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Dylan Moran at the Palace Theatre

Trudie Robinson hangs on to the Irish comedian's every word and discovers raw talent

Published on October 15th 2008.


Dylan Moran at the Palace Theatre

To say that Dylan Moran has a way with words is like saying the Scots are fond of a natty check in their cloth. You might think that ‘a way with words’ is on the list of job requirements for the post of a stand-up (some do manage to get away without it, it seems) but Moran’s way is more inventive than most. It’s as if he’s channelling a dictionary but all the words have been rearranged on the way through.

It’s this kind of innovative use of language that led him to clutch the Perrier award in his sweaty grasp when he won it back in 1996. Ah, the nineties when we loved all manner of wordy Irishmen (it’s cliché but in the cases of Moran, Byrne and Tiernan it’s also true).

Since then Moran’s made forays into TV and film with a series of Black Books and How Do You Want Me? and movies such as Shaun of the Dead and Run Fatboy Run. More than likely it’s his screen appearances that will have drawn in much of the crowd in the Palace tonight.

A crowd seemingly obsessed with taking pictures of him, so much so he has to, good-naturedly, tell them to stop. Maybe those audience members just can’t bear to take their comedy without it being confined by the edges of a screen.

To return to Black Books for a moment, there is something of the curmudgeonly bibliophile shopkeeper character (well less a bibliophile more of a man using piles of books to hide behind from the general public) Bernard Black in Moran. Perhaps inevitably as he did write the series as well as appear in it. Though still a ranting misanthrope in the main, the gags here are tempered by a cheeky, wry smile. In appearance however, the similarities are there. He shuffles on to the stage, in a slightly dishevelled jacket over an untucked shirt and topped with his trademark tousled hair.

It is in fact the Scots that come in for the opening ribbing (he lives in Edinburgh) tumbling out those oft spouted clichés about them then moving on to the French, the Greek and the Chinese in turn. But this is no xenophobic rant. He draws attention to the clichés, subverts them, then follows them up with an equally ludicrous observation of his own. His fellow Irish are ‘bumpy’ in appearance looking like “they’re trying to hide another person inside” and the Spanish are a race that try to “jam lipstick in lady’s ears.”

His set is delivered with a strong sense of the ridiculous, a flourish of vocabulary and a gross exaggeration. Words and descriptions are spliced together in thoroughly unexpected ways. After musing on and giving a bizarre twist to religion he ponders how your priorities change as you grow older– for Moran these days young ladies are desired for their healthy kidneys rather than their breasts. Rounding off the first half with a look at his watch, inquiring of the audience whether they want to go for a drink and off he shambles with no airs and graces.

In the second half, as so often happens in a Moran gig, he truly hits his stride, one suspects due to the consummation of the wine on the small table next to him on the stage. Being as the complete ban on smoking in public places prevents him from a stage cigarette (or several), he has to resort to replacing his fags with sweets and chocolate ‘like a child.’

He explores the differences between men and women and with tongue in cheek, harks back to a beautiful image of a golden era when men were men - when they died in pubs with a ham hock tucked under their arm. He follows it with his artfully constructed rhetoric on sexual peccadilloes, geriatric yoga classes and his dissatisfaction in visiting the doctor.

Returning for the encore he closes with the most poetic description of a prostate examination you’re likely to hear and off he pops back into the wings.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DebsOctober 15th 2008.

I'm going to the Saturday show, can't wait! I saw him at Dublin Airport but was too shy to ask for a photo, had to make do with a bit of mild stalking instead!

emma graceOctober 15th 2008.

oh i wish i'd gone...i thought he was absolutely gorgeous when i saw him in Run Fat Boy Run...and pretty funny too!

BazCroftOctober 15th 2008.

Fabulous gig. Wish it had gone on all night. Best line - when asked how you are, reply "well, I've got piles, but I'm still masturbating!" Priceless!

DrakeOctober 15th 2008.

Love the image of the 'consummation' of wine

CharliebobOctober 15th 2008.

Went, loved it, thought he was brilliant. Favourite line "feels like a herd of penguins on fire leaping off a cliff into a sea of crisps"

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