Ed Byrne at The HexagonBy Caroline Cook
March 16, 2011
Funnyman Ed Byrne plays The Hexagon on Friday and Saturday.
Caroline Cook chats to him about cats, Comic Relief and Lorraine Kelly
The thing that strikes you when you speak to Ed Byrne is how naturally funny he is which, considering he is a comedian, ticks a rather large box. As he picks up the phone, hot-footing it from a rehearsal for Comic Relief show Let’s Dance back to his family in Essex, the first thing I notice is his chirpy Irish voice.
“Hello, how are ya?” he asks, rather cheerfully considering he’s just spent the last seven hours dancing his socks off, a break from the nappy changing and sleepless nights which arrived with the birth of his son in December.
It could be the accent which is making him sound so happy, or it could just be that it’s really rather good to be Ed Byrne right now.
“I’ve not actually been able to do my routine without stopping yet so it’s quite tough. But each second I’m going one, two, three, four is a second I’m not changing nappies.
"I love fatherhood but whoever came up with the phrase sleeping like a baby definitely never had a baby.”
Fatherhood has been keeping the 38-year-old on his toes along with preparation for his Crowd Pleaser tour which comes to the Reading Hexagon on Friday and Saturday.
“There’s always a theme to the tours and I’ve called this one Crowd Pleaser in an attempt to reclaim the phrase,” he says. “A lot of people use it to describe something not very good, you know, like oh he’s such a crowd pleaser, like it’s a bad thing. But actually it’s a pretty good thing. Hopefully people will say I am a member of this crowd and I am quite pleased.”
“I’ve been to Reading many times and every time it’s been fun,” he says, excitement about the upcoming national tour already present. “In the tour I do a bit about meeting your heroes and talk about how I met a guy who was in Star Trek and how he was a bit rude and I ask the audience if anyone has met a famous person and they turned out to be a bit of a d***.
“I’ve done a few warm up gigs and it’s amazing how little a celebrity has to do for people to feel they’ve been out of order. I had one about a TV presenter, the short Scottish one, what’s her name, Lorraine Kelly, and this woman said she had her newspaper out in a supermarket and she just didn’t help as she was serving her. Her complaint was Lorraine didn’t help with her own job. It takes very little for someone to dislike a celebrity. A lot of it though is just you meet such and such and they don’t seem to be very cheerful.”
But it is not long before we progress to another topic on his tour, cats, and I’m in stitches. “The main thing I talk about to do with the cats is my cat and just how we treat animals better than we treat humans,” Ed says mischievously.
“We found our cat by our bin outside and now it lives with us and you wouldn’t exactly do that with a human. You think about someone else living in your house in exchange for them occasionally showing you their a**e, it’s just odd.”
So with the cat, who is called Siadwell after a character in sketch show Naked Video, the new baby, the regular TV slots and the nationwide tour, it seems as if Ed Byrne is on a roll.
With his television stint for Comic Relief I wonder if he will move more to comedy on the small screen but my questions are answered when Ed talks of his reservations about appearing on the box. “I prefer doing live stand-up. Comic Relief is for charity but everything else on TV is really just a means to get more people to go and see the live show,” he explains.
“The only time I’m 100 per cent comfortable is when I’m on stage telling jokes,” he says.