Dylan Moran: Off The Hook

Dylan Moran read a lot of comics when he was a kid, and admits this is probably why he draws all the time.

“I’m drawing as I’m talking to you,” he says. “I’m drawing somebody who looks a bit like – oh, shit, it looks a bit like Wagner. I don’t know why I’m drawing Wagner.” While Moran says he likes the Prelude of the composer’s Tristan und Isolde, he’s more likely to indulge in jazz and blues records. “I listen to music all the time,” he says. “It’s very important to me; I have ears. I’m open to anything. I’ll listen to anything, pretty much, as long as it’s not country and western.” He says he “has a big box” of jazz and blues music, so we’re not dealing with digital files here. Dylan Moran is not a luddite – and he wouldn’t stop Alexander Graham Bell from warbling the first “Ahoy!” down the telephone – but he certainly laments the thrall technology has over humans, and how willingly we’ve allowed it to take complete and utter control of our lives. “It’s the relentlessness,” he says, with a tired whine in his voice. “I find it kind of exhausting, and I’m glad I’m not going to be around for the next 500 years. I’m really looking forward to some quiet time being dead.” He’ll address technology and human contact when he comes to Adelaide for his Off The Hook tour later this month. While he likes the idiom “off the hook” and how it can mean “crazy or silly or weird or out there”, he also likes the landline reference: how once upon a time you could take your phone off the hook and be uncontactable. Being out of reach has become a bit of a twisted fantasy. “I think what’s unsettling about it [technology] is that it’s meant to be about connection, but it’s like when answering machines came out and you’d pick up and somebody might’ve said, ‘Oh, sorry, I was expecting to get the machine’. People are actually using their phones to get away from each other now, to avoid human contact.” And it’s insidious. “It’s wired everyone in all the time, and as much as everyone seems to be connected, it’s quite easy to wander around feeling kind of off the hook, because everyone’s so out of it – just addled and crazy by all the technology they surround themselves with. “There doesn’t seem to be any significant real reach because they’re all loopy with this constant button-pushing and bipping and zipping. You’re not really anywhere; you’re in this empty zone of digital land.” Aside from technology, Moran will be talking politics when he reaches our shores. This means Tony Abbott is in his sights. “Is he still Minister for Women? Didn’t he appoint himself Minister for Women? That’s hilarious. You picked one there, didn’t you?” Finally, Moran has a message to all his cake-toting super fans, who took literally one of his stand-up lines: “Where is the cake? Cake is the language of love. You know, people say that to you: ‘I love you, I love you’. Yeah? Give me a fucking éclair.” “Please don’t bring – can you put that I’ve said, ‘Please don’t, don’t’ – tell ‘em – ‘Nope, don’t, don’t, please don’t bring cake. Don’t bring me any cakes.” He laughs weakly, overcome with memories of pastries past. “The cake thing is over. Please, no more cake. Don’t bring cake. “No, thank you very much, no offerings, no offerings this time, just bring yourselves.”   Dylan Moran Off The Hook Thebarton Theatre Tuesday, July 14, 8pm