David O’Doherty Is Looking Up
Lovingly toting his mini keyboard – the ugly duckling of the instrument world – along with a mean catalogue of sporting analogies and a well-timed sandwich, David O’Doherty is familiar enough with our country to be able to give an opinion of the age-old Sydney vs Melbourne debate.
"With Melbourne there’s this myth that you move there and get a scarf and write a novel, the implication being that it’s a Brussels or Vienna type city with a chill in the air and everyone is working on their poetry. For me it’s just another incredibly warm place with less chance of getting beaten up than Dublin. And then Sydney likes it gritty, there’s bands in the back of every pub and urban chaos everywhere and to me it seems like a much more organised place filled with more friendly people than Dublin."
Canberra on the other hand, is a different story.
"It’s quite mysterious, I’ve got one gig in Canberra and things are going reasonably well in Australia generally. I was able to play quite a large room in Adelaide and loads of people have come here and they are adding more dates in Sydney. In Canberra eight tickets have sold so far. Eight tickets!”
Although a little miffed by his lack of popularity in the capital he is quite stoic about it all. “Maybe it’s just not the place for me, but that’s fine, maybe people who like my comedy just aren’t into bureaucracy.”
The theme of his new show, and attendent life philosophy, seems quite simple. “I wrote this song for my show last year called Please Lower Your Expectations and the idea was to lower expectations before seeing the show. That’s been the sort of springboard to this show because I think that the secret to life is just to lower your expectations generally. I think that possibly you ask for too much from life and that if you ask for a nice time – not an Aaaaaaaawesome-time-with-sixty-eight-As, but a nice time – then that seems much more reasonable”.
Careful not to raise our hopes, he assures us that this is a low-key affair. “From the way I just described it, it seems like an Anthony Robbins motivational workshop where I enter the venue via one of those flying fox things, and it’s not that at all. It’s basically just a man sitting with a tiny keyboard, standing sometimes, and there’ll be some made up facts about pandas and sharks as well.”
He is referring to his book, 100 Facts About Pandas that came about from watching nature documentaries with the sound turned down.
"I wrote this with one of my best friends" he explains. "We both wanted to be David Attenborough but the two things holding us back were that we don’t know anything about animals and we are scared of most animals so we decided instead to just make up stuff that sounded like it might be true."
But why pandas? “Because everybody loves pandas and no body really knows anything about them. We would have chosen kittens but everybody knows kittens aren’t magnetic.”
This interview was first published in 2009