- 13 Apr 20
No.4 in a series. Interview by Shamim Malekmian
James Moran is something else! On Twitter, he describes himself as "Ireland's most alternative comedy club." You only have to see Moran to believe him. He is a kind of embodiment of the idea of a comedy club, and a drama club, all rolled into one.
On stage, the Dublin-born comic, playwright and actor, affects that he is totally unaware of the conventional rules that limit stand-up comedy. Maybe he is. If you expect to hear a funny story about a stranger's sex life, Moran is not your man. Instead, he will read from a book, often pausing to state the obvious to his audience. You might ponder, 'is this comedy?' while still laughing uproariously at Moran’s deadpan delivery.
Before Covid-19 interrupted, things were seriously on the up for James Moran. Back in February (it seems like another lifetime now!), he had a play, titled Skinny Omalia, in the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, as part of the Scene + Heard Festival. He was also preparing for a run at the Dublin Fringe Festival and to tour a new play. Now in lockdown, he tells Hot Press that he stays up late, ends up breaking his glasses and contemplates ways to expend unreleased energy. No lewd suggestions, please!
How did life as a comic change after the lockdown?
Everything was cancelled, all the gigs and other stuff to do: I had a tour for a play lined up. Everybody is moving online. There’s going to be more online videos.
How do you find life indoors?
In one way, it's nice. But in another way, there is the pent-up energy that builds up. I think that energy needs to burn off. I have been doing a lot of exercises to try to burn this energy. But you know when you're not doing anything, you go a bit mad.
So how do you spend your days?
I read. I have been reading about climate change. Reading and playing computer games, that's mainly it.
What do you miss most about the outside world?
I miss meeting people randomly.
Was there anything you took for granted that you now realise you shouldn’t have?
I think I took vaccines for granted. It's sort of strange to think that there is a disease that we can't cure.
Will live comedy be different after the pandemic?
I think people will get over it pretty quickly. I don't think the pandemic is going to have any impact at all. People forget about these things as soon as possible. They're going to be back in comedy clubs, as soon as it's physically possible.
What do you think of virtual comedy gigs?
I don't like them. I think it's awful to watch comedians perform without a crowd. It's agonising. I've seen one or two good ones from New York, but the rest of them, I didn't like.
Did quitting comedy cross your mind?
In a way, we've all been forced to quit comedy (laughs)!