When it comes to comedy, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has proven to be the launching pad, and graveyard, for many a new comic. Every year several hundred comedians travel from across the globe, descending on the Scottish capital in the hope of building a career, finding an audience and making people laugh. It’s fun, weird, brilliant and utterly ruthless. With so much competition audiences are spoiled for choice and unforgiving when comedians waste their time. So, to paraphrase Sinatra, if you can make it there you can probably make it anywhere. That’s certainly true of Wicklow born comedian, Danny O’Brien.
In 2012, O’Brien took his first solo show “All My F(r)iends” to the Edinburgh Festival winning great acclaim and great houses. Three years on, having garnered several awards in the meantime, O’Brien played three sold out weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 with his latest show “Ah Jaysus” a comic journey through the premature mid-life crisis of the 30 something Irish male. Trying to defend himself from a wave of relentless wedding invites, his girlfriend’s drunken nights out and carrying coffins whilst trying not to laugh, O’Brien ensured his audience laughed out loud in this hilarious one man performance. On Saturday, O’Brien’s growing Irish fan were treated to a one off chance to see “Ah Jaysus” in the intimate setting of Whelans, and the full house bursting at the seams were not disappointed.
After a brief, but incredibly funny warm up by the laconic, soft spoken Ger Staunton, whose excellent quirky stylings had the audience well prepared, O’Brien took to the stage like a force of nature. Full throttle and full volume, O’Brien brought the same level of energy as someone getting ready to play a stadium, grabbing the audience by the neck and never letting go. Indeed, at times, it almost seemed as if O’Brien skirted close to trying a little too hard, such was the ferocity and intensity with which he delivered “Ah Jaysus.” But O’Brien has learnt a lot in the intervening years since “All My F(r)iends” and his hard work showed in some excellent timing that had the audience in stitches.
O’Brien’s trademark confessional offerings on autobiographical tales from the life of an Irish male were all in evidence. But there’s a new maturity present that compliments O’Brien’s honesty, adding yet another level of engagement. O’Brien has the mastered the ability of making audience members feel like personal friends. Hearing his reminiscences of finding his friend’s Dad’s porn, or his time as a Youth worker, conjure that sense of intimacy and hilarity you find in stories shared by someone you know well. By the time “Ay Jaysus” comes to a close you feel you’ve had a great night out being regaled by stories and jokes told by a natural comedian, who makes everyone feel as if they’re reliving the memories with him.
Danny O’Brien’s star is definitely in the ascendant, but it’s not been an overnight success for one of Ireland’s hardest working comedians. Performing stand-up comedy for over seven years in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US, he scooped the title of “Dublin’s Funniest Comedian” at the prestigious Stand Up For FM104 and went on to beat 16 of Ireland’s best up-and-coming acts to take the coveted Toilet Duck Ahard at Tedfest 2013 (the now-famous Father Ted celebration). An accomplished compere, he is the resident host of “The Comedy Crunch” in The Stag’s Head, Dublin, one of Ireland’s busiest and most successful comedy clubs. 2015 has seen him perform at The Forbidden Fruit Festival, Longitude Festival and The Vodafone Comedy Festival and he has also been chosen to perform on a tour with the highly regarded and iconic “Best of the Fest” show for a full run in both Perth and Adelaide Comedy Festivals in Australia early in 2016.
With “Ah Jaysus” Danny O’Brien delivers a hilariously funny night of comedy that has the audience rolling in the aisles. One suspects it won’t be too much longer before stadiums come calling.
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