Interruptions plague Dylan Moran in the Waterfront, but he still manages to deliver some first-class surreal comedy
Dylan Moran is a dishevelled, unshaven comedian with the stage presence and charisma of a rockstar. On stage at the Belfast Waterfront he demonstrates that he is, as they say, a born performer.
'Topical humour? It’s Tuesday, isn’t it?' Dylan says, introducing some election-based material. 'That’s as topical as you can get!'
The rest of the evening is filled with exasperated observations and increasingly surreal imagery. For example, Moran compares 'every Taoiseach’s voice' to the sound of a 'low flying badly broken crop duster'.
Two front-row late-comers disrupt the gig with their arrival. Moran pounces on them, stating that he ‘knows the Malone Road is a long way from here’ and that they ‘just had to open that second pot of hummus’. This quip is met with wolf whistles and applause, and the comic continues undisturbed. For now.
Everyday observations are Moran's forte. Recurring themes are family life, childhood, getting old and (most prominently) death. Not the cheeriest of topics when written down, but they suit the comedian’s old-before-his-time persona perfectly: 'I was old when I was five,' he claims. 'I was born old!'
After discussing his youth ('We all grow up in a dictatorship!') and sharing some advice from his grandmother ('It doesn’t matter how big they are, they all have necks'), Moran talks about his own mortality and those late night worries we all have.
'You’re lying there next to your partner, you’re wide awake and they’re fast asleep. And you start thinking, "What if I died?",' says Moran. 'They wouldn’t cope! Or worse, they would! But you’d pity them because you’re dead. And they’d find somebody new, and they’d be lying in bed feeding each other lobster and making love, but you’d be looking down. Pitying them.’
Images of Moran’s own artwork are projected on a large screen down stage throughout the show. The art is impressive, and complements the show, but it also distracting at times.
After the interval, the audience is a little livelier, but not in a good way. One woman interrupts the performance with continual screeches of 'Dylan, you’re sexy!' It gets very old, very quickly. Even Moran becomes visibly flustered.
Then, just when it seems like he has got her quietened down, she does the unthinkable and tries to tell him a joke. It's not very funny, and neither is she. Other audience members join in. As the various shouts come from different sections of the crowd, Moran notes that 'Belfast is the only city where the hecklers have footnotes.'
Despite such embarrassing interruptions, however, the show is still a triumph of existential comedy. It is a testament to Moran as a writer and a performer. He's not such a grump after all.