Irish comedian David O’Doherty has been performing as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for years now, gathering a large following of devoted fans and learning more and more about Australian and Melburnian idiosyncrasies. He’s so familiar, he’s like a local, and like a local he knows what can make Aussies laugh. Hard.

Starting his show with an achingly topical reference about the Apple store and the latest news that it won’t be appearing in Fed Square now, as previously mooted, O’Doherty endears himself at lightning pace. As usual, through the use of a tiny keyboard, he adds charming musical accompaniment to his routine, sometimes in the form of hilariously weird songs, at other times just to punctuate random wacky observances.

There is solid, storytelling routine disarmingly hidden within all the musical interludes and it delivers some of the biggest belly laughs you’ll have in this year’s festival (some laughs even literally created by his belly). There’s bound to be some hyperbole in his deeply personal tales – it’s just not possible for one man to have so many absurd things to happen to him – but he knows just how to embellish and relate a story to take it from being funny, to tear-inducingly side-splitting. Stories of using toilet wet wipes for the first time and an exterminator finding mice in his hot water service are some of the funniest I’ve heard in decades of going to the festival.

David O’Doherty doesn’t need this review, or any other really, to sell out his season of shows in Melbourne – he has a very cunning way of getting people to return each year – so don’t dawdle in buying tickets or you’ll miss out on some of the heartiest laughs you’ll have all year.

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