ESP’s comedy columnist Saaah Slack has the latest on Ed Byrne’s forthcoming performance in Peterborough and has tickets to give away for the show at the New Theatre.
Ahead of his performance of brand new show, If I’m Honest, which is coming to the New Theatre on January 29, we heard from TV favourite Ed Byrne, an award-winning comedian best known for his stellar stand-up performances and his highly evolved story-telling abilities…
ESP: Can you tell us what your new show is all about?
Ed Byrne: “My new show, If I’m Honest, digs ever deeper into a father’s sense of responsibility, what it means to be a man in 2019, and whether I possess any qualities whatsoever worth passing on to my two sons.”
What do you think it means to be a man in 2019?
“There are things where men get a raw deal, we have higher suicide rates, and we tend not to do well in divorces, but representation in action movies is not something we have an issue with. It was Mad Max: Fury Road that kicked it all off, even though nobody complained about Ripley in Alien or Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Of course, social media means this stuff gets broadcast far and wide in an instant, which emboldens people.”
Given your new show If I’m Honest has such a male focus, what are your opinions regarding men’s rights activists?
“The problem with men’s rights activists is that it’s not about speaking up for men’s rights, it’s about hating women. If you’re a men’s rights activist, you’re not going to care about the fact that there’s an all-female Ghostbusters remake. That’s nothing to do with men’s rights or female entitlement. That’s everything to do with being, well, a whiny baby.”
As someone with over 25 years of experience in the comedy industry, how do you approach putting political comedy into your shows? Does it change over time?
“I previously did stuff about Trump and the Pizzagate right wing conspiracy 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’. I like to make a point or get something off my chest, or perhaps I’m talking about something that’s been on my mind, but the majority of stuff is just to get laughs. People who come to see me are not political activists necessarily, they’re regular folk. If you can make a point to them, in between talking about your struggles with aging, or discussing your hernia operation or whatever it is, you can toss in something that does give people pause as regards to how men should share the household chores.”
Given your known appearances on Mock the Week and other satirical panel shows, do you feel you have a responsibility to deliver more political material given the current climate?
“It’s not that I feel a responsibility, I think it just feels more satisfying when you’re doing it, and it feels more satisfying when people hear it. When a joke makes a good point, I think people enjoy it. It’s the difference between having a steak and eating a chocolate bar.”
One constant theme of your shows has always been self-deprecation. Does this come naturally to you or is it something you have to work on in your material?
“I do genuinely annoy myself, but the thing of your children being a reflection of you gives you an opportunity to build something out of the best of yourself only for you to then see flashes of the worst of yourself in them. It’s a wake-up call about your own behaviour.”
Do you sometimes think you’re being too hard on yourself?!
“I don’t think I’m being massively hard on myself. The fact is when you’re the bloke who is standing on the stage with the microphone, commanding an audience’s attention, you’re in a very elevated position anyway. Self-aggrandising humour is a lot harder to pull off than self-deprecating humour. A lot of people get really annoyed when Ricky Gervais is self-congratulatory. I always find it very funny when he accepts awards and does so in the most big-headed way possible. I think it’s a trickier type of humour to pull off, talking yourself up in that way.”
Finally, your last show Spoiler Alert received critical acclaim for its honest approach to becoming middle-aged – do you feel any competition from other comedians performing similar material on the circuit?
“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.”
Ed Byrne will be performing at the New Theatre on Wednesday January 29. To book tickets, call the box office on 01733 852992 or visit www.newtheatre-peterborough.com.
WIN TICKETS TO SEE ED BYRNE
ESP has a pair of tickets to give away to Ed’s gig at the New Theatre in Peterborough on January 29.
To enter please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and contact number, put COMEDY in the header and answer the following question by January 17…
Q – What is the name of Ed’s co-host on his Big Adventure and Road to Mandalay BBC television series?
T&C – Usual competition rules apply, there is no cash alternative. Entries must be received by January 17, 2020 and winners will be notified by ESP.