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100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly funny and clever observations on what it is to be English
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...
Published on 27 Sep 2009 by Alison

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries to be clever, forgets to be funny
I was bought this book for Christmas as I am a big fan of his comedy.

Dara seems very keen to be clever and forgets about being funny for most of the book. I'd like to know more about this very funny intelligent man and this book didn't help much and didn't make me laugh enough in the process.

He gives historical facts about the theatres he visits,...
Published on 4 Jan 2010 by Mr. S. P. Rose


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100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly funny and clever observations on what it is to be English, 27 Sep 2009
By 
Alison "runninggirlcycling" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
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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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, funny and articulate, 9 Oct 2009
This review is from: Tickling the English (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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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Being Tickled, 1 Nov 2009
This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
This book is the perfect antidote to the negativity so often peddled (mainly by ourselves) about the English. Dara's writing portrays a tremendous affection for his audiences as he encounters people the length and breadth of the country and asks them the simple question `What do you do'? We are given a glimpse of what it's like to embark on an extensive stand-up tour and the lifestyle this dictates. I particularly enjoyed how it was written because at no point does Dara claim to be an expert on our history or customs but having said that I learnt more about England's past from this book than I ever did at school! As well as being, accessible, well written and thoughtful it's also (as you would expect) extremely funny. The exchanges between performer and audience draw out how truly comical everyday life is and added to Dara's slightly surreal outlook I giggled my way through it. All of this is combined with a very sweet moment about becoming a father, an encounter with the legendary Ken Dodd and the addictive qualities of the Geordie accent made Tickling the English a joy to read
I have just three things to say to Dara: (1) Can I have Damon's job please? (2) Please tell me you didn't really wear only two shirts throughout the entire tour because that's gross. And (3) when can we meet so we can swap accents?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tickling my funny bone, 3 Dec 2009
This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
I didn't think I could love Dara O briain any more than I already did, but I do after reading this book. I just hope he writes another very soon.
His tangents are always entertaining and come round in beautiful narrative arcs, the man can write.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, entertaining, exactly what it says it is., 16 May 2010
By 
P. G. Harris - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tickling the English (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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tickling the English in Ireland..., 7 Nov 2009
This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
As an Englishman who is living in Ireland, I really wanted to read the thoughts on the English by an Irishman living in England... So I did... And what a thoroughly entertaining, funny and insightful read it was.

I'm also a fan of Dara O'Briain, the Author, so that was just another reason.

Tickling the English is a wonderful book, which actually uses statistics to break down national stereotypes, rather than fear-mongering to confirm them.

Bottom line is, if you are looking for an informative, intelligent and funny read about why the English aren't a bad lot, this is the book for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, witty and wise . . ., 9 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
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. The analysis of the design of theatres and performance spaces was a new angle on this sort of memoir, and I also enjoyed the Ken Dodd bits - like Dara, I've often been intrigued by the stories of Doddy's legendary marathon shows, and here the King of the Diddymen casts a large shadow across Dara's tour by preceding him at most venues. In the end, Dara can't resist joining one of Dodd's shows (in Leeds of course) and his reaction to being pinned to his seat by a 5 hour barrage of gags is a recognition of the blood line of stand up comedy from music halls to Mock The Week, that transcends the simple categories of "old school" and "alternative". So - overall, a real joy, and I'm really pleased that I've got a ticket to see him on his next tour - I just wished a booked for Leeds rather than Tunbridge Wells - and avoided the front row . . .
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall good, 8 Dec 2009
By 
Tom Hodgson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
An enjoyable read, easy to pick up and put down in short bursts. Not always laugh out loud funny, but will make you smile and offers an interesting insight to Dara O'Briain as well as English culture
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stand-up comic's view from the stage, 19 Feb 2010
This review is from: Tickling the English (Hardcover)
At first I thought this was a going to be another travelogue in which the author wanders from place to place watching those eccentric English at play - perhaps a bit of morris dancing here, rolling a giant cheese down a hillside there. The only reason I picked the book up at all is because it's written by Dara O'Briain, a well respected (and very funny) Irish stand-up comedian.

Actually, what we do is follow Dara from theatre to theatre on his recent tour. His act involves considerable interaction with the audience, and we hear, through him, what makes them tick. It's a great behind-the-scenes look at the life of a stand up comic, and I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars England from an Irish viewpoint., 12 Jan 2010
By 
Mr. Kenneth Beatson "rockyb61" (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tickling the English (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. Likewise his story of an encounter with a "squaddy" at the Rawhide Comedy Club in Liverpool is priceless and probably could only have happened in Liverpool.
His description of what makes a room suitable for his show is fascinating and explains how it can change the nature of a show. There are stories of nights when things don't go as planned (Sheffield) or parts of the set which don't work (a section on a certain brand of crisps kills in Ireland, but falls flat in England). There is also the amazement with the idea that Ken Dodd (touring at the same time) is doing shows of over five hours when Mr. O'Brian thinks two and a half is a marathon. This culminates in Mr. O'Briain getting a ticket for the Ken Dodd show in Leeds and a chance to meet and exchange ideas with a member of the "Old Guard". This was one of my favourite parts of the book.
Overall, I found this a very enjoyable read, well thought out and articulated in places, book-droppingly funny in others.
Oh, and Mr. O'Briain's conclusion about the English - miserable, and happy being so.
I concur.
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Tickling the English
Tickling the English by Dara O Briain (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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