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Tickling the English Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

121 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014104666X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141046662
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


A master-class in intelligent stand-up...It's thoughtful stuff, impeccably delivered. With material this strong, you don't need gimmicks (Guardian)

About the Author

Dara O Briain is the biggest Irish comic to have hit the UK in recent years. Already a huge star in Ireland, O Briain has now moved from being a sold-out festival favourite in Edinburgh to selling out theatres across the country and enjoying mainstream television success with his topical BBC comedy show, Mock The Week. He has been living in England for the past seven years.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered Dara's book as soon as I saw it was to be released and was eagerly awaiting it's arrival. I wasn't to be disappointed - it arrived yesterday and I've been glued to the sofa ever since! The book is a combination of Dara's observations whilst on his last tour of the UK and his interweaving of facts, figures and historical information of the places and people of England.

There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in the book (much to the irritation of my husband who wanted to know what I was laughing at but also wanted to wait to read the book for himself) and at the same time the book is full of interesting stuff. Dara also gives some insight into the life of a comic on tour and recounts many of the interesting people and conversations that he has had on tour.

If you like Dara's comedy then you're bound to enjoy his book. It's very well written, very funny and very clever. Highly recommended!
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Adrenalin Streams on 9 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've admired O'Briain in his role as the witty but controlled ringmaster on Mock The Week, but can he write? Yes is the answer, and charmingly too. There's perhaps not quite as much in-depth analysis of the English character in here as you might be led to believe from the cover of the book, but there are some nice insights. The real strength of the book is in the way O'Briain opens up the world of the touring comic, with the unhealthy eating and drinking habits and monotonous travel set against working in some beautiful theatres with hugely varying audience characters. The aspects of the book that describe the development of a few thoughts for a show through rehearsals in small clubs to a full scale tour are fascinating, as is the description of the need to constantly change and adapt the material while on tour. And then of course there's Ken Dodd.... I won't spoil the book but Dara is either: (i) Ken Dodd's marketing man (ii) his son, or (iii) a receptacle for storing Ken's money. Actually, my money's on the latter. Read and enjoy - on the strength of this book O'Briain has a writing ability that matches his stand-up skills.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. G. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 May 2010
Format: Paperback
OK, first things first. If you've stood at an airport or station, been in a bookshop or looked on line and tried to decide whether or not to part with your hard earned English pounds in order to buy this book, my answer would be simple. Go for it.

If you are looking for a book to relax with, on a journey, on holiday or at home, this would be an excellent choice. At the heart of the book is O'Briain's year long tour of Britain (but mainly England) , with occasional sojourns to Ireland to recharge his cultural battteries. He gives an account of each venue, the kind of people who make up the audience and some of the gags and stories he tells. Through this we learn about the life of the standup, how he goes about developing the material for a tour and how different audiences and his reaction to them can radically change the feel of a show.

The most interesting parts of the book are where he gives an outsider's view of the English, with his central thesis being that we have the most enormous downer on ourselves . Far from our living in a crime-ridden, juvenile deliquent, has-been country with a collapsing NHS, he gives evidence and quotes statistics which very much give the lie to Old Etonian man of the people, David Cameron's fantasies about "Broken Brtain"

Two real stand out parts of the book are (tagged on to an account of a show in Wolverhampton) a demolition of Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, and a heartwarming description of going to see, and chewing the fat with, Ken Dodd in Leeds.

The book is an easy read, overall it is quite gentle and the language while fruity in places is about 1/10th as sweary as his stage show. It may not be to your taste if you subscribe to a view of the world in keeping with that of the Daily Mail.

Oh, and as you'd expect, it is laugh out loud funny in places.

Definitely recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger Risborough on 9 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this. Dara O'Briain is an observational comic in the truest sense - he stands in front of an audience most nights of the week and from this he observes national characteristics, neuroses, pre-occupations and prejudices. His conclusion, is that if the English are pre-occupied with feeling negative about themselves, then they're not really that bad after all - not all of them anyway. He admits that his success on stage is down to how well he manages to interact with his audience (particularly the front row) but it's this interaction that makes every one of his shows unique, and helps to overcome the issue of repetition that logging his tour of the UK (and Dublin) might otherwise involve. I read this while on holiday in the middle of England and enjoyed the sense of Dara whizzing backwards and forwards around me as his zig-zagging tour itinerary unfolds. The big lessons (for comedians) are to stick to the big cities wherever possible, particularly Leeds (but not Sheffield) and never, ever end a tour in Tunbridge Wells. Also, avoid assumptions about strange noises emanating from the darkened stalls. For the rest of us, the lessons are much more revealing - about what we do for our livings, what makes us laugh, what crimes have been committed against us and what on earth motivates someone to sit on the front row of a comedy show - or arrive late. His reflections on his, and our, multiculturalism, are carefully considered and amusing, and his summary that what we (the English) are really coming to terms with, is that having once considered ourselves to be the BEST at everything, we're now generally FIFTH best at most things. Get over yourselves! Fair enough.Read more ›
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