Guest writer Tom Croft enjoys Dylan Moran’s charming, yet well-polished trawl through some familiar subjects of stand up, as part of the Liverpool Comedy Festival.
The night of the royal wedding, slightly tipsy, I was lucky enough to catch Dylan Moran performing his new show Yeah Yeah for the very first time.
Every seat was filled, and Dylan ambled onto stage to warm applause. He paused, then asked if anyone had watched the royal wedding, before ripping into every dull moment of it. His easy stage presence and instant-on topicality drew everyone into the narrative, as he segued seamlessly to ranting about the aristocracy and from there to the rest of his life.
The laughs came frequently, and the observation felt genuine, but you couldn’t miss how familiar every topic was. The problems of turning 40, raising children, rants about young people, girls who wear short skirts in winter, the etiquette of dinner parties – they’re all classic subjects, worn smooth as pebbles by every comedian for the last 30 years. That said, Dylan gave each of those pebbles a distinctive shine, and the humour flowed naturally from his unique character and deft use of language, as when he described an entree as “a prawn pole-dancing on a breadstick”.
A slideshow of doodles was projected onto the backdrop throughout. It took me a while to figure out that they didn’t relate to what he was saying, and they did distract from the show a little, but they added a charming quirkiness.
The second half of the show returned to the themes of the first, including the royal wedding, before Dylan noticed there was a cake on stage, left by a member of the audience. This prompted a long and very funny improvisation. He’s at his freshest when off the script, and his description of cake as the ultimate symbol of love was particularly hilarious.
After that, the end came sooner than expected, only for Dylan to come back twice for two encores that no-one really asked for. They were good encores, but it felt very pre-planned, and slightly awkward. Still, Yeah Yeah had a very good first night, and the show can only strengthen as the tour continues, as moments of improvisation solidify into practiced routines.
It wasn’t life-changing, wasn’t ground-breaking, but it did provide an open window into the life and thoughts of a charismatic and talented man.