Friday, July 2, 2010

Dylan Moran - What It Is (2009)

The most compelling thing about "What It Is" is that Dylan Moran seems to be asking more questions this time around. According to the Irish comic, we're all just looking to fill a void in our lives. The question is, with what? Politics, religion, technology, and science have all been tried, and failed. It seems the only option we have left in our never-ending quest to comfort ourselves and validate our existence is to deal with each other. But in pointing this out, he manages to do it in a very funny way. It's interesting to see him almost laughing at some of his own material in a few places, as his usual deadpan delivery nearly cracks several times. He also is far more animated in this DVD than his others, incorporating much more physical comedy, and to great effect.

"What It Is" comes across as more of a cohesive whole than his previous efforts, funny though they are. There is a definite theme running thru the entire monologue. You get the sense that he looked at his previous DVD's, "Monster" and "Like, Totally...", and realized that the second halves of both shows, which mainly focused on the relationship between men and women on this planet, were the strongest parts. He then decided to go with those strong points. It isn't that any of his other observational material is weak, it just comes across as inferior when compared to his true strength. His ability to hilariously describe, using bizarre and appropriately silly analogies, the inability of men and women to get along together makes for his best material.

At one point while describing humanity, he asks, "What's wrong with us? We're the only organism the planet is actively asking to fuck off!" But possibly his best line comes later on, when talking about the desires of humans, and how we always want the things that are bad for us. "That's the ultimate human shopping list. I'd like some illegal, some forbidden, some frowned upon, and some downright disgust, please." Neil Gaiman's evil younger brother (physical and hair-style resemblance only) is spot on throughout the entire performance (filmed in Australia in May 2009), and seems to be enjoying it as well. That would be a good thing, as we can hopefully expect much more from him over the years to come.

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