A Friendly Chat with James Moran

Heya James. If this wasn’t an interview and we were just meeting up for the chats what news would you relay?

Hi Ruth. How’s it going? I’m fine. My life is very quiet at the moment, not too much going on. I need to find something new to do, a direction in life. Last year I was working as an assistant director on some experimental theatre (George Bush and Children, One Day) and this year I was I was working on my Fringe show, now that’s all over. I’m going to London in November to see the War Museum and maybe some music. I’m going to be writing some reviews of Dublin Theatre Festival show for DRAFF and I want to do some more gigs. I’m cat at getting gigs, but maybe if I put my back into it I can. Wouldn’t mind working for the civil service either. I’ve always had a dream of failing at comedy and becoming a member of the civil service. Not all dreams are fantasies but I think I could be happy enough there.

Oh that’s interesting/great news/that sucks I sympathise.

You always know just what to say.

You recently completed a run at the Dublin Fringe with your show the assassination of Pope Urban II. Tell us about that experience from whatever perspective is most enjoyable.

The Fringe was nice. They’re very supportive over there and give you some space to breathe. I think what I liked about it was that it reminded me that sometimes you need to be professional when it comes to comedy. I was pretty thick going about organising the show, it all got done in the end it just would’ve been a lot easier if I didn’t have to make everyone chase up on me.

The show itself was very rewarding, normally my work is pretty impersonal but this show was about my relationship with pain and sickness. I normally work by developing material on stage over weeks and months, the way I think a lot of comedians work. Whereas with this show I just sat in my room for three months and emerged with a fifteen page script that was supposed to last an hour. On stage I have a habit of jettisoning things I think are good or worthwhile if I feel like the audience are getting bored, but with this script I would stick to it because I felt like by the end of the show the audience would appreciate it, even if they felt like killing themselves at the mid-point. I like to think that the show was, you know, primarily entertaining but also had other bits going on.

Who are your comedy faves?

I hate watching stand-up comedy because I get too jealous. I watch a lot of sitcoms but I don’t know how much I enjoy them, I definitely don’t remember them. My favourite sitcom is whatever sitcoms I’m watching at that moment. I listen to a lot of grime music and those MCs can be pretty funny. Kurupt FM do garage sets and they’re funny.

What’s the best venue in Ireland to play?

Couldn’t tell you. I don’t remember good gigs, I just hyper-focus on the awkward ones. One time i was invited out to Dunshaughlin library to perform, I was told, to a bunch of teens doing an open reading. But when I got there no teenagers had turned up, it was mostly older locals who had written some poems. I was pretty nervous because people always say that my humour is “millennial humour” and these people definitely weren’t millennials. I think about half the audience had a good time, which was more than I expected, and I did enjoy some of the writing the audience had brought along too. I think I enjoyed Dunshauglin library because it made me realise that I don’t just have to perform to Rick and Morty fans in Dublin, that I could perhaps appeal to small portions of small crowds all over Ireland.

What’s your favourite food?

I am a man of fragile composition. There are so many things that I can’t eat, and the list gets longer every few months. There’s a Chinese on Summerhill that I like, Eighty-Seven Asian Cuisine. I like the delivery driver and when I go to collect it myself there are always people hanging out around outside it which is nice, makes me feel like I’m going into a club or something. The food’s good too, some sort of spicy honey chicken thing.

Do you think there is one unifying characteristic that draws individuals to stand-up?

I have no earthly idea why people are drawn to stand-up. I like stand-up because it’s an easily controllable social situation. I know what my role is (comedian) and what the audiences role is, I know how to do my job and, to a certain extent, I know how to control a crowd. I don’t know why other people get into it though. Some people seem to have their idols be comedians, which I never did, and some people seem to think that comedy is a good way to discuss ideas, which I don’t believe. Maybe stand-up is always just instrumental to get whatever you don’t get in the rest of your life.

What/who do you think is the biggest influence on your comedy?

No idea. People used to always say to me “James that was good, you sound just like Stewart Lee” and that really annoyed me. I like Stewart Lee but I don’t want to sound just like him. Q. James, who is your biggest comedy influence. A. Stewart Lee, because I spend so much time trying not to sound like him.

Do you think there are better interview questions I could have asked and if yes please feel free to write and answer them.

No these are fine.

I think you’re one of the funniest performers in Ireland right now, what do you think?

Yeah i guess i think so too.

James Moran is headlining Workman’s Comedy Club on Sunday the 15th October at 8pm. Other acts on that night are Davey Reilly and Lauren Kerr.

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