By Allan Sko
Dylan Moran’s brand new stand-up show We Got This is coming to Canberra Theatre on 27 & 28 April. But what exactly is the ‘this’ that we’ve ‘got’? Such ponderings, along with talk on alcohol (or lack of it), writing books, post Covid, and what to expect from the show are coming up.
It’s always a pleasure chatting to Dylan Moran. This happy occasion marks my fifth conversation with the man, and it’s always a joy; the dulcet Irish tones, the laconic speech counterpointing a clear furious intelligence and wit. What’s not to love?
And in 2023, he is applying these personal attributes to penning a book between touring. But good luck getting any details about it. With good cause.
“I am writing,” he breezily states. “I’m messing around with a bunch of stuff. Obviously, when I tour, I don’t do that as much, but when I finish that then I will do my homework, I’ll be a good boy, and I’ll do my book. But for now, I’m all about the show.”
Any clues on what the book is about?
“I’ve been kicking around a few things for a few years,” he says. “It’s a lot of things. I don’t tend to announce what I’m doing until I’ve done it, you know. Because otherwise you look like a dick.”
An aspect, perhaps, that will aid in the completion of his book is his continuing sobriety, a fact I discovered, to my surprise, during our last chat.
“Yeah, that is still the case,” he says, on shelving the booze ‘n’ fags. “I had a holiday from that [sobriety] for a while, but I’m now back living the alcohol free life. And enjoying it.”
As a four-year sober alcoholic myself, knowing all too well of the difficulty of such a feat, I commend Dylan. His response was hilariously forthright.
“Well, thanks very much Allan, but I have to say I wasn’t asking for… (laughs). You asked the question! And then I gave you my answer, and now you’re congratulating me.
“So, I’m not sure what my position on it is. I think we tend to project our own stories onto other people. All I know is that I drank for a long time, and then I wondered ‘Why am I doing this?’ And it was simply because everybody did it where I was growing up.
“And when I did stop, I was ‘Wow… I’ve got a lot more energy.
“So I’m beginning to get that energy back. But alcohol does have its virtues. It’s up to the individual what their story is; everybody has their own.”
From the individual to the universal, talk turns to We Got This, with the pandemic, the subsequent deracinated people and society, and its fallout providing a spark.
“Everybody’s discombobulated, and trying to put themselves back together, and everything’s out of joint and everything changed in that time,” Dylan says. “I’m talking about it all in the show; how we’re living, you know, the way we think and work when it comes to our relationships, and how we think of ourselves, and how we look at other people or the country, what home means, what you need to keep it together, and what structures you need whether it’s family, or football teams, or a group of girls to hang with, or whatever it is, you know?
“And before I get to you guys, I will advance all over Europe. So when you’re talking to Germans and Swedes and Austrians and Estonians, you’ve really got to think: well, what’s true everywhere?”
And with a positive title like We Got This, an uplifting time awaits for one and all.
“The titles I tend to use for shows; you can look at them from a few points of view. So, it’s the same with this one.”
Well… There I go projecting my own narrative onto other things again.
“Well, it may be what you see,” he says of my interpretation. “Or it may be the question of well… what is it that we’ve got?”
Despite this desire to attain a universal appeal with his stand-up, that doesn’t mean his shows are written and done, simply idling until performance.
“It’s never done,” he says. “You’re always throwing logs onto the fire and stirring the soup, you know? Every day is a new place and a new show. Without that, you’re sort of fucked, really.”
Before we lovingly part ways, I indulge in my endless fascination with the start of things. That occurence—a particular song, or a class attended, or an offhand comment—that served as the germination point for what would eventually become, if not a successful career, then at least a consuming passion. Was there any such moment for Dylan? Did he recognise his own comedic talent way back when? Or was it pointed out to him by another?
“Well, Allan, if I’d thought about it as much as you have, I’d’ve never done anything,” he dryly states.
“That’s what stops us doing things. If we start analysing, and wondering what it is… I mean, it’s fine, in the right place. But if you’re going to do something you’re not sure about, that you think you might quite like to do, then asking yourself about it a lot… you’ll end up doing less.”
And so we finish on a philosophical point.
“Self-analysing can stop us doing things. You might enjoy interrogating the situation before it happens; with a need to analyse it and be in control. But that means you can get left out of a lot of life.”