The 32-year-old native of Navan, Co. Meath, is making his first trip ever to New York this week, in order to round out the ongoing ?British-Irish comedy Invasion? at the Village Theater, the venerable Bleecker Street venue that used to be known as the Village Gate.
Moran will be in town for shows tonight through Saturday at 8.
The rising comic?s show is called ?Monster II,? but he doesn?t make a big deal of the titles he gives his performances. Past names have included ?Gurgling for Money,? with which he toured in 1997, and ?Ready, Steady . . . Cough,? which he did in 2000.
?It?s just a matter of putting a sticker on something,? he said. ?It?s something like naming children.?
Moran is probably best known for a BBC television series, ?Black?s Books,? which he created and in which he performed for three seasons. He played Bernard Black, the owner and operator of the scruffy London second-hand bookstore that gave the show its title.
?I?d seen a lot of guys liked Black,? the comic recalled, ?book-dealers in out-of-the-way corners of the city. They were miserably unsociable and usually drunken, and that?s where the character came from.?
?Black?s Books? won Moran a BAFTA Award, plus the Bronze Rose of Montreux as Best Sitcom.
He also appeared in the hit movie comedy ?Notting Hill,? playing a scene with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. ?I played a thief,? he said, ?but if you looked away from the screen or reached for your popcorn, you probably missed me completely.?
Moran has a new movie, ?The Actors,? as yet unreleased on this side of the Atlantic. The star is Michael Caine, and the plot has to do with a company of actors who accidentally become involved with gangsters.
?We?re doing a crap version of ?Richard III? and we dress up as a lot of other people during the course of the thing,? he said. ?I think I play three characters, and so does Caine, and at one point, he plays a woman.?
?The Actors,? which Moran calls ?a crime caper,? was written and directed by playwright Conor McPherson, with a cast including Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson.
Another of the comedian?s forthcoming movies is ?Shaun of the Dead,? a parody of American horror films.
The comic attended St. Patrick?s Classical School for Boys in Navan, entering at age 12 and graduating when he was 18. That was more or less the end of his formal education. ?I hated school and I mainly loafed,? he said. ?When I quit school, I moved to Dublin.?
Moran has been playing Irish clubs since he was 19 or 20, but at some point he relocated to London, which is where he really built his career.
?I cut my teeth in London,? he said, ?playing three or four clubs a night, going from one of them to the next by cab.?
His reputation, to be sure, extends to Ireland. Dublin-based actor and playwright Eugene O?Brien, whose drama ?Eden? recently ended a good run at the Irish Repertory Theatre, is something of a Moran fan. ?He?s huge over here,? O?Brien said. ?He does a sort of stream-of-consciousness act, very intelligent.?
The comic has recently played Glasgow, Brighton, Nottingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Derby and Belfast. He?s also worked in Milan, Paris and Brussels, among other European venues.
Language, Moran feels, isn?t all that much of a problem. ?A lot of people speak English in most of the places I play,? he said.
He does, however, make adjustments to his material, depending on where he happens to be working. ?I read up a bit in order to get a sense of the environment,? he said.
Moran isn?t, however, one of those performers who draw the bulk of their material from the daily newspapers, in the manner made famous by Mort Sahl.
?My stuff is more social than political,? he said. ?It?s a kind of smash-and-grab overview of love, sex, death and television.? Although Moran recognizes the subtle differences between one city and another, and one people and another, his act isn?t really based on those differences.
?The whole world,? he said, ?is absolutely saturated with American culture, and maybe that?s especially true of Europe. It?s mainly a matter of finding the richest seam in the informational ore, so to speak.
?There?s so much to talk about that I could do it until I?m 90 years old.?
Dylan Moran has been described in terms as diverse as ?benign,? ?unkempt,? and ?elegiac.?
New Yorkers have an opportunity to define him for themselves through Saturday.