We are big Black Books fans in our house. With a PhD in English Literature, a growing collection of antique books, a penchant for red wine and cohort of zany friends, it really appeals to my sense of humour. Let’s face it, we’d all much rather shut out the world, get stuck into a good book and nurse our hangovers in peace. Even my psychotherapist mum could see the funny side behind the ‘little book of calm’ (Black Book fans – you know what I’m talking about).
I love Dylan Moran, but having never actually seen any of his stand-up I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would he and Bernard Black (his character) prove to be one and the same or would I be presented with a sober man calmly discussing the ways of the world in a dry and detached manner? When Dylan arrived on stage ranting, sloshing wine and insulting everyone from Nigel Farage and Donald Trump to Geordies (‘half the population are allergic to clothing’), I knew I was in safe hands.
What ensued was two hours of preposterous, insulting and frankly absurd ridicule – the audience loved it. Nobody was safe... The Italians, Greeks and Geordies are simply ‘people who regularly wake up on rooftops’, Finland looks like the set of Game of Thrones, and Iceland is the worst because there isn’t even enough people to gossip about. Apparently these are all bad things.
Even his own family came under fire. His 18-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son reportedly belong to a generation which is unsure about what constitutes reality, children generally are ‘people who never buy you lunch’, and love is the thing that ‘makes you grip your own skull and plead for death or look at scatter cushions in Ikea’. It really is a cheery kind of comedy.
But at least he included himself in this tirade of abuse. Dylan was altogether more portly than I remembered him being on TV, and with a taste for spray cheese and red wine (which he was holding throughout the show) it’s easy to see why. Fortunately he didn’t seem too bothered by it. ‘It’s hard to feel alone with two thirds of a turkey in your mouth,’ he boasted, before declaring that he’d rather that than ‘eat the stuff that keeps you alive longer so you can enjoy not dying.’ Disclaimer – we may have taken out an expletive or two.
I’m not completely convinced that Dylan actually thinks this way – I suspect the man doth protest too much – and the fact that no red wine actually passed his lips during the whole show suggests that it was a very accomplished act, but it was entertaining nonetheless. For a brief amount of time Bernard Black was back, insulting people and speaking out for disgruntled misanthropes nationwide. That will do for me.