Ed Byrne is back on the road with his new show ‘Crowd Pleaser’, and he plays Derry’s Millennium Forum on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Here he talks to Laurence McClenaghan about being popular, Osama Bin Laden, The Rolling Stones, getting old and the Christian Brothers.
Such is the popularity of what is arguably one of Ireland’s longest established stand-up comedians The Millennium Forum announced a second date this week.
“Well maybe I’m just too honest but I think I was always booked for two nights,” he laughs.
“I’m looking forward to Derry, I haven’t been there on the last few tours and I remember playing the Delocroix comedy nights many years ago, they were always a very vocal crowd.”
Ed Byrne draws on news and current affairs for a lot of his material, so has he heard any good Bin Laden jokes? “Not really, just the one about Bins being taken out on a bank holiday. People are happy to joke about this but not to celebrate it as such. The other side of the Atlantic seems positively delighted, we’re a little more conflicted about celebrating the death but then we are a country without the death penalty.
“My main concern was why couldn’t he be killed two days previous then we wouldn’t have had to suffer that wedding. I was actually on a plane, thinking I’d escaped it but no, the airhostess even congratulated the couple on landing. Even in midair I wasn’t safe from it.”
Asked what is the strangest thing he ever read about himself, Ed replies; “That Andrew Maxwell and I are to write and appear as two gay partners in a sitcom.
“I also love the debate that rages when I refer to England as home and ‘us’ the English tax payer. I’ve lived here for twnety years paying my rates and tax so I feel I’ve earned the right to say where ‘our’ money is spent when it comes to wars for example. I would never say ‘we’ when it comes to England in the World Cup now, let’s get that straight.
“There is some amazing mis-information on the internet in particular though. I read that I went to an exclusive Protestant school in Kildare. I’ve heard the Christian Brothers called many things in my time but never exclusive or Protestant!”
Ed Byrne has hosted big tv shows such as ‘Live At The Apollo’ and has been a regular on ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Have I Got News for You’. There have also been appearances on other new comedy shows, including Miranda Harts ‘Christmas Unwrapped.’
“That’s all advertising to sell tickets for the live shows,” he laughs.
“TV is just something you do to shift tickets. Live tours are the bulk of your income and I certainly have more fun doing the live work. There are no editors messing with your jokes, no scripts, and you can change tack if something isn’t to your liking.”
‘Crowd Pleaser’ is Byrne’s 17th ‘national’ tour in 18 years. He admits to “having been around forever.” That said, Ed is considering making this his last “or second to last” live tour.
“I’m getting too old for this,” said the County Kildare-born comedian. “I’m sure if I was making the same money as the Rolling Stones I would continue touring also. Unlike them, however, I have to do all new stuff on each tour. People don’t cheer when I come out with old punch lines. When you go to listen to The Stones you want to hear old sh*t, Mick and Keith wouldn’t be long quitting if they had to do new stuff every tour.”
Ed Byrne plays The Millennium Forum on Friday and Saturday evening, a few tickets remain, box office 028 7126 4455.