Dylan Moran’s latest stand-up show, Off the Hook came to Adelaide on 14th and 15th July. This is his first tour in four years; one of his longest breaks. The star and creator of Black Books has cultivated an enduring audience over the years and is in the privileged position of being confident in the sizeable niche following he has carved out.

Off the Hook, his fifth tour, showcases Moran’s unique brand of bitter absurdity. It could certainly be said that one knows what will be on offer in a Dylan Moran show in broad terms, but his audience is never in danger of tiring as what he presents cannot be replicated, stamped as thoroughly with his unique character as it is. His shows are characterised by long and meandering tangents that veer far from their source but always return, having built a full landscape of surreal imagery along the way. This show is no different.

After the longer break, Moran has had time to recharge, delivering a show up to the quality of his first two (Monster and Like, Totally). His third and fourth tours, while still beyond the realms of what most comedians could hope to attain, were arguably not up to the lofty heights set by his initial two.

Off the Hook provides the audience with Moran’s celebrated comedy as thoroughly and as satisfyingly as ever before. Though it is too late to go and see him in Adelaide now, I urge you to pick up the DVD unless you can get yourself a helicopter to get to his next performance, a la Bronwyn Bishop.

Moran offered his (somewhat skewed) views on many things; from Germany’s unique sense of humour coming in the form of untrustworthy soup to the progressive vision of Tony Abbott (‘he looks so far into the future he ends up in the Stone Age’).

It seems that Moran is not entirely satisfied with his career as a stand-up comedian, particularly in recounting pet-based anecdotes to an auditorium on the other side of the planet, and so he has elected to branch out. His Black Books co-star, Bill Bailey has cornered the musical market, so Moran has taken to erotic fiction. His cash-in on the success of 50 Shades of Grey might be for a very niche audience but he has still bravely given it the working title of Erotic Fiction Blockbuster.

Dylan Moran is a comedian performing at the height of his lofty powers with his latest tour (not that he had ever sunk particularly low). Very few of his audience had time to recover their composure from the last round of laughter before the next one began. Those who have seen him live know that they are truly fortunate for it’s seldom that such a skilled comedian comes to visit Adelaide. Long may this exhibition of comic skill continue.

Rating: 4.5/5

Words by Liam McNally