I DON'T know who the real Dylan Moran is. I've never seen him. A friend of mine spotted him on the street and said hello. Moran (allegedly) grunted.
But then, maybe that's just what my mate wanted to hear. It is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect of 'Bernard Black'; that shabby, disorientated, booze-reliant curmudgeon whom Moran brought to life in the superb Black Books.
The Navan-born funny man has made a living out of portraying a character, be it in front of a camera or on stage. A character that continues to complain about the modern world and its various contradictions. A character who still dresses and talks the same way; a full glass of delicious red wine never too far from reach.
And if this is what the people want -- if this is what works -- then why change a winning formula? The answer is simple: you don't. Moran is still remarkably grumpy, still unequivocally sarcastic, and still moaning about, well, everything. Including gadgets, exercise and vegans. Better still, Moran is at the top of his game; a gifted, and frequently hilarious comic, who continues to shine on this, his latest return to home shores.
Indeed, the satirical ramblings are as sharp, if not more expansive, than ever, as Moran (39) digs deep into the presidential election, growing old, and the differences between cats and dogs (one barks, the other meows). It is, of course, most likely that everything that comes out of his mouth this evening is both scripted and, indeed, rehearsed. But my, isn't he great at hiding it.
He's quick on his feet, too. Try to take a picture and he'll tell you to put the camera away. "You do know you're here," he'll say, before moving on to the next topic. Which might be about a dinner party. Or what happens if you play by the rules in life (God is waiting with a nice biscuit, apparently). Ah yes, Moran's warped view of the world (or, at least, the way he thinks it should be) is most insightful. Surreal, perhaps, but there aren't many Irish comics who can take the obligatory topic that is the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger and sum it up in less than 30 seconds (it had something to do with helicopters, swans and a field). In short, this is stand-up comedy the way it should be. Like I said, I've never seen the 'real' Dylan Moran. But this one will do just fine, thank you very much.