Comic Ed Byrne starts to act his age

Brilliant Irish comedy star Ed Byrne is out on the road again this autumn making the first of four stops at local theatres this Saturday.
Ed ByrneEd Byrne
Ed Byrne

Byrne, a self-confessed “miserable old git” since the age of 23, is now in his 40s. While for others this might result in a crisis that prompts the purchase of a sports car, Ed embraces middle age with open arms.

Join him at The Wycombe Swan this Saturday (with November gigs at Milton Keynes Theatre, Royal & Derngate, and Aylesbury Waterside) for a night of male menopausal laughs.

The new show is called the Roaring Forties. However happily Ed slides into middle age, he isn’t ready for the slippers and woolly jumper quite yet.

Still as angry as he ever was, you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of one of his withering rants. Family life (now a father of two), and everyday frustrations (seriously something, EVERY day) all come in for a pasting with hilarious results as Ed casts his curmudgeonly comic eye over his life.

Byrne began his career 20 years ago after he had studied horticulture at the University of Strathclyde.

The Irish observational comic, who grew up in Swords in Dublin, started re-evaluating his life after his 40th landmark birthday and it gave him the idea for Roaring Forties, which is his trademark mix of one-liners and extended anecdotes, and covers a range of subjects from fatherhood and friendships to vasectomies and driving awareness courses .

“It’s about getting older,” Byrne says, “About being at an age where you’re not really that old but no one thinks you’re trendy anymore.”

Byrne has embraced middle age and reached the conclusion that on the whole people annoy him.

“It’s like a spring-clean of my life,” says Byrne, “And I’ve come up with reasons why you can’t be my friend. There are seven billion people on the planet and I only have the time to be friends with 10 of them and so I have to choose carefully.”

What are his rules? “It’s the little things that annoy me,” he says. Such as? “People who don’t indicate on roundabouts, people who uses the phrase, ‘Touched a nerve there’, or ‘I’m just making conversation’...” The list runs on.

How flexible is he? Could we negotiate if I forget to indicate just the once, for instance? “I don’t have

time for you! If we have to get into a debate about it, then no,” he says, laughing.

Being the married father of two young sons (with his publicist wife, Claire) has given him lots of new things to talk about on stage, but do Claire and his family, who often appear in his material, ever object? “It’s something that most comics experience,” Byrne replies. “People know what you do for a living and then they complain when you mention them in the act, and I’ve certainly had at least one girlfriend in the past who objected.

“But my wife and my family are really funny and Claire understands what goes with the job. Actually she comes off very well and people say our relationship – very sparky, very joshing - comes across. I can’t think of a time when she’s said you can’t use this, but if she did, I’d not use it.

“As for the kids, any stuff I do about them I seriously doubt in years to come they’ll hate me for and make me pay for their therapy,” he says with a laugh. “Although I am aware that there’s an age at which you have to be sensitive to their wishes and not embarrass them, but that’s some years off.”

For tickets call: Wycombe Swan 01494 512000 (; Milton Keynes Theatre 0844 871 7652 (; Royal & Derngate 01624 624811 (; and Waterside Theatre 0844 871 7627(