A quiet night in with Moran

Words: Dave Mann
Photograph: Mia van der Merwe

Irish comedian Dylan Moran performs in his newest show, Off the hook, on his first visit to South Africa, in Grahamstown on 3 July 2015, at the National Arts Festival. Moran is also a writer, actor and filmmaker who, at 24, became the youngest person to win the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award in 1996 at the Edinburgh Fringe (Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe).

I just sat through a Dylan Moran show slightly tipsy and red faced. In my defence, I didn’t plan this terrible cliché. Having only located my ticket about 20 minutes before show time and arriving at Monument 15 minutes later after a brisk jog up the hill, I was in need of a drink. One downed beer and a few arguments with unyielding audience members with incredibly long legs later, and there I was – in my seat, out of breath, a little buzzed, but on time.  

Moran was spectacular. Quick quips referencing the ANC, DA, Malema, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa warmed up the audience in the first few lines. He’s toured his Off The Hook show for quite some time now, and like many international comedians who pop down to South Africa, he could’ve recycled the same content that we’ve seen him perform on the internet before, but he didn’t.

Taking the time to familiarise himself with our current political climate, a few of our 11 official languages, and even walk the local streets, made for a far more personal, and relatable show.

That said, Moran made no attempts at painting his comedy in broad socio- economic strokes, but focussed instead, on the everyday politics of the modern family. From the untimely death of family hamsters, to giving up smoking and packing on a few pounds, the audience was taken through a day in the life of Moran, with all the ludicrous outbursts, snarky cynicism, and vaguely incoherent rambling you’d expect.

In the end, perhaps because of his frantic comedic style, or the fluid structure of his sets, the two hour show was over in a flash. But the audience left having been granted a sneak peek into the life of one of the finest European comedians who’s been on the top for a number of years, and shows no signs of moving.