Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Ed Byrne

Impeccable Irishman Ed Byrne hardly needs an introduction. In fact by the sound of it he hardly needs any publicity given the way tickets for his new tour have been flying out of the nation's box offices. Having announned his 2017 Spoiler Alert tour earlier this year, he has already added a big batch of dates in 2018 die to exceptional demand. Anyway, this is what the man himself has to say about his latest show: "I originally intended to call the show I’ll Millennial You in a Minute, but my promoter considered the title 'off-puttingly baffling'. That’s my own chainsaw in the photo, by the way." Before he heads off on tour the star of a million Mock the Weeks and co-star of Dara and Ed’s Road To Mandalay returns to the Edinburgh Festival. If Byrne doesn't put a smile on your face then maybe comedy just isn't your thing.

Ed Byrne: Spoiler Alert is at Assembly George Square Theatre Aug 2 - 27. Tickets here. He then tours the UK from September 27. Tour details/tickets here.


1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies and/or check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt and check for spinach between your teeth)?

Normally, just before I go onstage, I notice that the high stool or table that I requested to rest my beer on isn’t there. This usually results in a lot of last minute running around looking for a suitable surface that I can carry on to the stage with me.

2 What irritates you?

When I make a very simple request of a venue, like, “Can I have a small table or bar stool on the stage so I can rest my beer on it, please?” and then they forget. Or, going onstage and starting to speak and finding the microphone isn’t turned on. I genuinely find that more annoying than if, say, the roof collapsed. It’s impossible to complain about minor problems without looking like a total diva.

3. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

I once fell through the ice on a frozen canal in Amsterdam. Apparently it was one of the few canals you’re not supposed to walk on in winter. I managed to climb out, but somebody told me that if they’d been pumping fresh water into the canal when it happened I’d have been sucked under and would have drowned.

4. What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?

Probably electing to walk on the one canal that you’re not supposed to walk on in winter in Amsterdam.

There’s also a story in my latest show about the time I ran out of petrol (stupid) and then in order to get my car off the road I ended up trapping a woman in her house (stupider). It’s one of those stories that was really embarrassing and annoying when it happened but now feels very fun to relate to audiences.

5. What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy?

I think the thing that most surprises me is the sheer volume of material you are a) expected to generate and b) able to generate. Over 20something years I’ve written something like 15 different one man shows of varying degrees of quality. I think I had an idea, before I started, that nobody could write more than 5 hours of decent comedy in their life, but you can, and you do, because you have to.

Interview continues here.

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