go".
  • 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. On finding out that one guy he was talking to worked for the Ambulance Service, he has a humorous Oh, Crap! moment: "Thus making you pretty much bulletproof, my friend..." (But then he discovers that the man in question was taught to drive by the Army, and gleefully exploits that for several minutes of comedy.)
  • Insult Comic: A large piece of his stand up act is picking on people in the audience, and he actively engages hecklers. Though it's played with, since he insists that he never actually makes fun of the people he interacts with, but "makes Gods out of them!"
    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.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Exaggerated in his bit about a Catholic-Protestant mixed marriage:
    "It'll never work! The DNA of Catholic and Protestant aren't supposed to mix like that, you'll get a sterile mule-child of some description!"
  • Never Heard That One Before: Apparently people won't stop comparing him to Gru from Despicable Me... or even the Megabus mascot Sid.
    Ed Gamble: Oh, is it like when you stole the Moon in Despicable Me?
  • Parody Assistance: In a bit of Self-Deprecation, Jimi Mistry joined Dara on stage to mock his "The neutrinos are mutating!" line from 2012.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shaving Is Science: One of his routines points out the level of absurdity that goes into advertising men's razors:
    We already have a 3 blade razor, what do we need a 5 blade razor for? Does blade 4 shave off a thin layer of epidermis, then blade 5 cauterizes the wound so that no beard hair will ever grow there again? Do I need to unlock blade 5 by defeating a boss on blade 4?
  • Suddenly Bilingual: Though he doesn't like discussing it, he is so fluent in Irish that 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.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Mostly averted for his part: he is, after all, a massive video game nerd and a long-running celebrity ambassador for it (to the point of hosting the BAFTA Games Awards multiple times). However, even he himself pokes fun at how bad he can be playing certain genres of games (as witness his iconic routine on Metal Gear Solid).
  • 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!'"
    • A UK retailer invoked this when they rejected the DVD name Craic Dealer. Dara responded by having his next tour feature a Craic Dealer sign the length of the entire stage, so that it would have to be visible on the DVD cover.
  • 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."
    • Also an example of a glorious Bait-and-Switch by the aforementioned Squaddie;
    Squaddie: A tree fell on them.
    Dara: ... Wait a minute. Are you going to tell me the IRA planted it?
    Squaddie: (Troll Face grin.)
  • 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.