ALL the world really is a stage to Dara O’Briain – as there’s hardly any corner of it where he hasn’t performed.
He’s more than 100 dates into his Voice Of Reason tour and he’s nowhere near finished.
He added an extra 29 autumn dates, including the Hammersmith Odeon in London, to the epic which started away back in February.
“There was a time when someone like Jack Dee doing 100 dates was a big deal, but that’s all changed,” Dara told iN10.
“I went through the 100-date mark last month and I still have another year to go. By the end of it, I’ll have done 180.
“I did try and put some sanity into it by saying, ‘No, these are the places I don’t want to visit. I’m over that place, let them travel’.
“That took about 30 or 40 off it, but then the international stuff comes sweeping in. We’re doing 17 countries this time around.
“We’re doing Tallinn and Reykjavik, for example, and I find it very hard to say no when somewhere new is dangled in front of me.”
Dara admits he has a performing itch that he constantly has to scratch, but with only about nine months between the end of one marathon and the start of another he reckons it’s well scratched.
With audiences seeking something fresh each time, there’s no time to sit back and rest on your laurels.
“Every show is a new show. When you start, you do so with a blank sheet of paper.
“You play little clubs and trainer sets and build it up from nothing.
“We comedians envy bands that can go out and play the same tracks over and over again because that’s what their audience wants.
“But we don’t envy them having to split their money five ways!”
And regardless of where he’s playing or what material he’s using, Dara is well aware of the expectations that come with being one of the country’s biggest comic names.
“The greatest pressure you have when you reach a certain level of recognition is the thought of leaving to a smaller round of applause than you came on to,” said Dara.
“That’s your biggest fear. You don’t want people saying, ‘Yeah, that’s not quite as good…’
“So when you’re starting with that blank sheet of paper and some half thought-out ideas there are nights when you have those worries.
“But by the time the tour starts and you hit a theatre that should be dealt with. I know there has to be a minimum standard and I’d like to think my minimum standard is pretty high.
“I get pretty neurotic if it doesn’t hit a strong level.”
It may seem, with so many dates, that everywhere would blur into one. But the Playhouse dates will be special.
“I’m in Edinburgh all the time for the Festival, seeing shows and checking out who’s doing what and who’ll be on Mock The Week in a year or two’s time.
“And after the last couple of tours I’ve also sneaked up to play unannounced little gigs.
“But I love the Playhouse, it’s one of the top five places in the world. It’s stunning. It’s both the largest, yet the most intimate of rooms.
“It’s the only place we’ve recorded a DVD outside of London and it was a wonderful night.
“It is huge and at some stage I won’t be able to appear in somewhere with 3,500 seats. But I’ll quite openly say that I will cling on with my fingernails as long as possible to keep playing there.”
Dara intersperses his touring with regular TV appearances but he’s gutted one series won’t be coming back.
He hosted the revival of Robot Wars, which was filmed on the outskirts of Glasgow. And he is upset it was axed just as it had hit its stride.
But he knows exactly why the BBC2 show bit the dust.
“That third series went out on Sunday nights at the same time as Blue Planet II,” adds Dara.
“Even in my house we were watching Blue Planet II! It was impossible to get an audience up against that, which is a shame as I thought we could have had many more series.”
Dara O’Briain: Voice Of Reason; Edinburgh Playhouse, Nov 16 and 17; For tickets see daraobriain.com