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Lost City

Dylan Moran Interview

12 October 08 words: Syndicated
"We’re like protons banging into each other. We’re in a giant Hadron Collider all the time. It’s worth creating the Big Bang to get a bit of peace"

Dylan Moran can’t wait to see you. He has been away from the live circuit for a while, but he’s champing at the bit to return. Of course, he’s a respected actor and writer, too, but you can’t help but feel that stand-up is his first love. He’s coming back to it now, and he couldn’t be happier.

He is appearing at the Royal Centre on Thursday 16 October, bringing with him his coruscating new show What It Is. It is the comic’s customary dazzling display of virtuoso routines coupled with a scintillating use of language. Is there a stand-up alive who handles words in a more captivating way? It's because of this talent that Dylan been dubbed “the Oscar Wilde of comedy.”

Unpredictable, bizarre, elegiac, sometimes cruel and misanthropic, but above all painfully funny, he dissects the highs and lows of human experience with the sensitivity and intense perspicacity of a man who himself occasionally appears to be teetering on the brink of a precipice. He’s a marvellously splenetic grumpy young man _ and it’s that sensibility which invests his comedy with a rare edge. Dylan is, quite simply, a mesmerising stand-up.

In the run-up to the tour, Dylan is sitting outside a bar in central London sipping a cool drink. The comedian, who won both Channel 4’s “So You Think You’re Funny” Award and the Perrier, starts by expressing his excitement about returning to the stand-up arena for the first time since his sell-out 2006 tour, Like, Totally.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” beams the 36-year-old comedian, who hails from Navan in County Meath and is married with children. “I’ve been sitting alone in a room for many months now, and I can’t wait to get out there and try out all this new material. It’s such a great feeling when you discover that other people are thinking about the things you’re discussing. Nothing beats it when the material really flies.

“At the end of his shows, Max Wall used to say to his audience, ‘thank you, you’ve been fifty per cent’. That’s absolutely true,” continues Dylan, who picked up a Bafta and a Bronze Rose of Montreux for the acclaimed C4 sitcom, Black Books. “Otherwise, it would just be a man or a woman talking to the wind. When you catch a wave with an audience, you get such a buzz. It’s not like sounding off through a megaphone. Despite appearances, it’s a genuine conversation. If you’re the lead singer, then the audience is the rhythm section. There’s nothing like it.”

One of the predominant subjects in What It Is is the stress of our daily existence. “The relentlessness of modern life is a strong theme in this show,” reflects Dylan, who has appeared in such memorable movies as Shaun of the Dead, The Actors, Run Fat Boy Run, Notting Hill and A Cock and Bull Story. “We have a desperate need to distract ourselves with activity all the time. But why are we all so harrowed and worried all the time?”

With a wry grin, Dylan says: “It is, of course, terrific for comedians like me that we are so stressed. If we were all sorted, I’d be out of a job! But I think that if suffering is shared, it’s OK. We like it when people confide in us, ‘you’d have hated this, but it happened to me. You can probe me for all the details about how I lost my false teeth down the lavatory’. We need those stories about other people’s misfortunes to cheer us up.”

The comic, who stars in the forthcoming movie, A Film With Me In It, carries on by asking, “was there a slight sense of disappointment in the media when Hurricane Gustav hit New Orleans and didn’t quite live up to its billing? There was a sense that it would have been great TV. Three thousand journalists were poised in New Orleans. You wouldn’t get them poised in the beautiful blossom fields of Japan. We’re all ready to tune into a disaster.
That’s just the way people are. But there’s no doubt, it makes for very good comic material.”

Dylan, who also headlined in Simon Nye’s fabulous sitcom, How Do You Want Me?, reckons the stressfulness of modern life is exacerbated by its dizzying pace. “The roar of the vacuum is louder than it used to be because of 24-hour media and the homogenisation of every Western country. All the chain stores in all the cities look the same and blast out the same electro-migraine all the time.

“There is also definitely a feeling that you have to keep up with rolling news 24 hours a day. But when on earth do you get the chance to process all that alleged information? We’re just like protons ceaselessly banging into each other. We’re all in a giant Hadron Collider all the time. It’s worth creating the Big Bang just to get a bit of peace. There is pressure on us all the time, which is diverting us from what’s really important in life. I
think it’s caused by a fear of being alone. If you’re alone, you have to take responsibility for your life and that’s scary!”

Dylan, who during the show will also range in his inimitable, magnetic fashion across such topics as politics, religion, celebrity and parenting, laughs that the only thing concerning him about the tour is the prospect of going stir-crazy in faceless hotels during the course of the mammoth five-month jaunt around the UK. “At the moment, the tour is just a load of dates on a piece of paper,” he smiles.

“But come back and see me in a couple of months.  I’ll be dribbling, senile and very, very violent! I’m sure a lot of mini-bars will have been thrown out of hotel windows by then. After five months on the road, I can’t guarantee that I won’t go a bit Keith Moon!”

That aside, Dylan is thrilled to be on tour once again. “I love it,” he enthuses. “It’s great when audiences seem to care about the same things as me. I keep thinking, ‘is it just me?,’ and it’s so refreshing when it emerges that it’s not!”

His great achievement is managing to remain plugged in to the same concerns as his audience. “That’s why I want to keep low profile,” Dylan muses. “If you’re too well-known, it distorts things and you’re no longer in touch. I want to stay under the radar.”

Dylan Moran rules website



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