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Tickling the English Paperback – 1 Apr 2010


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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: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

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

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Sep 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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55 of 56 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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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Kenneth Beatson on 12 Jan 2010
Format: Hardcover
The first thing I should say about this book is what it isn't.
It isn't a celebrity biography (although there are mentions of Mr. O'Briain's life).
Nor is it a recreation of his stage show (yet it does include references to some of his routines).
What it is is an outsider's look at the idiosyncrasies of England as a country, and the English as a race, interspersed with a diary from his last nationwide tour.
Another thing which this book is not is one of those Christmas knock-offs - hastily thrown together and, just as hastily discarded.
Mr O'Brian has obviously put some effort into researching the social history of England (which he accepts is not a subject covered in great detail in Irish schools). This research manifests itself in a number of references to books, articles and speeches from various points in England's history.
It would be wrong to say that this is a dry, scholastic tome. There are plenty of incidents and anecdotes which amuse, and more than once I had to stop reading because I was laughing so much.
He seems genuinely impressed at how the English adapt to any situation which may arise, but always seem to moan about things even (especially) when things are going well.
If you have seen Mr. O'Brian live, you will know that a portion of his set requires interaction with the audience which can cause the show to go off on wildly varying tangents making each show an individual event. The two most used questions of his audience being: "What do you do?" and "Have you ever interrupted a crime". Some of the answers to these simple questions have since taken on a life of their own and became integral parts of the set - the story of the car thief can stand repeated telling.
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