6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Hampshire Life today click here

Ed Byrne on whining, Winchester audiences and his favourite comedians

PUBLISHED: 15:52 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 20 February 2018

Ed Byrne (Photo by Roslyn Gaunt)

Ed Byrne (Photo by Roslyn Gaunt)

Archant

Stand-up comic and TV star Ed Byrne thinks our lives have become somewhat spoilt. Honestly, who needs keyless cars and semi-skimmed milk? Viv Micklefield hears more ahead of a return visit to Hampshire

“I do whine in a lot of my shows,” admits Ed Byrne. “Complaining really about the little things, like lost luggage or visits to the dentist. But then I started to think, maybe life is actually good and maybe, it’s better than it’s ever been.”

For the one-time working-class Dubliner, who by his own admission is now “a fully paid up rural residing member of the middle classes”, it’s certainly provided pause for thought and, naturally, no shortage of material for the forty-five-year-old’s current stand-up show.

“For instance,” Ed says, “The fact that most of us start our car by pressing a button rather than turning a key. Who decided that was a deal breaker and a drudgery we needed to be released from? Then there’s semi-skimmed milk. Just the concept of it - saying ‘milk’s too creamy’ so let’s take the cream out! No, ‘now it’s not creamy enough’. It’s an interesting angle to look at how cushioned our lives have become.

“The other thing I’ve noticed, is how much I spoil my own kids compared with how things were in my childhood. I don’t hold any grudges against my own dad, and I love hanging out with my kids, but when I look at the amount of parenting I’m expected to do, versus the amount of parenting I received, I feel a bit short changed.”

There’s little denying though that fatherhood’s something he relishes, making sure now to keep Sundays gig-free to ensure time can be spent with his two sons, now that they’ve started school. And, weaving stories about them into the routine proves irresistible, particularly when there’s an opportunity to take a gentle dig at social mobility.

“There’s a little joke in the current show for instance about how I’m raising two posh English boys and how that makes me feel when they sound like Little Lord Fauntleroy. So, I’ll say to the audience: ‘No offence to anyone who’s posh, or English, or a mixture of the two…,’ and then I might add: ‘Winchester’, which gets a nice little giggle.”

Hampshire audiences have enjoyed Ed’s observational brand of humour and side swipes for many of his 20 years in the business – “I sell more tickets in Winchester than I do in Birmingham which is just ridiculous”; and with back-to-back sell-out shows at the Theatre Royal already under his belt on the 2017/18 tour, there are two more dates coming up this month.

Reflecting that “as jobs go, it’s quite a nice one” this must surely count as a particularly demanding year, as by June he’ll have clocked-up almost 10 months on the road, including a try-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

So, would he I wonder encourage his own children to follow in his footsteps?

“Sure. The weird thing about going to the Edinburgh Festival and going out with comedian friends who were a bit ahead of me – people like Mark Steele and Kevin Day, is that their kids are now stand-up comics. That’s funny because these guys who’ve been in the business for 30 years are being drawn back into the world of open mic spots and that’s the one thing I wouldn’t envy.

“Getting started as a stand-up now is much harder than it was for me; I don’t think there was a better time in the history of comedy because in the early to mid-90s there were so many comedy clubs. It was a really vibrant scene. And there was a career path set out by the previous generation with the likes of Alexei Sayle and Ben Elton, who’d blazed the trail for us. Now, the club circuit has shrunk, while the touring is bigger because as soon as you’re on TV you’re off touring.”

When not under the spotlights himself, or in front of the cameras for the hit panel shows ‘Mock the Week’, and ‘Have I Got News for You’, Ed admits to being a big fan of fellow comic Lee Mack. And the humour of Bill Bailey and Harry Hill also tickles his funny bones, “because they are completely different to me, so when I watch them I can totally switch-off”.

These days, though there’s another passion in his life, which sees him swapping the trademark sharp suit and tie for a waterproof jacket and hill walking boots.

“I haven’t done the South Downs Way yet, but I’ve a friend who I’ll meet-up with while I’m down there on the tour. Generally, when I’m in Hampshire, I commute to and from the gigs as it’s only a couple of hours to get home again.

“I tend to explore more when I’m staying over in a hotel and living as well as working there; bagging a Munro or two up in Scotland, is always a blast.”

Having recently tried his hand at sledding down the side of a volcano, and tackled bouldering (rock climbing without ropes or harnesses to you or me), are there perhaps more outdoor challenges ahead for this action-man?

“I really fancy paragliding. So far, I’ve had just one lesson and am trying to fit in some more into my life but it’s very hard to do it at home in Essex because it’s so flat! Perhaps I need to pitch the idea for a TV show, where, the goal is to learn to paraglide off Mont Blanc in under a year.”

However, in describing as “absolutely zero” the chances of involving his ‘Big Adventure’ travelling companion and best friend Dara O’Briain in this, it will he says be an experience he’ll most likely face alone.

Ed as we know is no stranger to taking himself out of his comfort zone. Millions watched his ‘I like to Boogie’ dance routine on Red Nose Day a few years ago. And having also joined the ‘Bake Off’ tent in aid of Comic Relief, he’s since taken up cooking.

“I went through a phase of making biscuits. Less so recently but I am now into curries,” continuing: “At one time I only ever bought takeaways, thinking it was some weird alchemy that I could never fathom. Then I thought ‘I’m sure I can follow a recipe’. And you know what? I can. Now I make a pretty good curry.”

It all adds up to a far more domesticated image of a husband and dad than was typical during Ed’s own upbringing. And despite the whining, here’s someone who, on the face of it, appears largely at ease with 21st century living. Although, when there’s a chance to really chill-out and become a couch potato, he’ll happily go the whole hog.

“I’m speaking to you now wearing a pair of check pyjama bottoms and a hoodie. My wife is probably looking at me thinking: what did I do to saddle myself with this?”

Well, maybe even a modern man needs some downtime now and again.

Ed Byrne’s latest stand-up show is touring to venues around the UK until June 2018

• Saturday 10 March, The Anvil, Basingstoke

More…

What celebrities love about Hampshire - Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Inspired by the local wildlife on her doorstep, Four Marks artist Rachel Hudson captures the character with her bold and intriguing illustrations

Read more
Monday, June 4, 2018

When two brothers from Lymington picked up their oars and headed out for an unsupported row across the Atlantic, neither knew what they were letting themselves in for. Rebecca Fletcher meets them back on dry land

Read more
Friday, May 25, 2018

A Yorkshireman born he may be, but Alan Titchmarsh has a love for Hampshire that has truly blossomed, as Bernard Bale discovers

Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

From a Napoleonic barn, Southsea’s striped style statements are being churned out at record speed. Faith Eckersall meets enthusiast and entrepreneur Stephen Davis aka ‘Mr Deckchair’

Read more
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Read more
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Following a horrific acid attack that left her blind in one eye and needing over 250 operations, Andover’s Katie Piper has become an inspirational figure. Here she tells Rebecca Fletcher her plans to bear all in her latest tour

Read more

Whether you’re into contemporary or classic, the pretty Test Valley town of Stockbridge is a mecca for arts and crafts. Viv Micklefield meets some of those bringing out the best on the High Street

Read more
Monday, April 9, 2018

Malcolm Bradbrook finds out why Hampshire wild swimming enthusiasts are taking the plunge

Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

With one an accomplished atelier and the other a budding hotelier, Winchester based mother and daughter duo Hannah and Jane McIntyre, put their success down to their close bond. Rebecca Fletcher meets them for tea and family tales

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

With her reactive, molecular artwork, Southampton artist Nancy Wood manages to capture a moment in time

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Stand-up comic and TV star Ed Byrne thinks our lives have become somewhat spoilt. Honestly, who needs keyless cars and semi-skimmed milk? Viv Micklefield hears more ahead of a return visit to Hampshire

Read more
Friday, February 16, 2018

Let’s drink to Alresford, home to brewers, gin distilleries, and winemakers…

Read more
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Can you identify your clam from your cockle? Natalie French speaks with author of the River Cottage Edible Seashore Handbook, John Wright, to learn more about the art of seashore foraging and what delights we can find on our shoreline

Read more
 
A+ South & South West
 
Great British Holidays advert link
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Hampshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search