Review: Dylan Moran at Vicar Street
Dylan Moran cannot stop eating.
He has - in his own words, mind - taken up eating professionally. It has a lot to do with giving up smoking, apparently, after the comedic grump from Navan kicked the habit after, oh, about 27 years.
It's like wrestling with a polar bear, he explains. And now, the polar bear has more to hold on to. Yet, from where we're sitting, the guy still looks exactly the same as he did ten years ago.
The biggest problem, Moran insists, is the fact that he is now 43. Which is why death, a topic he had never given much thought to in his 20s, is now a big, scary monster in the corner. Yes, this world-class curmudgeon is still ticking the boxes and tickling our ribs.
The glass of red wine is still resting on the adjacent table, and we still have lots and lots of unusual and wonderful artwork from the Dylan Moran notebook to admire on the wall behind him. The guy out in front just got grumpier, is all.
See, we've always wondered where Moran (the person) begins and Moran (the character) ends, and the answer is simple. The TV wasn't lying - the only fictional part of Black Books was the book store. Dylan Moran is Bernard Black, and Moran's comical despair is a joy to behold.
Indeed, it requires effort, diligence and the observational skills of a first-rate stand-up to assemble this kind of set; the kind that sounds like a ramble but has, in reality, been meticulously planned from paper to stage.
With Off The Hook, Moran discusses age, sandwiches, weight gain, trips to the art gallery in his shorts and buying a puppy for his kids. Living in Scotland, he no longer uses our "hobgoblin" currency.
Nor does he watch Irish news (it gives him a concussion). He doesn't feel the need to talk about the long weekend that got out of hand (the Celtic Tiger). So long as we know that Enda Kenny looks like a geography teacher, we're all good. Moran also takes his anger out on bearded hipster baristas.
There is a beautifully imagined, surreal insightfulness to his wit. The delivery is casual; the material, razor sharp.
He doesn't need our admiration, he insists. He still gets it, not least when Moran goes to town on someone trying to take pictures in the audience.
That final skit, too, is a hoot. Let's just say that Moran has written his own Erotic Fiction Blockbuster (that's the official working title).
Tonight, he shares some extracts. Put it this way: imagine if Dylan Moran, or even Bernard Black, had written Fifty Shades of Grey. Exactly. The man is a genius.