Leicester Comedy Legends: Dylan made a mark despite distractions
The first time the Mercury reviewed Dylan Moran's stand-up show, there was an unfortunate distraction in the form of a woman who would not shut up.
As Moran "rambled, meandered and wandered" on stage, she loudly rambled and meandered through her love life, to the irritation of her fellow comedy-goers.
A few years before he shot to fame with dark comedy Black Books, the comedian was performing at the old Phoenix as part of Leicester Comedy Festival 1997.
Moran is now one of 20 funny men and women in the running for our first Legend of Comedy award.
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As part of the accolade, launched to celebrate 20 years of the festival, we are profiling each of the candidates and recalling what our reviewers said about them when they graced the stages of Leicester.
"I feel, gentle reader, that I may have let you down in my apparently simple brief to review Perrier Award-winning comedian Dylan Moran," our reviewer began.
"The problem was I missed the first 10 minutes of the gig because a girl in the row diagonally opposite me was telling everyone in the vicinity about her boyfriend.
"Very interesting for her friends, but not so hot for those people giving her Paddington Bear-style hard stares because they had paid their £7.50 to listen to the comedian and not to her."
It seems things did not get much better when the audience were finally able to listen to Moran.
"But I digress. Which, luckily, is precisely what Dylan Moran did for an entertaining, if bizarre, couple of hours at the Phoenix," our reviewer added.
"If ever a man stumbled on to the high wire of live comedy without the aid of a safety net, it was Dylan Moran.
"He rambled, meandered and wandered. Some of it was brilliantly funny, some of it just passed us all by like sheep in the night."
Our reviewer briefly considered writing down some of Moran's jokes, but thought better of it.
"You, gentle reader, would think I was simply writing drivel, which, in a sense, I would be," he said.
"You simply had to be there. He was funny.
"The man on my left laughed like a horse, we all laughed like lesser barnyard animals and I will never forget the cheese fantasy."
LEGEND OF COMEDY: Have your say on who deserves the first accolade
Moran@ is one of 20 comedians we have picked who have performed at the festival over the years.
We want you to vote for the one you think is most deserving of the Legend of Comedy title.
The comedian with the most online or postal votes by the end of the festival will be crowned the winner.
The award will be presented to the winner – or, if Sir Norman Wisdom takes the award, to his family – at a ceremony in March at the City Rooms, Leicester.
A plaque naming the winner will be displayed in the Y Theatre – one of the comedy festival venues – in East Street, Leicester.
To vote for your favourite comedian, fill in this form and send it to the address on the coupon.
You can also vote online below.
This year, Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival will see more than 520 shows performed at dozens of venues across the county from February 8 to 24.