Irish comedian Dylan Moran was born in Navan, County Meath in 1971. Leaving school without any qualifications at age 16, Moran quickly became attracted to stand-up comedy and debuted, in 1992, at a comedy club in Dublin, The Comedy Cellar. A year later, he won the Channel Four comedy newcomer’s “So You Think You’re Funny” award at the Edinburgh Festival, and began developing his comedy routines into a one-man show, “Gurgling for Money”, for which he won the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award in 1996, and which he subsequently took to a nationwide tour of the UK. His exposure at the Edinburgh Festival also led to him getting programmed at international stand-up comedy festivals, worldwide.
Subsequently, Moran took to writing and performing for British television. He has starred in the BBC sitcom, How Do You Want Me? (1998), and – more importantly – in 2000, he was commissioned by Channel Four for the sitcom, Black Books (2000). He wrote and starred in three 6-episode series of this comedy. Co-starring popular British stand-up comedian Bill Bailey, who was nominated for the Perrier Award the year Moran won, Black Books (2000) sees Moran play a character close to his stand-up comedy persona: an unsociable misanthrope, reminiscent of the John Cleese sitcom character, “Basil Fawlty”, that shares a great love of wine with one of razor-sharp put-downs of all things human. Also, his character Bernard Black’s often surreal views on everyday things and on human behavior is close to his stand-up persona’s dealing with them.
The same year the first series of “Black Books” aired, Moran took his one-man show, “Ready, Steady, Cough”, on a UK tour, followed two years later by Dylan Moran: Monster (2004). This was followed by Monster II in 2004.
In the late 1990’s, Moran also moved from doing stand-up to working on a film acting CV. He played opposite Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in Notting Hill (1999), co-starred with Michael Caine in The Actors (2003) and had parts in the Simon Pegg comedy, Shaun of the Dead (2004) and the Michael Winterbottom film, Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005).
Moran’s live stand-up comedy is unique in that it merges two strands of stand-up that seemed incompatible for a long time: sharp observational humor, and surreal and fantastical language-based absurdity. On the one hand, he has a clear influence from what could be called an American school of stand-up comedy that is heavily observational. On the other hand, Moran’s comedy is characterized by a use of language similar to the stand-up comedy of Eddie Izzard and Ross Noble: surreal associative leaps between on the one side observations and on the other fantasies, verbally painting bizarre and absurd worlds, often through a use of stream-of-consciousness narration. His language is often highly poetic, resembling a James Joyce that has had one too many.
Moran is very reluctant to give interviews on his personal life and even on his career, a fact parodied in a staged interview inter-cut with the recording of his live stand-up show, “Monster”, on its DVD release.
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