Interview - what Ed Byrne is bringing to Harrogate
A household name teetering on the brink of national treasure status, award-winning comedian Ed Byrne enjoys worldwide acclaim for his stand-up - and he is coming to Harrogate early in the New Year with his If I'm Honest Tour.
With 25 years now under his belt, Ed has parlayed his on-stage success into a variety of notable television appearances.
A regular on Mock The Week and The Graham Norton Show, Ed has recently co-presented Dara & Ed’s Big Adventure and its follow-up Dara & Ed’s Road To Mandalay, and managed not to disgrace himself on Top Gear or whilst tackling one of The World’s Most Dangerous Roads.
As a semi-professional hill-walker himself and fully paid-up humanist, he also brought a refreshing warmth and honesty to BBC2’s recent hit The Pilgrimage.
As ever, Ed manages to provoke without being overly polemical, a balancing act that only someone of his huge experience can really pull off.
Ed said: "I did stuff about Trump and the Pizzagate right wing conspiracy,’ he says, ‘and a couple of the reviewers said, “Oh, I would have liked to have watched a whole show of this”.
"And I think, ‘well you might have, but the average person who comes to see me would not like to see that."
Ed, who broke through in the mid-1990s when the New Lad became a genuine cultural phenomenon, doesn’t want to submit to any unnecessary revisionism, but admits that if the times have changed, he has changed with them.
He reflects a ruefully on one of his most famous early jokes.
Ed said: "There’s an attitude towards Alanis Morrisette in the opening of that routine that I’m no longer comfortable with, where "I call her a moaning cow and a whiny bint… slagging off the lyrics of the song is fine, but there’s a tone in the preamble that I wouldn’t write today."
His If I’m Honest tour, which comes to Harrogate's Royal Hall on January 24, 2020, brilliantly elucidates the frustration that arrives in middle age – and lives up to its title.
Ed said: "I’m bored looking for things, I’m bored of trying to find stuff, because I can never find it, and it is entirely my fault.
"Nobody’s hiding my stuff from me. Although my wife did actually move my passport on one occasion."
Still, age, it seems, has not withered him. Especially now that he’s figured out how to head off ailments before they become a problem.
Ed said: "You see comics who are my age and older but are still retaining a level of “cool” and drawing a young crowd.
"I can’t deny that I’m quite envious of that. But there’s also something very satisfying about your audience growing old with you."