Comedian Ed Byrne Brings His Biggest Ever Tour to Date to Carlisle
Comedian Ed Byrne brings his biggest ever tour to date to Carlisle this March. He broached parenting, politics and of course, Brexit.
Ed Byrne has been an acclaimed stand-up (with audiences and critics alike) for 20 years now. His success with shows such as the Roaring Forties, Different Class and the 1998 Perrier-nominated A Night At The Opera led to him appearing on the box in the diverse likes of Mock The Week, Father Ted and The One Show, while his love of hillwalking resulted in him writing a regular column for The Great Outdoors magazine. He is also co-host of the highly acclaimed Dara & Ed’s Big Adventure and follow up Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay.
As he prepares to launch himself upon the nation with another touring show, the Irish comic is firmly of a belief that the current breed of parents spoil their kids rotten whether it’s to do with the ever-increasing size of garden trampolines, or his own kids’ demand for elderflower cordial. Ed explained: “My dad wasn’t a bad dad, he was just a 1970s dad. I could never see my children ever again from this moment on, and I’ve already done more parenting then he did in my entire life. But, of course, I made a conscious decision that I was going to be an awesome dad.”
In his new touring show, the perfectly-titled Spoiler Alert, Ed compares and contrasts the old-school child-rearing days with 21st century methods and suggests that there are different ways to learn how to be a mum or dad. He said: “I’d still say that you are expected to do a lot more parenting than our parents did and that’s a weird thing because you tend to think that your parents are where you learned parenting from. But you don’t, really, it’s more that you look around you to see what’s going on with other parents.”
For the show Ed extends his analysis on the culture of entitlement to look at areas where we could perhaps do with being spoiled a little bit more. “Where I think we’re not acting spoiled enough is in the political arena” he explained. “We have a tendency to accept what’s happening and that’s where we should be acting more entitled. We are literally entitled to the government we want.”
His way of tackling Brexit is to draw an analogy with the time his son was determined to touch an electric fence with his dad trying to warn him of the dangers.
Elaborating, he said: “I was telling the story of the electric fence for a while, and then suddenly it struck me that it was Brexit in microcosm. I don’t want to alienate half of the population or maybe a third of my audience, but it works as an analogy whichever side you’re on. The government told you not to do this and that it would be a terrible idea, but you said ‘no, we want to do it anyway’. So now we’re doing it and it’s proving a terrible idea.”
He added: “I do think it’s a fair analogy, but no doubt for some it will come across as me being a typical liberal elite Remoaner.”
Spoiler Alert also continues a theme that he’s tackled in previous shows, that of his gradual shift from being a working-class Dubliner to a fully paid-up rural-residing member of the middle classes. Where once he would do routines slating 4×4 owners, he is now the proud(ish) owner of such a vehicle. And in the poster for his tour, he brandishes other signifiers of social mobility: a bowtie and chainsaw. “It’s one of two I own: that one is the smaller of the two,” Ed remarked of his chainsaw rather than his neckwear.
Having premiered Spoiler Alert at the Edinburgh Fringe last year Ed has been on the road since September, with an extensive series of dates, he added: “I keep a tour diary now of places where the curries are disappointing and where they are good and where audiences have been good before.”
Ed comes to the Sands Centre in Carlisle on 22 March. Go and spoil yourself.
For tickets visit www.thesandscentre.co.uk
Interview by Brian Donaldson
Photography by Roslyn Gaunt