Dylan Moran, the Irish standup and star of Black Books, has apparently become the first professional English-speaking comedian ever to perform in Russia.
Moran performed twice at Chaplin Hall in St Petersburg last week, which he later described as "a big thing because apparently nobody's done it before", to local English-language newspaper the St Petersburg Times.
While Moran performed in English, a Russian translation was provided via headphones to non-English speakers in the audience. Even so, according to the St Petersburg Times, certain sections were lost in translation. Despite his attempts to cover issues of local importance, including the city's controversial new law outlawing "homosexual propaganda" and the imprisoned oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, he ended his set with an admission that he and his audience had "disconnected".
Nonetheless, he remained relatively upbeat, and said afterwards: "We just wanted to see whether it would work. It might not be the best gig, but that's not the point. The point is just: Can we make this work somehow? We're at that stage, you know – very early days in the lab."
Moran is known for his long and rambling observational comedy, a form largely unfamiliar to Russian audiences, where standup is an emerging art form and mostly consists of open mic.
Nick Handford, who co-produced the St Petersburg gigs for Just for Laughs Live, said that the intention was to spark the possibility of future cultural dialogue: "Russian standup is such a learning experience that it is immediately interesting for anybody coming here, and not only that, hopefully this will open the door to bringing Russian comedians over to the UK, to broaden our horizons even further."
News source: Guardian News and Media Limited
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