Dy­lan Mo­ran: Top comic head­ing to Nor­wich

As the pop­u­lar Ir­ish co­me­dian Dy­lan Mo­ran heads to the county we ask him what show­go­ers can ex­pect

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS: Brian Don­ald­son PHOTO: Andy Holling­worth Dy­lan Mo­ran: Dr Cos­mos will be at the Nor­wich Play­house Septem­ber 3-6. nor­wich­play­house.org.uk dy­lan­moran.com

As he pre­pares to take his show Dr Cos­mos across the UK, it might feel as though Dy­lan Mo­ran has an in­tri­cately con­ceived game plan in place given that he an­nounces a new com­edy tour ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery three years. But that feel­ing would be quite wrong.

“I’m glad to be able to say that I don’t know how of­ten I tour, be­cause I can’t re­ally deal with know­ing ex­actly what I’m go­ing to be do­ing. But I do en­joy tour­ing and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to this one.

“It’s great fun get­ting to go places. Last year I went to Lin­coln: I’d never been there be­fore.” He’s cer­tainly been to Nor­wich be­fore and must have liked it, be­cause he’s back at the city’s Play­house for four nights this month.

A reader and a thinker, Dy­lan is al­ways alert to the comedic or philo­soph­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties around him. “I try to make my­self very re­spon­sive, and you’re al­ways on when you’re tour­ing, con­stantly re­ceiv­ing and trans­mit­ting, but you can’t be like that all the time.

“You have to come home and be bor­ing dad. Which I’m very good at ap­par­ently. And yes, they tell me that in no un­cer­tain terms.”

Lit­tle do they know, per­haps, that this dull fa­ther is one of the most ac­claimed UK-based co­me­di­ans of the past three decades. In 1996, at the age of 24, Dy­lan be­came the youngest win­ner of the Perrier com­edy award, and this Na­van-born, Ed­in­burgh-based comic, ac­tor and il­lus­tra­tor (his ‘doo­dlings’ are likely to be used as the back­drop to his new live set), has con­tin­ued to wow the crit­ics and charm his au­di­ences with live shows such as Mon­ster, What It Is, and Off The Hook, while his TV and film cred­its in­clude Chan­nel 4 sit­com

Black Books, BBC com­edy-drama

How Do You Want Me?, brit­tle Ir­ish movie Cal­vary, and zom­bie rom­com Shaun Of The Dead.

But never does Dy­lan seem more alive than when he’s work­ing his ma­te­rial be­fore a live au­di­ence. “I have high hopes for this show, I’m re­ally into it. And I’m re­ally into what an in­cred­i­ble time it is to be do­ing com­edy. I want peo­ple to come in and have a great time and go home feel­ing bet­ter. I’m not go­ing to ask peo­ple to un­der­stand any­thing too com­pli­cated or any­thing that I feel can’t be un­der­stood. A lot of it is about pulling the squir­rels out of the bag and giv­ing them a name or a num­ber. Let’s just say that I’m or­gan­is­ing the squir­rels.”

So, who is this Dr Cos­mos that Dy­lan Mo­ran speaks of? Is it some fic­tional man of the world? Or is it the Ir­ish co­me­dian him­self in stage guise? “I get th­ese ideas for themes or iden­ti­ties that ob­sess me for years and Dr Cos­mos has been around for a while. I’m writ­ing a pi­lot episode which has Dr Cos­mos as the ti­tle and it’s about all kind of things, like con­sumerism and mental health. It’s the idea of a snakeoil sales­man, like those ads you see on the net about los­ing your tummy by eat­ing ba­nanas or not eat­ing ba­nanas, what­ever it is. A lot of the live show is about peo­ple just try­ing to cope. The big things still ap­ply: fam­ily is still there and the root sys­tems don’t change, it’s just the way we’re liv­ing has.”

Much of this new way of liv­ing has, of course, much to do with the tech­nol­ogy that seems con­stantly at our fin­ger­tips. It’s fair to say that Dy­lan isn’t ex­actly ap­prov­ing of our de­pen­dency on screens.

“Look at the mys­tery that has been taken away from us: the whole ro­mance of hu­man his­tory was made by all the imag­i­na­tion and pro­jec­tion of peo­ple in one place won­der­ing what was over the hill. There was myth and sto­ry­telling, but now ev­ery­thing we could con­coct in the dark has been re­placed by the crys­tal clear Samsung LED screen. All those de­lib­er­a­tions that were need­less but very hu­man and showed how in­ven­tive, ca­pa­ble and nutty we were have been swept away now.”

So where does over-reliance on tech­nol­ogy that answers all our ques­tions in a nano-sec­ond leave the art of sto­ry­telling? “I think peo­ple are des­per­ate for it; we re­ally need it. And we need to be around the fire and hear it. We’re con­fused about what’s hap­pen­ing to us now, and that’s why you get Brexit and you get Trump and you get all this po­lar­i­sa­tion.”

If peo­ple are crav­ing sto­ries and sto­ry­tellers, then they can still de­light in the in­no­va­tive world of Dy­lan Mo­ran. The good news is that he has plenty to say. “I write a lot, so I’ve tons of ma­te­rial. That’s never been a prob­lem for me, the prob­lem is de­cid­ing ex­actly what to do with it.”

“I have high hopes for this show, I’m re­ally into it. And I’m re­ally into what an in­cred­i­ble time it is to be do­ing com­edy”


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