IT was the poet Andrew Marvell, a former Hull Grammar School pupil, who famously wrote about “time’s winged chariot hurrying near.”
It’s a sentiment that you suspect Dylan Moran empathises with. Although he’s only 43 the comedian has become acutely aware of his own fleeting presence in the jungle of existence.
“One of the big things for me is what happens to time? The second half of your life flies by at a frightening speed, but nobody talks about this,” he says.
“You’re going through life at a steady pace and all of a sudden you’re sliding on a greased floor. Your friends and family are all too busy themselves and it feels like you’re flying through the wind and barrelling towards dark space at the end.”
It’s the kind of observational comedy for which he’s become famous and which audiences can enjoy when he comes to Yorkshire next week.
Moran has made a name for himself with his deceptively rambling style which belies a rapier-like wit and his latest tour, Off The Hook, offers his own idiosyncratic take on life’s inherent absurdities and contradictions. “I’m a father of two now so there’s stuff about entering middle age and about family and children and growing older,” he says.
But allied to this is a growing sense, he feels, of a world that seems like it’s been plunged into perpetual chaos. “The minute you open your eyes it’s like you’re hit with this onslaught of disaster and crisis in the news.”
It’s three years since his last UK tour, although he isn’t nervous about returning to the stand-up stage. “The hard part is sitting down and writing stuff that’s funny. It’s one thing to write something in a notebook that you think is funny, but will a room of people understand what you’re talking about?”
Moran grew up in Ireland and his comedy career started when he clambered up on stage at a club in Dublin. “I was nervous but once I was on stage I knew it was for me,” he says.
His rise up the comedy ladder was swift. In 1993 he won the So You Think You’re Funny award at the Edinburgh Fringe and three years later won the coveted Perrier Award at the festival.
“It wasn’t a slow burn and by 21 I was rocking the London circuit. I got lucky at the [Edinburgh] festival and by the time I was in my early 20s I was touring with my own show.”
He’s been a leading comedy light ever since, not that he dwells on his success. “I’m not one of these people that’s into self-analysis. I’m too busy doing my own material to find out what it is I’m trying to do,” he says.
As well as stand-up, Moran has enjoyed TV and film success perhaps most notably with the sitcom Black Books, which he co-wrote and starred in. “That was popular and a lot of fun. People keep asking me when I’m going to do another series and I’m not. It was a long time ago and you move on. I’m not interested in flogging something just because people like it.”
If Black Books won’t be returning then Moran’s fans can perhaps seek solace in the fact he still enjoys being a stand-up.
“It is what you make it. You’re in control, so there’s no one else to blame if things go wrong and I like that – and people seem to enjoy it, too.”
- Dylan Moran plays Leeds Town Hall on April 21, Harrogate Royal Hall on April 23, York Barbican on April 26, and Sheffield Memorial Hall, on May 3.