Dara O’Briain is a stand-up comedian, and television presenter, best known in the UK for hosting BBC’s Mock the Week, and in Ireland for hosting RTÉ 2′s The Panel.
Dara is one the few performers to host successful comedy shows in both the UK and his native Ireland at the same time. He started his career in television as a children’s presenter on RTÉ whilst performing his first stand-up gigs on the Irish comedy circuit, after studying at University College, Dublin, where he studied Mathematical Physics. Dara came to prominence in Ireland as host of topical panel show Don’t Feed The Gondolas (1998-2000). He had to leave the show midway through its fifth season in order to perform at the Adelaide and Melbourne comedy festivals.
Dara later co-founded the television production company Happy Endings Productions, whose most famous show in Ireland is The Panel (2003-onwards). The show has become one of the most talked about shows in Ireland and was twice nominated for the Best Entertainment Show by the IFTA (Irish Film and Television Award). His big break in UK television came in 2003 when he became host of BBC2′s Live Floor Show. This led to an appearance as guest and, ultimately, four appearances as guest host of the popular news quiz, Have I Got News For You. By this time he had moved to the UK and was working on the British circuit full-time.
Dara sold out the entire run in Edinburgh in 2002, a feat he was to repeat for the next three years. By 2005, he was the biggest selling solo stand-up comedy show on the Edinburgh Fringe.
Dara’s hosted nine successful series’ of the comedy panel show Mock the Week for BBC television and can also be seen hosting BBC 2′s The Apprentice: You’re Fired.
Other notable television work sees Dara as an integral member of the Three Men in a Boat, alongside Griff Rhys Jones and Rory McGrath – the show is now in it’s fourth series. In 2007 Dara also fronted the BBC’s comedy interview programme Turn Back Time and in 2011 Dara co-hosted BBC1′s astronomical show Stargazing Live alongside Professor Brian Cox.
Dara is also one of the most sought after award show hosts in Britain and regularly hosts The Empire Film Awards and the BAFTA Video Game Awards.
Dara’s first book Tickling the English, released in 2009, proved to be an instant hit, remaining in the charts for nigh on two years after release. Part travelogue, part tour diary, the result is an affectionate, hilarious and often eye-opening journey through the Sceptred Isle.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
Some reviews of Dara O’Briain
Dara was brilliant, he spoke about relevant topics and had everyone in the room laughing!
Road Transport Media
Dara did an excellent job. Liked the fact that he did some industry-related gags, which the audience responded well to.
Dara was “Sheer Brilliance” at the Skoda UK Retailer of the Year event for 600 guests at the new CCD in Dublin, his style and professional skills at awards evenings were very much admired and quickly adopted by the client in rehearsals. This format made a great impact on the audience which gave Dara the perfect platform to entertain and compere the important award sections of the evening. Awesome, phenomenal event and Dara’s performance “Sheer Brilliance”