Swedes' English is bewilderingly excellent: Dylan Moran
James Savage · 29 May 2009, 09:04
Published: 29 May 2009 09:04 GMT+02:00
What do you know about Sweden?
That Swedish people don’t look into each other eyes. Swedish cinema where people hold each other faces and say ‘Inga, Inga, why won’t you speak to me.’ Meatballs. Grey goose. The world wide brand from Sweden that everybody knows – IKEA. Blondeness: blonde fields, blonde hair. Blue eyes. Rocks. Sea, and a very complicated system of social welfare programmes. Sweden seems to sometimes be very progressive. And it’s got a recession like everywhere else.
You’re doing two shows in Sweden and were declared the greatest comedian living or dead by Le Monde in France. Do you make any allowances when you’re performing for people who don’t speak English that well?
You know, in Scandinavia, the English is bewilderingly excellent. I don’t really have to slow down. People are very quick on the uptake. Certainly younger generations are entirely fluent. I don’t have to make exceptions. The language doesn’t seem to be a problem as far as Sweden is concerned.
Last time I saw your stand-up I think you had a pint of lager on stage.
I don’t drink lager. It might have been a glass of wine.
Oh, wine then. What’s the purpose of that?
It functions as a prop. It’s not essential, but sometimes a good thing to have around. I have it when I feel like it, but I feel like it fairly often, when it comes to that time of the evening.
You look quite chaotic on stage. Is that a reflection of your life off stage?
I don’t like to look at myself on stage very often, maybe just if I’m practising, but I don’t think I’d live a very long life if I was always like I am on stage. My stand-up is partly about what I think is funny about me, about what I think is funny about other people, but it’s a bit of a caricature.
If you weren’t a comedian, what would you have been?
I don’t know. When I was a boy I wanted to be a painter. I draw a bit, though I’m not very good, I still keep it up. I was always writing as well, when I was a teenager. So I would have been either of those. I carry on with those, but obviously stand-up is taking up a lot of my time at the moment.
What about acting - are you working on any projects at the moment?
I don’t have anything in front of me right now, but this tour is a very long tour, so it has taken most of my time. After Sweden I’m off to the States for six weeks with some other Irish comedians. I’ve been in Australia for a couple weeks, and before that I was in the UK. I have a lot on at the moment.
When your act won the UK’s top comedy award, the Perrier Award, you reportedly dismissed it as ‘a load of media rubbish’. But surely you were a bit chuffed?
I was very, very surprised. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Prizes and awards are, in the arts, a load of poo. It’s all very nice and don’t get me wrong, the limelight thrown on you is very useful. But I’ll be entirely honest - it’s arbitrary, it’s out of my control. There’s really no point in anyone taking it seriously.
When you come to Sweden, what else do you plan to do and see?
I’ll be there with my family, so we’ll try to see Stockholm and Gothenburg. I don’t know what we’ll want to do. We’ll hit the streets and see what’s there.
Get tickets to see Dylan Moran in Stockholm (June 1st) and Gothenburg (June 2nd)