How it’s New York: Theater 80 is in New York’s East Village
How it’s Irish: Dylan Moran was born and raised in Navan, Co. Meath
Dylan Moran ended a 4-night run at theater 80 in the East Village on Saturday night, which I was lucky enough to attend. In short, my body heaved with laughter, a sure sign of a successful performance.
His big themes were politics, family, middle-age, millennials, technology, and the past, with a scattering of comparisons between New York, England and his native Ireland.
When comparing New Yorkers and Brits he talked about the ability of New Yorkers and lack of ability of the Brits to get things done. His view of the forward moving New Yorker continued when he said that if it were legal to wear a snowplough on your face New Yorkers would wear them to get where they were going. Brits on the other hand were always waving her hands to let somebody else go first as they repeatedly moved backwards and essentially ended up exactly where they began.
Of course he couldn’t resist mentioning the current political situations in both countries. He began by talking about leaders such as Obama and Merkel and the realisation that all of us have that these people are just far better than us and that basically they would fair better in the marshmallow test than any of us, as it should be. We should look upto our leaders. And then he moved swiftly onto the 45th US president and reminded us that we all have a little bit of that character inside of us – the part of us that while waiting in line for something starts to get antsy and irritable, and the inner voice that starts to whine and rant and, well, in his case, tweet.
The second half of the show he decided he was going to be decidedly more positive and upbeat. In a display of mock transference, he blamed the audience for dragging him down in the first part of the show. It wasn’t long however until he tired of the upbeat pseudo character he took on, and quickly reverted to discourse on the essential darkness of life, focusing in this time on millennials and their petty problems, reminding them of his difficult experiences growing up in Ireland where there was nothing to do, just fields and space, and the challenges of dating, when you had to use ‘a building phone’ to call another ‘building phone’ and if the person you were calling wasn’t there, you had to leave a message of longing with a complete stranger.
…the challenges of dating, when you had to use ‘a building phone’ to call another ‘building phone’ and if the person you were calling wasn’t there, you had to leave a message of longing with a complete stranger.
He is quite buddhist in much of his thinking. Philosophical and existential, he did a fantastic analogy of how us mostly unenlightened humans think – how we are constantly stuck in the past, scared of the future and rarely in the present. “We walk around thinking ‘this is shite, things were so much better before, fuck what’s this?’”
[pullquote] “We walk around thinking ‘this is shite, things were so much better before, fuck what’s this?’”[/pullquote]
On family he talked about his role as a member of the institution that really keeps us all going. His outlook on life like most comedians is pretty dark. His claim is that life is a pretty difficult journey that is made palatable only by our relationships to other people. There are of course restrictions and constraints being in a family unit he told us. For example if he wants to go outside and do something for himself, by himself the idea is quickly shut down by his wife and he is told to stand around and wait, and they’ll be another job for him to do soon.
He has written a TV show, which ABC had bought into, but it got cancelled (before it even began). Here’s hoping his work gets bought by someone else and we can enjoy some of his dark wisdom stateside.