Dylan Moran

Dylan Moran may look like he has just got out of bed, but his comedy is far from drowsy.

Dylan Moran

Born in 1971 in County Meath, Ireland, Moran left school at 16 with no qualifications and no idea what to do. He spent the next four years in unemployment, apparently writing bad poetry and drinking. Sounds like the perfect practice for life as a stand up, that...

He finally fell into stand-up after a visit to Dublin's Comedy Cellar. It was after setting eyes on a young Ardal O'Hanlon at this small 90-seat club, with no microphone, that Dylan got the idea of turning his hand to the art of hilarity. It was also where he did his first few gigs. Although he was a nervous performer initially, he soon built up a good reputation amongst the regulars and was clearly a precocious talent from the off. Dylan proved to be a natural, and within months had won the So You Think You're Funny Award as well as going on to become the youngest comic ever to scoop the Perrier Award at Edinburgh, at the tender age of 24. That's an age when most comics are still perfecting their wide-eyed stare and trying to settle on an appropriately wacky stage outfit.

His sell-out tours Monster, and Monster Two included performances in New York and Milan. The Times described his performance as "master class of comic charisma: swinging from topic to topic in a manner seemingly spontaneous but actually tightly organised."

Moran's on-stage persona is much like the character he played in the chortlefest that was Black Books, a sitcom which he not only starred in but co-wrote with Father Ted creator Graham Linehan. Torturing the put-upon Manny, played adeptly by Bill Bailey, Bernard is one of the finest comic creations since Basil Fawlty, and is to customer service what Ryan Giggs is to family values. In his defence he'd be fine if it wasn't for all those bloody customers.

As a stand up Dylan may look like he just wants to get the whole thing over and done with so he can get back to drinking wine and smoking cigarettes. In bed. But there's a lot more going on than just misanthropy and petulant wine-envy, as is clear after the opening shock of seeing a stand up who looks like he's just stepped out of a skip, rather than an enormodome's green room.

He's not one for the 'I just saw this thing on the way here' school of stand up either, not so much an observational comic as a sickened by what he's seen one, he manages to blend his impressive vocabulary and world-weariness with the dark humour and scathing world-view of a man who's just seen his wife French-kissing Danny Dyer. Luckily, because he delivers it in his lovely Irish brogue, he manages to make us feel special instead of aghast at the futility of life. Quite a knack, that.

Moran has resisted the lucrative move of becoming a regular on TV and has instead chosen to maintain eye contact with his audience. He still tours and is a regular at many national and international comedy festivals. A more credible comedian you will not find - and he's racked up a few awards along the way in recognition of this. La Monde also crowned him the greatest ever comedian, living or dead. Where do you go from that?

Accomplished performer, credible comic. Dylan Moran is one of the great stand-ups of our time. Just don't expect him to make you feel like life's a great big bowl of juicy cherries into the bargain, ok?

Friends of Dave