Dara Ó Briain: Wikis



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Dara Ó Briain
Dara Ó Briain.jpg
Ó Briain in Dublin, Ireland (2007)
Born 4 February 1972 (1972-02-04) (age 38)
Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Medium Stand-up and television
Nationality Irish
Years active 1998 - Present
Genres Improvisation
Influences Eddie Izzard
Paul Merton
Lewis Black[1]
Spouse Susan (2006-present)
Notable works and roles Don't Feed The Gondolas (1998-2000)
The Panel (2003-2006)
Mock the Week (2005-present)
Turn Back Time (2006)

Dara Ó Briain (Irish pronunciation: [ˈd̪ˠaɾˠə oː ˈbʲɾʲriənʲ], born 4 February 1972) is an award-winning Irish comedian and television presenter, currently most famous for hosting topical panel show Mock the Week.

Ó Briain has hosted and appeared on a number of successful panel shows including The Panel, Don't Feed the Gondolas, Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You and QI. Writing for the The Evening Standard, Bruce Dessau noted that "If you don’t laugh at Ó Briain, check your pulse, you must be dead."[2]

The comedian has been described as Terry Wogan's heir apparent as Britain's favourite Irish man.[3]


Early life

Ó Briain was born in Bray, County Wicklow and attended Coláiste Eoin, a Gaelcholáiste on Dublin's southside. He attended college in University College, Dublin, where he studied maths and theoretical physics. In 2008, he remarked: "I haven't written it into my act, but it occasionally comes through. I could come on with a chalkboard and say: 'Now you're all going to pay attention.'"[4] While a student there, he was both the auditor of the Literary and Historical Society (the university's oldest debating society) and the co-founder and co-editor of the University Observer college newspaper. In 1994, he won the Irish Times National Debating Championship and the Irish Times/Gael Linn National Irish language debating championship; he is fluent in Irish.


Early career

After leaving college, Ó Briain began working at RTÉ as a children's TV presenter. At this time he also began performing his first stand-up gigs on the Irish comedy circuit.[5] He admitted, "I did the trip from Donegal to Dublin to play to six people; then I turned round and drove home again. I did about three or four years playing to a lot of bad rooms, but learning as I went. It's not bad when someone gives you £40 for standing up and telling jokes. I remember thinking: 'This is the life.'"[4] Ó Briain spent three years as a presenter on the bilingual (Irish and English) language children's programme Echo Island but came to prominence as a team captain on the topical panel show Don't Feed The Gondolas (1998-2000) hosted by Seán Moncrieff.

Stand-up comedy

Ó Briain's stand up career internationally took off around this time as he began to tour heavily, performing across Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, with gigs in Dubai, Boston, Adelaide, Shanghai and New York. He was a regular at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs and the Edinburgh Festival, as well as making one notable appearance at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal in 2002 where he was offered a prestigious gala show because of his performances at the Irish showcase. Around this time Ó Briain presented the weekend mainstream game show It's a Family Affair for RTÉ. It was the first time he worked with former Channel 4 commissioning editor Séamus Cassidy. They later set up the production company Happy Endings Productions, and together they produced (and Ó Briain presented) the chat show Buried Alive (2003) and most famously in Ireland The Panel (2003-2006).

Panel shows

The Panel was hosted by Ó Briain. Three times nominated for the Best Entertainment show IFTA (Irish Film and Television Award) the show has a rotating cast of panelists, usually drawn from the world of Irish comedy, discussing the events of the week and interviewing guests. The most regular panelists have been Colin Murphy, Ed Byrne, Neil Delamere and Andrew Maxwell.

Around 2002, with his profile rising in the UK due to his one-man shows at the Edinburgh fringe festival, Ó Briain began to make appearances on UK television shows such as Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment (a Channel 5 production) and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. At the start of 2003 he hosted the second series of BBC Scotland's Live Floor Show.[6] His big break in UK television came in 2003 when he made an appearance as guest and, ultimately, made several appearances as guest host of the popular news quiz, Have I Got News for You.[7]

He was nominated in 2003 at the Chortle Comedy Awards for Live Comedy in the categories Best Compère and Best Headline Act (which he would go on to win). In 2004 he won the Best Headliner award again, as well as being nominated for Best Full-length Show. Since 2005 he has been the host of the comedy panel game Mock the Week on BBC television, a blend between Have I Got News for You and Whose Line Is It Anyway?. He is a relatively frequent panelist on QI, and wrote about Ireland in the QI series E annual, and appears occasionally on Just a Minute on BBC Radio 4. He has also appeared in and hosted the stand-up show Live at the Apollo.

Dara stars in the new BBC Radio show about "the world according to science". Episode 1 of "Infinite Monkey Cage" began on 30 November 2009 on Radio 4 at 16:30 GMT.

In 2010, Dara will star in the Sky1 show, A League of Their Own.

Tours, chat shows and writing

Other notable television work includes hosting the BBC sitcom writing competition "Last Laugh", and three documentaries which re-created the British comedy novel Three Men in a Boat. For this, Ó Briain rowed up the River Thames with Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath. A sequel, Three Men in Another Boat, in which they raced from the Tower Bridge to the Isle of Wight, was first aired in January 2008,[8] and the third in the series, Three Men in More Than One Boat, was broadcast in January 2009. A further series, Three Men go to Ireland, was first broadcast at Christmas 2009.[9]

In 2005, Ó Briain's show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was the biggest selling solo comedy show of the festival.[10] On 14 September 2005, he appeared as a guest on Room 101, where he got rid of children's television presenters (originating from his co-presenters on Echo Island) and once-in-a-lifetime experiences (he was given a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the show, by being the second guest, the first being former host Nick Hancock, to pull the lever that opens the chute to Room 101), banter, Gillian McKeith (host of You Are What You Eat) and magicians.

Ó Briain conducted his third and largest multinational tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland in early 2006. This included 66 shows across London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, as well as 9 nights in Dublin. His second night in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London was recorded for his first live DVD. His fourth multinational tour followed in late 2007, which as he says in his routine has "no title" but was almost entitled "You Had to Be There". Ó Briain has also been an extensive newspaper columnist, with pieces published in many national papers in both the UK and Ireland, from the Sunday Times to the Daily Telegraph. On 9 August, 2006, he hosted the first episode of his new celebrity chat show, Turn Back Time.[5]

Ó Briain released his first book on 1 October 2009, the book is entitled Tickling the English and is about what he perceives it means to be English. As part of its promotion he has stated that he is a great fan of English culture and a student of English history, his favourite periods being the Gin Craze and the civil war[11]. His favourite historical Englishman is Oliver Cromwell[12]. In a review of 'Tickling the English' O'Briain was described as Terry Wogan's heir apparent as Britain's 'favourite Irishman'.[13]

Personal life

Ó Briain married his wife Susan, a doctor, in 2006 [14] and they have a daughter, [15] born in 2008.[16] He describes himself as looking like "one of Tony Soprano's henchmen", and admits that, "living in London I probably only get recognised about once a day. And that's okay by me. I'm not a celebrity. And I certainly don't see myself as one."[17]

Ó Briain has said he sees himself as an atheist, but "ethnically Catholic": "I’m staunchly atheist, I simply don’t believe in God. But I’m still Catholic, of course.[18] Catholicism has a much broader reach than just the religion. I’m technically Catholic, it’s the box you have to tick on the census form: ‘Don’t believe in God, but I do still hate Rangers.’"[19]

His surname is the original Irish form of O'Brien, indicating his descent from King Brian Boru (c. 941-1014). He admitted, "My dad was involved in the Irish language movement and changed it. Even Irish people are now confused by it".[17]

He is a keen Arsenal F.C fan. [20].

Ó Briain was one one of fifteen members of a racing greyhound syndicate for several years.[21] The December 2009 transmission of "Three Men Go To Ireland" featured their dog Snip Nua, who by the time of transmission had been put down following injuries sustained in a race. Ó Briain was so upset about the death that he and his fellow syndicate members immediately disbanded the syndicate permanently.[21]


DVD releases

  • Dara O'Briain: Live at the Theatre Royal (2006)
  • Mock the Week: Too Hot for TV (2007)
  • Dara O'Briain Talks Funny: Live in London (2008)
  • Mock the Week: Too Hot for TV 2 (2009)


  1. ^ "Ditzy Boomhaha answers your questions". Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide. 2006-12-04. http://www.chortle.co.uk/interviews/2006/12/04/4772/ditzy_boomhaha_answers_your_questions. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  2. ^ "Dara Ó Briain". lisarichards.ie. Retrieved on 15 November, 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/dara-the-irishman-1936567.html
  4. ^ a b Carroll, Su. "TIME HAS COME FOR STAND-UP GUY DARA". The Plymouth Herald, May 6, 2008. Retrieved on May 25, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Kelleher, Lynne (2006-07-30). "Funnyman Dara O Briain lands his own BBC chat show". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). http://www.independent.ie/national-news/funnyman-dara-o-briain-lands-his-own-bbc-chatshow-133079.html. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  6. ^ Dessau, Bruce. "Dara O Briain". The Evening Standard. Retrieved on 4 February 2008.
  7. ^ "Dara Ó Briain". Paramount UK. Retrieved on 25 May 2008.
  8. ^ "Three Men in Another Boat". BBC. Retrieved on 28 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Three Men go to Ireland". BBC. Retrieved on 30 December 2009.
  10. ^ "Live Brum: Events on 17 March 2008". Live Brum, 17 March 2008. Retrieved on 28 May 2008.
  11. ^ Dara O'Briain Interview, National Theatre 23/10/09
  12. ^ Dara O'Briain Interview, National Theatre 23/10/09
  13. ^ http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/dara-the-irishman-1936567.html
  14. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/5712453/Interview-Dara-OBriain.html
  15. ^ http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/comedycolumnists/1993527/The-audience-is-the-funniest-br-gag-at-any-of-my-gigs.html
  16. ^ Tickling the English, Dara O'Briain; O'Briain says that his daughter was born during his Dara O'Briain Talks Funny Tour in 2008.
  17. ^ a b Taylor, Richie. "I'll never be a famous face. I'm an ugly bloke!". Irish Independent, February 15 2008. Retrieved on 15 November 2008.
  18. ^ "Dara O'Briain and Frankie Boyle on religion and creationism". YouTube. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LHqOG8p0Lkc. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  19. ^ "Only in Ireland". Eircom. Retrieved on 12 November 2008.
  20. ^ O Briain, Dara. "Every week there'll be a new 'Crisis' to mock - Dara O Briain - Football - The Guardian". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/aug/15/dara-o-briain-arsenal-premier-league. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  21. ^ a b "Dara's dog starred in Three Men after she was put down; Comedian too upset to talk about death of his greyhound Snip Nua". findarticles.com. http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/mail-on-sunday-london-england-the/mi_8003/is_2010_Jan_31/daras-dog-starred-men-comedian/ai_n48850564/?tag=content;col1. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

If we were truly created by God, then why do we still occasionally bite the insides of our own mouths?

Dara Ó Briain (born 4 February 1972) is an Irish television presenter and comedian.



Dara Ó Briain: Live at the Theatre Royal (2006)

  • I'm not a religious man, right, I don't even believe in God. But still Catholic, obviously.
  • There are three states of legality in Irish law. There is all this stuff here under "That's grand"; then it moves into "Ah, now, don't push it"; and finally to "Right! You're taking the piss." And that's where the police sweep in.
  • I said "Anyone Jewish here?" and someone goes "I'm Jewish!" and I said ... "And what year is this now in the Jewish calendar?" And she goes, "Er, I wasn't expecting questions, to be honest ..."—and then turned to her presumably gentile friend and had a bit of a natter—and then came back with the single finest answer I have ever heard from a member of an audience, where without any shame at all she just went, "Yeah, it's the Jewish Year of the Rat."
  • Stop taking it literally—it's only the Bible, it's not gospel.
    • On Christian fundamentalism
  • If we were truly created by God, then why do we still occasionally bite the insides of our own mouths?

Dara Ó Briain Talks Funny: Live in London (2008)

  • Science knows it doesn't know everything; otherwise, it'd stop. But just because science doesn't know everything doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.
  • "The great thing about homeopathy is that you can't overdose on it." Well, you could fucking drown!
  • Right now 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.
  • Anyone, in answer to the difficult questions in life, the "I don't know what happens after I die" or "What happens if my loved ones die?" or "How can I stop myself dying?", the big questions, who gives you an easy bullshit answer, and you go "Well, do you have any evidence for that?" and they go "Ah, there is more to life than evidence", get in the fucking sack.
  • Here's my favorite little fact. If anyone is ever described to you as a nutritionist, just be slightly wary, right? What they're saying may be perfectly true, but "nutritionist" isn't a protected term. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. "Dietician" is the legally protected term. "Dietician" is like "dentist", and "nutritionist" is like "tooth-i-ologist."
  • And the Day Two pain of the gym! When you go back to the gym and you're in agony, and every bit of you is in pain. And the gym guy, you go up to him, you go "Why am I in so much pain?"—and he goes "That's because you're using muscles you haven't used in years." And you look at him and go "Why the fuck are we wasting our time with those muscles?"

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