Dylan Moran brings his unique brand of optimistic pessimism to Glasgow’s Clyde auditorium for a night of serious laughter, and an impressive array of artwork, with Off The Hook. Everyone’s favourite hater of things returns to rail against politics, technology, golf, religion and the current trend of British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing TV programmes.
The major theme of Off The Hook is ageing. With his biting wit, and morbid sarcasm, Moran discusses the mishaps of being middle aged and being in love, which he makes out to be the most appalling affliction there is, versus the beautiful pretension of the young in romance. Team that with his exaggerated tales of getting a hamster for the kids and you will wonder why anyone does domestic life at all, yet there is a degree of fondness as he makes himself out to be the world’s worst father who cannot seem to get anything right.
Moran brings to light the insecurities a lot of us face as human beings. Especially as he speaks of the voices in his head – which I agree everyone has but no one admits. His depiction of each of us being a sock puppet of anxiety underneath it all feels so accurate and made me think maybe we are all more similar than we believe ourselves to be.
From soy sauce to giving up smoking, Moran creates humour from everyday situations that everyone can relate to on some level all while providing thought-provoking insight; though, his ultimately pessimistic attitude provides such optimism on life and almost seems to be urging people to live it and live it well. His intelligence is paramount and is evident through his comedy, his insights, his broad knowledge of subjects, and also through his artwork which is screened behind him during his performance; quirky artwork that tells a story in its own right and clearly has deeper meaning than is sometimes obvious. His encore involves him reading from his “erotic fiction blockbuster” which is an hilarious parody of 50 Shades of Grey that I would love to see in bookstores someday.
Moran always has a feeling of nervousness about him, even after all of his years in the limelight, which is endearing. He comes across very much as an ordinary guy with no airs or graces despite his huge success over the years. From first seeing him in Black Books, which is an epic cult comedy series featuring Tamsin Grieg, Bill Bailey, and many cameos from some of TV best loved comic actors, I have had a real soft spot for Moran which I don’t think will ever fade. I look forward to seeing him again someday, maybe he will be wearing erotic oven gloves and mismatched socks with a pigeon head in his pocket, who knows.