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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Ed Byrne: If I’m Honest

Ed Byrne

Genre: Comedy, Stand-Up

Venue: The Assembly


Low Down

A TV Regular and experienced Irish Comic, Ed Byrne brings his new show to the Edinburgh Fringe. Having been a father for some years, he has taken a long hard look at himself as he considers whether or not he has any worthwhile traits to pass on to his children.


When you visit the fringe it can be a difficult task to work out who to go and see. One way to simplify this is to pick a name you are already familiar with. Ed Byrne has been a regular on our TV screens for many years, he has toured many times and has come a long way since he was the voice of Mowbli. No surprise then that his show, at one of the largest Fringe venues, is a sell-out.

Ed bounds on to the stage in a shiny red jacket, skinny jeans, pointy shoes and sporting a sensible haircut. Fizzing with energy he crosses back and forth, immediately bringing the audience on side. He starts with a little anecdote about arriving in Edinburgh, the first laugh of the show is in and off we trot.

Seeing a well-known name, like Ed, sets up a certain expectation. The audience know what they want to see, that was why they booked. Ed delivers Irish whimsy, sharp gags, penetrating observations with a very cheeky grin on his face. From his stage persona, it would be very hard not to like Ed.

He doesn’t let his audience down. We are treated to his thoughts on being a family man, what it means to go to work, how he is surrounded by a collection of middle-class w**kers with whom he is in unseen competition and he supplies a handy guide as to how to win. Periodically we are treated to some self-analysis, some honest admissions and commentary on wider society. All of which is brilliantly delivered, in his own energetic style.

The crowd got what they expected, and from the laughter and sustained applause at the end of the show they appreciated the effort.

Perhaps, as he moves on Ed may consider doing more of the social and current affairs material. This material was a positive high point. By deviating from the traditional comedy format of talking about growing older, having a family and woe is me, he can mature as a comedian.

His anger at some of the social changes, his frustration with people’s acceptance of the ordinary and banal, the behaviour of keyboard trolls and a***holes and his comments on religion proved to be cutting and insightful. A little out of keeping with the rest of the show, but a valuable addition to it. Hopefully he will include more of this in the future.

Without rushing to stereotype, Ed is Irish, the show does contain some swearing. Although you would hardly notice, in his fast flow of words it serves more as punctuation than offensive invective. There is the odd occasion where something has made him so angry that swearing provides the most appropriate way of describing the person or event.

This is an Ed Byrne show, it has everything you would expect from such. If you like what the nice bloke off the telly does, you will almost certainly like this. He has been doing this for some time and he does it well. There is pleasure in watching a skilled craftsman ply his trade. This show is recommended.