City Varieties welcomes comedian Ed Byrne to the stage in February
Having missed Ed Byrne’s shows a couple of times, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be going along to his City Varieties show later on this month. If you watch classic comedy telly shows such as Mock The Week, you’ll know Ed Byrne’s dry, witty humour and I’m interested to see how this translates to the stage. He’s been on the comedy circuit for over 20 years now, and his latest tour Spoiler Alert indicates he’s not packing it all in for hillwalking any time soon.
I was lucky enough to gain access to an interview between Brian Donaldson and Ed Byrne himself. Here’s a cheeky sneak-peek for you lovely lot…
“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. “I grew up in what I would call an aspirational household in that my parents bettered themselves over the course of my childhood.”
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. 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. We’re spoiled in all these little ways, but not spoiled enough.”
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.
“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. 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 remarks of his chainsaw rather than his neckwear. “I use it for firewood, both for my wood burning stove and also for the barbecue. The first time I used one I was fine, though I think it worried my parents that I had bought a chainsaw.”
What do I expect?
Having read Ed’s interview, I’m looking forward to an interesting evening. I’m not generally keen on political comedy though, when weaved into other social observations, it really works. The show clearly has themes, intrigue and personality – let’s hope it lives up to the hype.
Catch Ed Byrne at Leeds City Varieties
Happening on 21st and 22nd February 2018 – don’t miss out! Buy your tickets here.
Ed will also be performing in Harrogate on 23rd February, Sheffield on 2nd March, Huddersfield on 19th March and in Bridlington on 27th April.
Photograph credited to Roslyn Gaunt.