Entertainment & Arts

Irish comedian Dylan Moran 'makes history' in Russia

Dylan Moran
Image caption Moran is best known for playing an Irish alcoholic in the series Black Books

Comedian Dylan Moran has become the first Irish stand-up comedian ever to perform in Russia, organisers of the gig have claimed.

The star performed in English at Chaplin Hall in St Petersburg, with his routine translated via headphones.

Moran told the BBC News website that he found Russian audiences to be "full of energy and interest".

But, at times, the language barrier "proved insurmountable", reported Ciara Bartlam in the St Petersburg Times.

Moran, who performed two gigs last week, is best known for playing an Irish alcoholic called Bernard Black in the series Black Books.

"I found the Russian audiences to be full of energy and interest, and as engaged and engaging an audience as you could hope to meet," Moran said.

"There was a lot of fun in talking about East/West stereotypes and everyone, as you might expect with modern city dwellers, was very politically switched on. I can't wait to go back."

'Learning experience'

During his routine, Moran covered a variety of topics including the country's new law banning "homosexual propaganda" and the imprisoned oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Reporting on how Moran's routine was received, Ms Bartlam said, at times, the audience struggled to understand what he was saying.

"Having got tied up in explaining a hat box as a box of hats, he exclaimed, exasperated: 'I don't know why I'm repeating myself thinking it will be any clearer'," she wrote.

She continued: "In the end, the cultural differences proved too much for the courageous comedian and he ended, visibly disappointed, telling his audience that they seemed to have become 'disconnected'."

Nick Handford, who co-produced Moran's gigs, said: "Russian stand-up is such a learning experience that it is immediately interesting for anybody coming here - and not only that, hopefully this will open the door to bringing Russian comedians over to the UK, to broaden our horizons even further."

Although stand-up comedy does exist in Russia, it is still an emerging art form, which is mainly popular with students and at open mic nights.