Navan to London and back again… Jake O’Brien catches the well-travelled Dylan Moran

“It’s pronounced Fitzsimons…” A dated quote? Yes. However this response to talk show host Jonathan Ross’ mispronunciation of stand-up legend Dylan Moran’s last name concretely defines his fantastically cynical nature.

dylan2Thankfully, not much has changed with Ireland’s prodigal comedian. He remains as bitter as ever – but this time around something is missing, and it could be part of his mind. With a sketchy start to his mammoth string of dates in Vicar Street, Moran barrelled his way through date after date, with a mixed response from diehard fans. When otwo got around to witnessing the grandeur of the Black Books hero, it was most certainly not the disappointment we had expected. His character was solid, his personality twisted, but his demeanour was slightly more confused than usual. It was more genuine – and that is indeed a worrying feature of his performance.

Following the success of prior notable shows Monster and Like Totally, his new act What It Is displays a continuing curiosity of the banal aspects of western society’s day-to-day routine. This time around though, Moran has focused his darkly embittered lens upon the trivialities of gender relations and their delicate balance. Despite the stagnant nature of some of the warm up material (religion, money and politics), the comedian’s brutal attack on the ridiculous nature of the interaction between the masculine and the feminine factions of our society, reign true in a side-splitting fashion.

Nonetheless, entertainment is dredged out of the audience in the way Moran sets up a casual voyeuristic frame between himself and his following. At the beginning, it is he who is watching you; gleefully representing our deranged idiosyncrasies. Halfway through his set, though, the proverbial penny drops. We, the audience, are now looking into his bedroom, analyzing his curiously bumbling attempts at family life: his never-ending battle for bed space, his understanding (or lack thereof) of his daughter’s generation and his extreme detestation for the term ‘random’.

All things considered, Dylan Moran remains the sickly confused anti-hero of Irish comedy. His sterling observations and outright refusal to cooperate with himself continue to redefine his place in the world of stand-up comedy. But all does not seem well in the twisted world of Moran. Something is missing. Something is dribbling away from the man’s eyes. His once brash and unforgiving cynicism is becoming worryingly sincere. Has he completely lost his faith in humanity? Who knows and why not? Responding to this notion, all we can tell him is this: hang in there. We have disturbing levels of depravity and degeneracy to reach yet.