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Dylan Moran: What It Is (2009)

Video  -  Documentary | Comedy
8.2
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Dylan Moran live at Sydney's State Theatre 15th May 2009.

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Dylan Moran live at Sydney's State Theatre 15th May 2009.

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More accessible but still imaginative with the observations and use of language
31 January 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It has been quite a few years since Black Books and about the same number of years since I first saw a wildly colourful and erratic Moran do his stand-up act for the first time (my first time seeing it I mean, not his first time doing it). The next time I saw him he appeared to have calmed this aspect a little bit but still retained it to the point that it made him funny. Filmed last year on tour in Australia, What It Is seems to have continued this journey as Moran has aged and, to a point, matured.

To some I'm sure this will be a bad thing because the reduction in wildness and erratic madness of his Black Books etc personae is what they love. I love it too but at the same time there is a real pleasure in seeing a comic know his base appeal and be able to keep what makes them them while also letting their act grow and develop with time. That is what Moran does here as he covers many subjects from a point of view of an older man who is married with children. So in terms of subjects he is on ground covered by many observational comedians but it is "how" he covers them that makes him very funny.

He continues to have a great imagination and, while his on-stage wildness has been toned down a little, it remains in his writing and his phrasing. It is hard to describe but it is off the wall in the way he always has been but age appears to have mellowed his delivery and tone – if anything it makes him a lot more accessible because the tone of aggression in his delivery and physical performance is gone. If I did have one criticism (and it is a minor one) it is that the material has a very scripted feel to it and I watched it with the feeling that if the show had been filmed in 4 or 5 different locations then each copy would pretty much identical. Of course I understand it is all scripted and tightly put together but once maybe twice there is a hint of slight auto-pilot. Like I say though – very slight and very minor complaint because otherwise this is a very funny show thanks to the imaginative observations, phrasing and delivery of Moran.


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