Comedian Dylan Moran is a freewheeling delight to behold in person. A veteran of the comic circuit (as he admits, as part of a fantasy sequence, he'd really like to have a job, he's just never had a real one), he doesn't seem to have a plan as such. Sure, he's storing some jokes in his brain, and now and again a pre-planned line or set-piece might tumble out, but he's at his best when he's improvising, flailing across jokes with a barely comprehensible surrealism, even to last night's less-than-capacity crowd.
One perfect example of his bizarre talent for invention -- upon losing his place in a routine, Moran bemoaned the way the mind "falls apart" in middle age, then said "there's always something that comes to mind, though, isn't there. Like avocado stones. Remember them? You'd get them, put three matchsticks in them, and rest the whole thing in a shot glass by the sink. Then you'd just leave it there. Then you'd throw the whole thing away, because what are you doing with that shit?" After that he'd just kick back into where he was. It's like that's what his mind does on autopilot while he's trying to think of something else, produce ridiculous streams of nonsense.
The set itself began by tackling the many open goals Texas provides a European comedian, but with a slant. Moran never grandstands. When he shared his opinion on the government shutdown ("your government is five days old! You all know so little!") he got some whoops and cheers from the audience, only to completely reject any measure of support. "I'm not here for your votes. I'm just here talking shit. I don't care what any of you think."
Throughout, Moran failed to give a solitary fuck about not only anyone else's opinion, but also his own. You might think such a sentiment would come from a "punk" comedian, a comedian railing against authority and everyone else. But with Moran, it's like having a nihilist uncle who's had some wine and is completely unafraid to tell you that, actually, we will all die alone, and that once you're dead "your family might actually have a nicer time. They might listen to reggae music, dancing around the house."
Moran touched on all the "big question" topics -- birth, death, children, government -- but never once did he do it in a way that was anything other than charming and engaging. It wasn't a cutting-edge comedian trying to provide views you might agree with, it was a middle-aged man with a fantastic mind gently explaining to you that everything you hold dear is pretty shit. Right-wing, left-wing, green, all of it is worthless. And he built up such a pace, a relentless flow of nihilism about the human condition, that there was no stopping to catch breath until suddenly he called an intermission.
The second half simply couldn't keep the pace and invention of the first -- it had more set pieces (although Moran's read aloud version of 50 Shades of Grey, because "frankly it sounds like a lot less work that this," simply entitled "Erotic Novel Blockbuster," was fantastic) and more gentle ruminations about marriage as you grow older, but it was never unamusing. While he's unlikely to get back to Dallas any time soon, if you do ever get a chance to see him, don't miss out. He's a one-off.
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