Irish comedian Dylan Moran brings a relaxed and intelligent set to the Lakewood Theater.
published Friday, October 25, 2013
Dallas — Great torrents of words come out of Dylan Moran, fluid cadences and crashing juxtapositions of rich language in a tipsy Irish brogue. The speedy delivery and smashing together of incongruous elements forge weird connections that send you go into brain lock. Free associations on fire stun the synapses. By the end of Moran’s show at the Lakewood Theater on Thursday, I relented to the onslaught of pejorative observations piled upon another, set the reviewer’s pen and pad aside, and laughed about dead hamsters until I cried.
So relaxed and casual, there never seemed to be a direction to Moran’s two sets; it all appeared to be stream-of-consciousness diatribes. Yet the material’s had stage legs since 2011 when yeah, yeah toured around Europe. It was like watching Dylan Moran rummage around the mind of Dylan Moran, casually pulling out bits and routines for a ride. Or as Dylan puts it: “I’m merely offering reflections from my fun house of perception.” That was amplified by the slideshow backdrop of Moran’s bizarrely artistic and imaginative drawings.
And what a wide-ranging rummaging it was. The dyspeptic pop-culture chronicler and equal-opportunity disparager gave his take on 50 Shades of Grey, Slavic versus romance languages, and Germans’ love of pork. A bit about children forging the future by modifying language offered glimmers of depth. He compared the complexities of girls maturing into women and mothers to that of boys who “have a finger up one nostril and the other hand on their penis and they get taller.” For all the cynicism of his Black Books BBC series fame, he’s just a very silly man.
As an Irishman who has lived all over the British Isles and traveled the world, Moran expertly dissects American culture. This makes the idea of him developing a sitcom for ABC especially delicious. He dwelled on the horror of channel surfing American cable television in a Nyquil haze, American junk food and huge people, gun nuts, and inane California culture. A peak bit was the religion of Apple with its “high priests and pocket altars.” He described American males’ love of “exceedingly decisive” Damonesque action heroes as “outsourcing your masculinity.” An unprintable routine on sex had the audience wheezing in laughter. “Scrotum” is just a very funny word.
At his best, Moran’s right there with us, chasing the anxiety rabbit down the hole. The apex of the show was this spectacular rant on late-night wrestling matches with mortality:
“Who sleeps, really? If you’re a proper adult person in the 21st century, how can you relax, at all? Your mind keeps churning. You think, ‘What if this thing happens?! What if that thing happens?! What if they happen together?! You lie in bed, beside your partner… ‘What if I died?!’ If you don’t have a partner, you just think, ‘What if I died? … Okay, I would be dead’.”
Moran conjectured how his loved ones would go on after he died:
And inevitably your partner would find somebody within the first three to four days, and begin a tumultuous sexual relationship. They would be having sex a lot in your bed when you were dead! The morning, the afternoon, the evening, and the nighttime would be the main times they would be having sex, in your bed, when you were dead. That’s when you realize you are lying besides somebody who is waiting for you to die! And what’s more, they’re sleeping to make the time go faster.”
Twenty-somethings took it on the chin several times: “They chatter endlessly because they have nothing to say. Young people are terrified of being alone. Are you afraid of your own company?” Yet Moran went beyond curmudgeon to skewer the mature: “It’s easy for 20-somethings to talk all the time. After 40, you have voices in your head that compete. These voices, sometimes they get nasty.” Rather stunning was the astute observation comparing the dull domestic regurgitations and free-floating anxiety of middle-aged dreams to the free and vivid dreams of adventurous youth.
Moran’s rhythm combines the near lyrical cascades of thoughts with tight punchy phraseology:
“Running at each other, dressed as newts.”
“Like an Easter Island head stuck in traffic.”
“We all want to escape. How else do you explain Game of Thrones?”
“You’re never ready for anything, especially children.”
“All children need is Cheerios and love.”
“Are you a sociopath or a psychopath? I want to make sure you get the right thing for Christmas.”
Moran is known for researching places he performs and custom shaping some introductory material. He opened with “I just came in from Austin” and smiled mischievously. “They say terrible things about you,” he said, and jabbed Dallas’s hyper-conservative reputation. But then tweaked Austin at length for being preciously hip.
I love this man. Like some other women, possibly too much.
Worry about being in this part of Texas crept in a few times. Moran started to go down a road of ridiculing Republicans and pulled back, alas; it seemed gleefully wicked. The same for some material on science, religion and the “business of belief.” He shouldn’t have worried. You don’t buy a ticket to a Dylan Moran show and expect any sacred cows to be spared.
Original article andvideo at: http://www.theaterjones.com/ntx/reviews/20131025121106/2013-10-25/Lakewood-Theater/Dylan-Moran