David O’Doherty is a man who only knows three jokes – or so he says – quite the claim to fame for Ireland’s 2010 Comedian of the Year. By the time the hour-long show ended, however, I certainly had to question his definition of a joke – O’Doherty is a man with wit and stage presence enough to keep the humour flowing all night.

Hailing from Dublin, O’Doherty draws on that usual reservoir of Irish laughs – the clash of Catholics versus Protestants – to carry a few tales. But he doesn’t rely on this point of difference from his audience, and the show covers a range of subjects without missing a beat. His frequent segues were always funny and kept me on my toes waiting for a return to the original story.

There is a broad theme to hold it altogether – that life is shit, basically. The blurb about the show mentions serious events like revolutions and earthquakes, but in the end O’Doherty’s prime concern is his broken heart and how to extricate himself from self-pity after being dumped.

He has a great knack for lighting on a particular subject – ranging from, say, mice to nostalgia – and mining it in a range of unexpected ways for humour. On occasion I thought, where is this going? – but then O’Doherty made me laugh and I forgot to worry about where he was headed.

Parts of the show definitely verge on the ridiculous, especially the random songs that he intones (it’s not quite singing) to the accompaniment of a keyboard, but it is hilarious. O’Doherty does have an unfair advantage – he’s automatically that much funnier by virtue of his accent. He only has to say “rubbish” with the right emphasis to have me in giggles.

David O’Doherty is a practised comedian who looks completely at ease in front of a crowd. His show is light-hearted humour, poking fun at both himself and the bizarre nature of this world we live in. A class act.

David O’Doherty is Looking Up is playing at the Forum Theatre, Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm and Sunday at 6.30pm until April 22.

Suzannah Marshall Macbeth blogs over at Equineocean.

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