At University in Dublin the comedian and game show host Dara Ó Briain studied mathematics and theoretical physics about which he once said, “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.’”
Such self-deprecating humour is a trademark of this genial giant of a man, who stands six feet four inches tall and was born in 1972 into an Irish Gaelic speaking family in County Wicklow. His fearsome intelligence also gives his understated observational humour a real edge. He is one of the best there is at capping off the to-and-fro of an improvised exchange with the clinching last word and is in high demand as an After Dinner Speaker, Awards and Event Host.
His stand-up comedy skills are legendary. Dara Ó Briain is popular enough to have earned the record for the number of solo appearances – seven – on the BBC’s stand-up showcase Live At The Apollo. His frequent tours across the UK and Ireland are invariably sell-outs. His latest show titled Voice Of Reason was performed more than 175 times in 20 countries in 2019, before Covid intervened and brought touring to a halt.
But it is as a panel show guest and host that he is perhaps most widely known. He’s become a fixture on popular shows like the BBC’s Have I Got News For You, where he’s been guest host several times as well as panellist, and the obscure knowledge quiz QI hosted by Stephen Fry and then Sandi Toksvig. He’s most closely associated, though, with the long running Mock The Week, which brings the cream of the current crop of comics under Dara’s sharp, witty jurisdiction, in a fast thinking combination of stand-up, improvisation and current-affairs satire. It won him a BAFTA nomination and two years ago the show passed the landmark of its 200th edition.
Dara Ó Briain is physically impressive enough to have played Gaelic Football and Hurling to a high level. He’s intellectually impressive enough to hold his own touring with eminent scientists like Professor Brian Cox and Simon Singh. He’s down to earth enough to write popular children’s books. Whether as a keynote speaker, a science speaker, an event host or as a comedian, he would make your event both amusing and unforgettable.
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