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24 July 2011 @ 06:58 pm
It's been a while since I did this! But Dylan is being interviewed by a New Zealander and he talks about the earthquake. And also I love him, as he is my favourite everything.

Visiting international comedians usually play to crowds in Auckland, sometimes Wellington. If they're Billy Connolly they may tour the whole country. But Black Books star Dylan Moran, on his upcoming fourth visit, is heading to Auckland, Wellington and somewhat unusually, Hawke's Bay.

Those with even a passing recognition of Moran, the scruffy, intellectual, incisive Irish stand-up comedian and actor, will be aware he doesn't mind a drop or two of wine – perhaps, I suggest, that's his reasoning for a gig in grape heaven?

"No, I didn't know I was going to Hawke's Bay," he says on the phone from Manchester.

"Where's Hawke's Bay?"

I explain it's one of the best wine-producing regions in the country. "There you go." He seems appeased. "Well great, I drink a lot of wine from New Zealand."

Moran may profess not to know much about Hawke's Bay but he is otherwise well aware of our country and its current struggles. Our interview took place just days after the June aftershocks that again put Christchurch in the headlines, and Moran seems genuinely concerned about how Kiwis are coping. And although he won't be making light of the situation, he says he certainly won't ignore the state of our nation in his upcoming shows.

"I'm very, very conscious of everything that people there have been through," he says. "I feel, wherever you go, whatever's going on, you've got to address the circumstances wherever you are. Some people just want to make gags out of everything. I react to what's around me, as well as having my own opinions and so on. I'm sort of waiting till I get [to New Zealand] to talk to people and find out how the experience was."

Instability in the world – both physically and economically – is likely to feature as a large part of his Yeah, Yeah tour. Moran says when he began writing his routine "there were incredibly dramatic events happening after a period when there was a relatively unchanging environment around us for a while", and he will be putting these world events into the context of everyday life.

"The mainstays of what I'm talking about on stage, I suppose, is the stuff of any fiction or story. It's stuff that happens in your own kitchen, in your own bedroom, in your own front yard.

"What I try to do is put the context of your kitchen in the bigger picture and how a person negotiates their way in the world."

And as well as talking about Christchurch's earthquakes and recovery, it's probably a safe bet Moran will mention the other big event here soon – the Rugby World Cup.

"I went to a rugby game for the first time this year," he says, later admitting it was only the second sporting event he'd been to in his life. The first was an Australian Rules game the last time he was in Australia. He enjoyed the rugby (Ireland v Scotland, Ireland won) but AFL was not really his glass of red.

"It's a stupid game," he says. "I mean the pitches are too big. It's ridiculous. I mean, it goes on forever ..." As for the rugby, Moran is a new convert and is tipping his side for world cup success. "All I can say, having watched the Ireland Scotland game, is the Irish team is in very good form. I'm sure I'll end up eating my words. But I will be watching."

Moran last visited in New Zealand in 2009 with What it is, a show that gained glowing press here and in the UK. Whereas many performers may dismiss reviews, Moran declares the opposite.

"I'm very interested to know how people are getting on with it. I don't read blogs or anything like that, I don't have the time, quite frankly. But if a review comes out in a paper I'll have a look," he says.

"If you're a critic worth your salt you should be able to go and see something which is the last thing you want to see and be able to give it a resounding thumbs-up because you can see that it's well executed.

"But my estimation of reviewers is not terribly high because I see very, very few that have that kind of requisite objectivity."

He is even more scathing of popularity polls that rank comedians in order of hilarity. Last year, UK TV network Channel 4, listed Moran as the 14th greatest stand-up comic of all time. In true curmudgeon fashion, Moran says he couldn't care less.

"Oh that's all a load of nonsense," he scoffs. "I mean, it really is. I'm not seven years old. If you're a kid, everyone wants to get a smiley sticker. But if you're a grown-up person familiar with their own thoughts and habits of thinking and faults, you have found some way to try and get the best out of yourself, you don't really give a monkey's about all that."

Moran is, of course, a "grown-up person" and, in fact, he'll be hitting the milestone of 40 in November. Does he worry about getting older? Will it be time for a mid-life crisis?

"I don't know, am I allowed to have one? I've had so many. Can I have another one? Can I squeeze one in?

"Look, life after the age of some indeterminate point in your 30s is a permanent state of crisis and anybody who says differently is a f------ liar or very dumb."

With Yeah, Yeah touring until October, Moran says he finds it hard to plan his career past that point. Whatever plans he does have, however, are unlikely to include another stint on film or TV screens.

"I sort of go back and forth in my own head: Do I want to do that sort of stuff again? I don't know. I don't like the condition of permanent recognition and being on television is an odd thing because you're in somebody's living room. I like making stuff ...if I make a show, I make a show and people come and see it if they want and I quite like that. I'm sort of suspicious of becoming part of the surrounding ambient white noise of culture, which happens when you're on TV."

Black Books fans will be devastated. If there are no TV shows or films in the wings, what can we expect from Moran after Yeah, Yeah?

"You see, people always ask that," he says wearily. "But the full extent of my plans is to do a serious piece of lying down."

Dylan Moran, Yeah, Yeah: Wellington, Michael Fowler Centre, Aug 23 & 27; Auckland, ASB Theatre, Aug 24-25; Hawke's Bay, Opera House, Aug 26.

Current Mood: calmcalm