Ed Byrne comes to Norwich to spoil us with laughter filled show
- Credit: Roslyn Gaunt
Is life that bad or have we good reason to complain about it? Comedian turned chainsaw-wielding outdoors man Ed Byrne thinks we've all become spoiled rotten. But his new show finds the funny side.
Mock the Week star Ed Byrne has long been a comedy circuit favourite — despite his youthful looks the Irishman recently marked up 20 years as a comic. However recently he added another string to his bow as a go-to outdoors man.
His long-standing passion for hill walking resulted in him writing a regular column for The Great Outdoors magazine while his love of natural history has seen him make appearances on The One Show abseiling in Snowdonia, Countryfile, where he climbed Sgùrr Dearg, the 'inaccessible pinnacle' on Skye, and presenting items on Volcano Live.
He is also co-host of the highly acclaimed Dara & Ed's Big Adventure and follow up Dara & Ed's Road To Mandalay.
This can-do attitude, which he credit to his childhood and unconventional parents, has fed its way into his latest show, Spoiler Alert, which he brings to Norwich Playhouse next week before dates in Bury St Edmunds and King's Lynn Corn Exchange.
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The Irish comic is firmly of a belief that the current breed of parents spoil their kids rotten whether it's to do with the ever-increasing size of garden trampolines, or his own kids' demand for elderflower cordial.
'My dad wasn't a bad dad, he was just a 1970s dad. I could never see my children ever again from this moment on, and I've already done more parenting then he did in my entire life,' he says.
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'But, of course, I made a conscious decision that I was going to be an awesome dad. My wife will come back with tales from her friends of how awful their husbands are and she'll see me smiling and say 'alright, stop congratulating yourself just because such and such can't be left alone with their children for two minutes'.'
In the show 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,' he says. 'My mother was a radiographer and ended up a lecturer in radiography, while my dad was a sheet metal worker and went up to a supervisory role. I'd still say that you are expected to do a lot more parenting than our parents did and that's a weird thing because you tend to think that your parents are where you learned parenting from. But you don't, really, it's more that you look around you to see what's going on with other parents.'
As well as stories about his two young sons, Ed weaves in routines about running out of petrol in the most awkward place imaginable, helping rescue an injured man in the Cairngorms, and the nation-dividing campaign and result of the EU referendum.
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 4x4 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.'
Having premiered Spoiler Alert at the Edinburgh Fringe and used the month of August to hone the show, it is fully ready to go. 'Being on stage is enjoyable and this part of the writing process is enjoyable. The empty page though is a scary thing. On the first leg of the tour I'll do about an hour and 15 minutes, plus I'll have a support act. I keep a tour diary now of places where the curries are disappointing and where they are good and where audiences have been good before.'
• Ed Byrne: Spoiler Alert is at Norwich Playhouse from October 2-4, 7.30pm, returns only, 01603 598598, norwichplayhouse.co.uk• He is also at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, on November 2 and will be at King's Lynn Corn Exchange on February 5 and Ipswich Regent Theatre on February 7.