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29 October 2014
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Dead Funny
Dylan Moran
Dylan Moran

Irish deadpan comic Dylan Moran brought his ‘Monster’ stand up tour to Swindon's Wyvern Theatre. Anything and everything, except his blossoming career was up for discussion.

Will Guyatt laughed along.

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FACTS

Dylan Moran won the 1996 Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival His new film 'The Actors' with Michael Caine is due to launch later this year The third series of 'Black Books' will be screened in Autumn 2003

His new film 'The Actors' with Michael Caine is due to launch later this year

The third series of 'Black Books' will be screened in Autumn 2003
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Known to many as the shoplifter in ‘Notting Hill’ and the star and co-writer of Channel Four’s Bafta award-winning sitcom Black Books, Dylan Moran has made a name with his drunkenly acerbic brand of humour.

Having won countless comedy talent awards throughout the 90s, including the 1996 Perrier Award, he started the new millennium with film and TV appearances and found his profile boosted by cult comedy series ‘Black Books.’

This year will be busy for Moran, whose first starring role in a film – The Actors, in which he plays Michael Caine’s sidekick will be released. Secondly, the third series of ‘Black Books’ will be broadcast.

The ‘Monster’ tour is a return to the medium and type of material that made his name as a comedian. In the flesh, Dylan Moran reminds you of the drunken stranger you find at the end of any bar – both in demeanour and appearance.

Meandering on stage to the sounds of the Velvet Underground clutching a glass of wine and a packet of lung stripping full-strength cigarettes he made it clear that this would not be a night of “typical” stand-up from the off.

Dylan Moran is clearly not from the “joke then punch line” school of comedy, currently undergoing a rebirth thanks in part to Peter Kay.

A far more diverse range of subjects and life experiences and just the plain irrelevant was up for discussion. His Swindon show illustrated that he was prepared to talk about anything – except his career.

Despite inviting questions, it took a while for the audience to realise that Moran wouldn’t talk about his career. Somebody asked when his new film was out, his answer was “I don’t know” – and then there was a deadly silence. After a few more questions with equally short responses Moran stated: "the good bits of my life don’t really make for exciting material, so can we talk about something else."

From this point, posed questions included the scientific theory of species, relationships and buying presents for people you don’t like. All brilliantly handled, crafting an interesting story along the way.

The impromptu questions and replies to an increasingly annoying heckler proved that despite the drunken appearance, Moran is a quick witted thinker who can easily lead off from somebody’s question into his ‘pre-determined’ material without anyone seeing the join.

A lot of Moran’s material is philosophical – someone asked how many cigarettes he smoked in a day – after he seemingly chain smoked throughout the whole gig. The comedian responded: “That depends on your understanding of time – Last week I had a day which felt like it lasted about eight years – I would have smoked loads then.”

As the joke above shows, you can’t retell Dylan Moran’s material in the same way you can with that of his contemporaries Peter Kay or Adam Bloom. But this should not detract from the fact that he is genuinely funny.

Everything about the performance was unconventional but strongly recommended. On finishing his performance he asked if he would be asked back for an encore. The audience erupted with applause and the comedy stayed on stage for a further 10 minutes because he “doesn’t like to waste time or energy”.

Refreshingly brilliant.

Will Guyatt

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