Jason Byrne puts his comedy brains into top gear for Norwich show
- Credit: Submitted
The Irish comic is known as one of the fastest thinking stand-ups around in manics shows that mix improv, props, lightening quick wit and audience interaction. As he bring his latest show The Man With Three Brains, he will be attempting not only trip himself up.
High-octane Irish funnyman brings Jason Byrne his latest show The Man With Three Brains to Norwich Playhouse this week in which he attempts to juggle his natural quick wit and improv skills combined with some prepared gags.
His 2016 UK tour saw silly props in the form of giant ducks, rubber hands, owls, big wooden pegs and amazing magic stunts. This time he will be showing us the madness that's inside his head and will be attempting not only trip himself up.
Will the show you're bringing to Norwich be the same as your recent Edinburgh stint?
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It will be more or less the same show, but that's in Scotland and you're in Norwich, so it can't be if you know what I mean. The spine of the show is more or less the same but as I move along through the tour I get bored and I start changing stuff. Also the towns are very different, Liverpool is different to Newcastle, and Manchester is different to Norwich, so you have to click into their little mini-cultures. It's been known for me to get into a taxi on the way and what the cabbie tells me is the opening part of the show.
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Why is it called The Man With Three Brains?
Because so much is happening. I've had people say in the past 'jeez, it looks like he's using more than three brains', because I have quite a hectic style. This show includes three different styles; improv comedy, the pre-written stuff and then the audience get involved and make it up with me. It is all incredibly fast and insane and it is me trying to tell people what it's like to try to keep up with all this stuff. It's pretty full on.
Do you enjoy using all these different forms of comedy?
There are some comics who just do storytelling, or just do props, but I just don't think I know what I want to do. In this show there are about 40 minutes of stand-up and two stunts. Sometimes I think I work too hard to get the laughs, you know. Mates of mine have come to the show in Edinburgh and said 'why don't you just do stand-up for the whole thing, it'll be easier'. But it's me just wanting to put on a good show. That said this is the first show where I don't come running out. I had a vasectomy while I was writing it and the doctor advised me not to, so I walked out at Edinburgh. It made me realise the only person disappointed if I walk out is me; the audience don't care.
The show's title harks to the classic Steve Martin film The Man With Two Brains. Are you a fan?
I'm a huge fan, especially his early years. When he was on the Johnny Carson show and things like that. The comedy props that he had were so funny.
When you're writing a new show is it important to leave enough room to go off on tangents?
I use the improv and audience reaction to as the cement to all the other stuff. The other night there was a guy called Kerry, an American, in the audience who'd also had a vasectomy and I was able to riff off that and keep coming back to him. It's a way of reeling the audience in. It's great if you can name-check someone that they may be sitting next to in your story. It's often the people in the room that make the show.
You arrive in Norwich as part of a huge tour. How do you keep it fresh?
I'm lucky that stuff keeps happening to me. I seem to attract mad stuff. Things like meeting people at a taxi rank often leads to weird conversations or events. When something out of the ordinary happens it's a gift and you just think 'yes, that's going in the show'.
Any unsual happenings in Norwich?
What I always remember about Norwich was one show where I said 'OK, we're having a break now, you can go out and rob as much stuff as you can'. When I came out after the break they'd absolutely covered the stage in stuff. The highlight was there was road works outside and they'd brought in the cones and barriers. Norwich is always a cracking gig.
• Jason Byrne: The Man With Three Brains is at Norwich Playhouse on October 13, 8pm, £19.50, 01603 598598, norwichplayhouse.co.uk