Dara Ó Briain interview at London’s St Patrick’s Day festival

Hi Dara, how are you?

I’m alright. I’m grand. I’m a little tired because I’ve walked the parade then come here. It’s a big day, because it goes on for a while actually.

You spent all day as Grand Marshall waving to everyone throughout the streets of London. How was that?

The weird thing is that now I’ve got to go back now onto the same streets, without all my robes and my official duties and it will feel really lonely. It will actually feel more like the emigrant experience because suddenly the streets will seem really unfriendly again.

Probably the most selfies in any one day?

Oh, Jesus wept. People like to chronicle a moment these days. That’s kind of the way it works. At one point I thought ‘should I get a picture of this as well?’ then I thought I really don’t need to do this as well, I’ll just check Twitter and I’ll see lot’s of shots of myself waving gormlessly. 

What’s been your highlight of the day so far?

There were moments of the thing where we started off and I was really nervous, but people were delightful. Down Piccadilly in particular, the first push of it, where people were shouting and waving. It was lovely and I thought it was a beautiful thing. I didn’t realise how much more parade was still to come. Two and a half hours more of the bl**dy thing still to go on.

They’re still waiting for you to get up there on stage and sing.

Ah well, I will do a beautiful rendition and there will be tears. I’ll pick some beautiful old Irish song. Everyone will have one single tear. It will be moving. But everyone will have to be at exactly the right amount of drunk before I go out there. 

I was speaking to Sadiq Khan and he has promised me that he’s going to learn some Irish dancing to get up there on the stage, so I mean, you could be a duo?

I can Irish dance. There’s literally no way I’ll do that, and I can Irish dance quite well.

I’m sure like every Irish family you were doing the Irish dancing lessons from a young age?

All the time. All the time. No, it was in my school! It was once a week at the Irish dancing. I know them all, and I’m not doing them.

Jig or a reel?

Oh god all of them. All of them. Everything. Set dancing and ceili dancing, and all the other different forms of dancing. Oh no, no, listen, don’t come at me with a couple of terms, I know all of the terms here! 

I think I only got past the one step. That was it!

Honestly, it’s all built in the one step. If you can do that, one, two, three, four, five, six, then you can do the whole thing.

I’m great at counting to ten though!

That’s all it is. In fact it really is. You only have to count to eight. It’s fine.

Now, you’re about to head off to Sydney, because you’re doing a tour in Australia, is that right?

I am, yes. Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. We’re going over to do Stargazing Live for the BBC, and then while we were there we thought let’s see if we can do some dates and so we’re doing the Sydney Opera house. The first time in 16 years, and the first time properly playing Australia. 

But now, comedians can do stuff anywhere now. I do Oslo and I do Stockholm and I do Moscow and I do Dubai because the internet has taken everything off. Fragments of our DVDs appear all over the world and people see them. The BBC pops up randomly in different places, so you’ll sell tickets anywhere. I did Geneva a couple of weeks ago and thinking ‘This is weird’. It’s kind of weird. They see the stuff. In Geneva they all have the BBC anyway and they were all like ’No, we’ve heard that joke. We saw it. The entire show was on the telly here a week ago’. How people come to the show… but they do! DVDs are dead, and copyright and everything, but now we tour it anywhere, it’s great.

Do you find the audience is different. Do you get a different reception in places like Australia?

You do. They’re not different in any kind of fundamental way, the same stuff will make you laugh no matter where you go. I’m already out from where I’m from because I’m doing it outside of Ireland. Once you lose all the local references it works anywhere. I’ve done the Arctic circle with the same show I did in Dublin and it did just as well.

Well, it’s going to be a nice excuse for a holiday as well?

Hopefully! No, actually looking at it, it’s a horrendous trip. Literally, we’re doing stargazing in the middle of the night and we finish at seven in the morning. We’ve got a new show that’s on the air here at eight o’clock in the evening. On the last day I’ve got to get to Melbourne already having done a day to do the chat show back in normal clock. So it’s going to be horrendous.

Stargazing at the BBC is going to be broadcast live from Australia?

Yes, we’ll do a rehearsal like we normally do. Rehearse the show, rehearse the show, dress rehearsal, all that we normally do from 10 until eight, we’ll do at midnight until six in the middle of the night. When you see us on here, we’ll be smiling and waving and not knowing what we’re doing. It’s horrendous. There’s no holiday involved. It’s horrendous. 

Well, all the best with it. I hope it goes fantastically for you. Thanks so much for stopping by. Nice to meet you Dara.

Good luck to you!

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