Despite his numerous TV shows, Dara O Briain’s first love is stand-up, he tells Laura Davis
DARA O BRIAIN is giving nothing away. Well, not absolutely nothing – he is happy to talk about his successful stand-up career and about presenting satirical TV panel show Mock the Week.
But he’s determined to keep his private life just that, and will not even confirm that his wife’s name is Susan and that they have a child.
“I’m not into the whole celebrity thing,” he says.
“I’ve been doing this 15 years and things are going well. I’m sort of enjoying it. I like being a comedian and I am a comedian. That's quite bizarre in itself.
“I don’t think too much about any of the other stuff. The day you see me on Strictly Come dancing, you’ll know I’m not funny any more.”
Moving away from the image of the former children’s TV presenter dressed in a spangly leotard. . .
The son of a trades union negotiator, O Briain grew up in County Wicklow, Ireland, and attended University College, Dublin, where he became the auditor of the Literary and Historical Society – its oldest debating society.
This gave him an outlet for comic speeches, he recalls. Then he went on open mic nights, where you’d have a five-minute slot at a pub or a club.
For a while he was a children’s presenter on Irish TV, before gaining success on the country’s comedy circuit.
O Briain’s one-man shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival got him noticed and he steadily built up a fan base, playing smaller venues before graduating to larger ones.
But it was with BBC Two's Mock The Week, the topical panel show – a mix of Have I Got News For You? and Whose Line Is It Anyway? – that his profile reached new heights, as part of a TV career that includes Turn Back Time and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.