International Relations – An Interview With Dylan Moran

[First Published in The Portland Mercury, June 26 2013]

IN BETWEEN PLAYING the stand-up circuit for over 20 years, and winning countless awards for his troubles, Dylan Moran has also found time to create the classic British sitcom Black Booksand appear alongside big-name stars in renowned films likeShaun of the Dead. What’s more, last year he became the first English-speaking comedian to perform in Russia, stopping off to play in Kazakhstan and Estonia on the way. We called him up to pick his brains on international relations, keeping comedy live, and selling fruit.

COMMON GROUND: “Everyone in the world, everywhere you go, people laugh at their neighbors, so I got on stage in Kazakhstan and said ‘Who do you laugh at?’ and as one they shouted ‘Kyrgyzstan.’ So, I was a bit nervous beforehand, but I got on stage and just talked and it was fun.”

IMPROVISATION: “If I go out and I’ve got a set text waiting to go, it’s dead on arrival. I have to go out and really not know. I can say, ‘okay, I’ll stop in this area’ and I don’t know what I’m going to say, that’s when you start to enjoy it again, and that’s when it becomes live, and that’s what this is all about, it’s the form.”

LAUGHING CURE: “It’s good for a culture to have this kind of international conversation going on through comedy. Especially in places where there are restrictions on freedom of expression and media. It’s healthy.”

BEING THERE: “It’s all about being present and active in your own life and in your own time. You can sit there and say, ‘I wish to live in the country, I wish to live in the city, I wish I lived 100 years ago, I wish I was rich and living over there.’ We all do that a bit, but you have to be there and address the immediate reality and use that as a vehicle for moving through a larger reality.”

GETTING OLD: “My wife tells me I talk too much about all this getting old shit and tells me I’m not that old. It’s because I just think it’s funny. When you’re touring, there is a bit of wear and tear, sure. I would probably be a bit healthier if I’d done something else like sold fruit for a living.”

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