Dara O Briain: ‘Hosting the BAFTAs is a weird gig’

Irish comedian Dara O Briain talks to TV Times magazine about hosting the BAFTAs (Sunday, BBC One), and why he’ll never present Eurovision…

Are you excited about hosting the BAFTAs?

“I’m delighted to be asked, but it’s a slightly weird gig. The nominees will be nervous so your comedy contribution is less interesting to them and a lot of the tricks I would use to snap them out of that won’t be allowed at 9 o’clock on television – it’ll just look like a man shouting at an audience!”

What can we expect of your presenting style for the awards?

”It will neither be wilfully controversial nor will it be debated in the way that either Ricky or an event like the Golden Globes invites. You also won’t have that trans-Atlantic element – it’s not like Brad Pitt’s going to be there looking bewildered!”

As a comic, you must be a veteran of hosting awards shows…

“If you’re a comic you’ll do 40 or 50 awards shows a year. My general rule of thumb is the more obscure the awards, the more those people probably deserve a night out and to be rewarded!”

As well as hosting the BAFTAs, you’ve been nominated for the Entertainment Performance BAFTA alongside Alan Carr, Graham Norton and Harry Hill…

“It’s slightly irritating that I don’t get to sit and bask in the nomination. I don’t think I’m going to win, but it’s kind of handy if people wonder who you are!”

This year, regular host Graham Norton is busy in Azerbaijan, leading the BBC’s coverage of The Eurovision Song Contest. What job would you prefer?

“I’ll leave that to him! I’ve never understood Eurovision, even when we were winning it year on year. We’ve sent over Jedward again this time – that marks the point at which Ireland just went, ‘Who cares!’ I won’t be watching, but good luck to Graham, I’ll keep his BAFTA chair warm.”

Is stand-up still your first love?

“I’ve hit the point where I’m playing 120 dates in really good venues and I’d like to hang ont o that as long as possible. Alan Carr did an interview recently and said that you think ‘When is it going to stop?’ and I feel exactly the same. All of the telly stuff is a joy, but that’s sort of incidental – if I can play to a 2000-seater room and just have fun, that’s the point I would like to stay at.”