Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Ed Byrne: Page 2 of 2

6. What do your children think of your job?

Best summed up by an exchange between myself and my younger son, Magnus, when he was 4, which I relate in my show.

4 YO: I wish I was a grown up.

ME: Well, when you’re a grown up, you’ll have to go to work.


4YO: I wish I was a comedian.

7. What’s the worst thing about being a comedian?

Hearing the phrase, “Well, you haven’t made ME laugh.” A surprising number of door staff think that’s a funny thing to say when you introduce yourself on arrival at a gig.

8. I think you are very good at what you do (that’s why I’m asking these questions). What do you think of you?

I think most comedians think they’re slightly funnier than everybody else thinks they are. This is because nobody’s material will suit your sense of humour as perfectly as your own.

9. How much do you earn and how much would you like to earn?

In answer to the first part: Plenty. There’s something very satisfying about sitting in my back garden and looking at my quite nice house and thinking, “Jokes paid for this.”

In answer to the second part: I don’t know anyone who thinks, “I’m glad I don’t earn more money than I already do."

10. How important is luck in terms of career success – have you had lucky breaks?

I think luck evens itself out the longer you’ve been around. 

I think the greatest bit of luck I’ve experienced is simply starting out at the time I did. The 90’s was a very good time to be a circuit comic. I then graduated to being a touring comic in the noughties, just when the touring scene was really taking off. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, getting to make a living out of the thing you love the most is pretty much as lucky as a person can get.

11. Alan Davies has said that comedians fall into two categories - golfers and self-harmers. The former just get on with life, the latter are tortured artists. Which are you – or do you think you fit into a third category?

Rather than falling into two categories, I think it’s more of a sliding scale with tortured artists at one end and golfers at the other. Boringly I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t think I’m tortured but I have a tendency to dwell on things and allow regrets and past transgressions to eat me up and distract me. However, this tendency to “never let stuff go” is also where a lot of my material comes from. I hold a memory or a thought for so long that eventually it becomes something I can use on stage.

The great thing about being an “artist” of any kind is that you end up making peace with all of your own faults because they all contribute to your work. It may be annoying that I sometimes don’t focus on the things I ought. I end up losing things or forgetting stuff because my head is off thinking about something else, but that’s also the part of me that generates the gags.

12. Who is your favourite person ever and why – not including family or friends or other comedians?

If I can’t include family, friends or other comedians then you’re really not getting my favourite person. However, I do feel that if I mention how much I love Eddie Vedder (lead singer of Pearl Jam) in enough interviews then maybe I’ll eventually get to meet him.

13. Do you keep your drawers tidy and if not why not? (please think long and hard about this question, it's to settle an argument with my girlfriend. The future of our relationship could depend on your response).

No. I absolutely do not keep my drawers tidy

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.


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