"Everybody Can Go Fuck Themselves": Yes, Dylan Moran Is Working On A New TV Show

19 October 2019 | 9:01 am | Daniel Cribb

It’s been “20 fucking years” since Dylan Moran wrote a television show, and he's now at work on a new one. He tells Daniel Cribb he’s happy marching to the beat of his own drum – and a little Kanye West, too.

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When Dylan Moran isn’t doing comedy, he spends a lot of time talking about it. “I think the simplest way to talk about [comedy] is to talk about it like music,” the Black Books legend says. 

“People say, ‘Well, how do you do this?’ or ‘How do you switch?’ but it’s all music, you’re just playing different notes and different tunes; one thing might be a ballad and one thing might be a rock song or a blues thing. There are genres within [comedy], you might see somebody do a rant, or you might see somebody do a dialogue, or you might see somebody do a reveal or reverse.”

Artists like Weyes Blood, PJ Harvey, John Martin, Canned Heat and Little Dragon are just a few of the artists Moran is listening to at the moment, allowing him a little break from comedy every now and then. “Some of this is really poppy and I don’t give a shit,” he enthuses. “This is stuff I would have poo-pooed years ago, but I’ll give anything a go now… I’m interested in what they’re doing, rather than whether I’m supposed to like it or not.

“I like finding stuff that I’m appalled that I like,” he laughs. “I didn’t think I was going to like anything by Kanye West because he’s such an annoying-faced fucker, but he’s very talented.

“This is my main discovery though,” he adds, lowering his voice. “This guy is a genius and he’s unbelievable – this guy called Darondo. He’s this funk, soul guy.”

While saying he tries to mix it up and “play everything” when it comes to his stand-up, he’s quick to admit that, much like a musician or band, there’s always going to be something definitively Dylan Moran about his work, no matter how far he ventures into new territory.

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“When you go and see a band, you’re going to see that band, so if you’re coming to see this dude, it will be like some things that you’ve seen before in that I’m the same dude and make some of the same sounds,” Moran says. “In fact, and in the broadest possible way, maybe it’s not different at all; maybe none of my shows are different, maybe they’re all the same, maybe it’s just me talking about stuff,” he laughs.

His latest stand-up show, Dr Cosmos, which he’ll tour across Australia from October to December, borrows its name from a new series he’s been writing.

“I wrote a pilot for a show called Dr Cosmos, and that has changed now into a new show where he is a character,” Moran reveals. “It’s funny, because it’s quite dangerous when you’re writing something to talk about it. I’ve written four episodes, there’s going to be five. I don’t want to say too much, but it’s going to be a short format; I think that’s going to be happening a lot with television because there’s just so much being made.

“This thing is 15 minutes, it’s incredibly tight and fast-paced. They’re short theories and short problems and I wanted to make five of them. I wanted to make the whole thing as zippy as possible. There’s no fat on the thing.

“The name [Dr Cosmos] came from the emergence of all these populist politicians, which reminded me of the era of snake oil salesmen,” he explains. “You used to see them in westerns, they’d rock up to town in their wagon, selling some elixir that would restore your pubic hair and give you good eyesight, so that’s where the notion came from.”

“I’m going to be trying to keep body and soul together; I’m going to be doing yoga and making sure that I’m having smoothies and stuff because I want to get to the end of it alive.”

The last time Moran visited Australia was with his Off The Hook show in 2015. His schedule this time around is a little more hectic, or, in his words, “pretty fucking bang bang”.

“I’m going to be trying to keep body and soul together; I’m going to be doing yoga and making sure that I’m having smoothies and stuff because I want to get to the end of it alive.”

Drinking smoothies and doing yoga aren't necessarily the activities you’d expect from Bernard Black, but as Moran points out, his character on Black Books would likely be dead at this stage, given his steady diet of alcohol and cigarettes.

“You can smoke or you can breathe and I couldn’t breathe anymore,” Moran says. “You get older and your options change, and you adapt or die. Everybody has an Uncle Harry who lives on cigarettes and whisky and lives to be 102, but I ain’t him.”

It’s hard to believe, but the iconic British comedy celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. “Why do I get the feeling you’re a young man? You don’t mind saying things like this; you don’t know what that does to me,” Moran jokes. “It’s nuts! You never think you’ll be in that position. I’ll tell you what’s really funny… that means it’s 20 fucking years since I wrote a television show,” he laughs.

No pressure on his yet-to-be-titled new series, then. “No, there isn’t, because I don’t work like that. I’m not good with pressure, so everybody can go fuck themselves if they want to put pressure on me,” he stresses. “I’m just having a good time and if anyone says we need to do this fast, I’ll say, ‘You really can go fuck yourself – I’m not doing anything.’ I’ll go back on the road. I don’t work like that; I just do what I want to do.”