Irishman Dylan Moran – 1996 winner of the Perrier Comedy Award and occasional film actor – has been a high-profile purveyor of snark for many years. Since 2000, many would know of his misanthropic Bernard Black, titular character in award-winning comedy series Black Books (co-written by Moran and Graham Linehan).
Bookshop owner Bernard is intolerant of fads, inclined towards the messy, and creatively hones phrases to express his prickliness. If you hadn’t seen Moran’s stand-up before, you might wonder: how much Black is in Moran’s new show We Got This?
Moran’s MICF 2023 guide blurb gives a hint, promising a “… joyously furious romp through the frustration and folly of modern day life.” On this night, our performer looked about scruffy as his famous alter ego. Maybe travel from his English home depleted some fuel, making Moran more languid than Bernard?
This wouldn’t have mattered though if you attended for Moran’s use of words. Fans will likely find certain expectations satisfied. The show’s title isn’t to be taken at face value.
Also, Moran will have a go at pretty much anyone, including men and women in general, and various age groups. Barbs at how we pass the time often prompted a good volume of laughter from the packed house.
Moran had to acknowledge Melbourne’s regular appearances in the UK news about lockdowns. Music was to be his isolation hobby, and the audience were treated to extent of his achievements. Features of Moran’s keyboard aided his storytelling, which, sorta like jazz, could unfold in surprisingly ways.
After the interval, some ardent fans might find it odd that Moran included material less novel than usual, even if the dick jokes are somewhat embroidered. More memorable thoughts in the show related to how alcohol affects time, and how the female body is far better for certain tasks than what men have to work with.
The expected level of nastiness was balanced by touches of the whimsical, giving us Moran in more of a “curmudgeon lite” mode. Laughs at content on apathy and foibles were regular and loud. Maybe we can’t all say We Got This, but at least the audience seemed to find Moran on top of his game.
There was a lot to see at MICF 2023, and Moran only had a short season at the end. Fans who missed out will be pleased to hear that he’s added an extra Melbourne show on Monday 1 May 2023.
Dylan Moran: We Got This
Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Sunday 23 April 2023 – 8.00pm
Image: Dylan Moran (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte