JASON BYRNE

Jason Byrne: The Lovely Goat Show: Assembly on the Mound, Edinburgh, 2005
Jason Byrne: Sheep for Feet and Rams for Hands: Assembly on the Mound, Edinburgh, 2006
Jason Byrne Live: Menier Chocolate Factory, London, 2006
Late ‘n’ Live: Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, 2007
Jason Byrne’s Telly Idea Which May Also Work On The Radio Show: Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 2007
Jason Byrne: Shy Pigs With Wigs, Hidden In The Twigs: Assembly @ Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2007
Jason Byrne: Cats Under Mats, Having Chats With Bats: Assembly Hall on the Mound, Edinburgh, 2008
Best of the Fest: Assembly Hall on the Mound, Edinburgh, 2008
Jason Byrne: The Byrne Supremacy: Assembly on the Mound, Edinburgh, 2009
Jason Byrne 2010: Assembly @ Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2010
Jason Byrne: Cirque Du Byrne: Venue 150 @ EICC, Edinburgh, 2011
Jason Byrne: People’s Puppeteer: Venue 150 @ EICC, Edinburgh, 2012
Jason Byrne: People’s Puppeteer: Hammersmith Apollo, London, 2012
Jason Byrne’s Special Eye: Udderbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh, 2013
Jason Byrne: You Name The Show: Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2014
Jason Byrne: 20 Years A Clown: Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2015
Magners Greenwich Comedy Festival 2015: Greenwich Park, London, 2015
Jason Byrne Is Propped Up: Udderbelly, Southbank, London, 2016
Jason Byrne: The Man With Three Brains: Assembly Hall on the Mound, Edinburgh, 2017
Jason Byrne: The Man With Three Brains: Leicester Square Theatre, London, 2017
Jason Byrne: You Can Come In, But Don’t Start Anything: Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2018
Jason Byrne: Wrecked But Ready: Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 2019
Jason Byrne’s Morning Workout: Online: 2020
Jason Byrne’s Jokes In The Jacks (2 shows): Online: 2020
Jason Byrne’s Fringe Fringe (2 shows): Online: 2020  

Jason Byrne has played the Edinburgh Festival for the over twenty-two years.  The extraordinarily funny Irishman’s live shows are legendary and I have seen every one of them since I started going to the Fringe in 2005.  Every year, even the shows titles are legendary and Byrne is a very popular sell-out comedian.

There are so many memorable funny moments that I have seen at Byrne’s shows over the years.  Three of my favourites are firstly, at one of his early shows, the performance had been going on for about twenty minutes and someone in the audience was late for the show.  As he was sitting down without trying to be noticed, Byrne caught him out of the corner of his eye, encouraged the latecomer to join him on stage and then rewound the show using physical comedy to the beginning so that the audience member had not missed anything.  It was one of the most memorably funny things I have ever seen on the stage with Byrne acting out all the mannerisms in reverse.  Secondly, to open the show, Byrne appeared hanging from a giant ball swinging around like a madman and resembling Miley Cryrus’ Wrecking Ball album cover.  The laughter he created that night from the opening of the show was amazing.  Finally and most recently, whilst Byrne was on stage, his show was interrupted by an audience group on his left trying to pass a tray of drink to another group on Byrne’s right.  He stopped the show and took the tray of drink from his left and looked like he was about to pass them to the group on his right.  Instead at the last minute, he started drinking and spilling the drinks on stage and looked at the left audience group and said grinningly, please don’t interrupt the show again!  The audience cheered wildly and he got on with the rest of the show.

In all of Byrne’s unpredictable live shows, audience members never know what is going to happen and are always ended up being used as props for daft routines that Byrne has conjured up.  The shows are always very appealing and the audience interaction Byrne generates is one of his greatest qualities.  Because he gives his absolute all to make an audience cry with laughter, he always looks exhausted by the end of the show as are the audience who cannot laugh anymore.

 Byrne returned to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 for his twenty-third year with his new show You Can Come In, But Don’t Start Anything.  The show featured routines about Irish upbringing and social class intertwined with the usual silly games and incredible audience interaction that left me crying with laughter.  Byrne’s angry Irish rants are legendary like the man himself and the madness, visually funny face and energy were off the scale in another extraordinary display of comic genius.

As I do every year, I saw Byrne again at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2019 with his show Wrecked But Ready.  The audience learned that unfortunately Byrne had separated from his wife however he even made this situation funny by comparing marriage to a horse and jockey being separated, then they are lost.  Byrne’s impersonation of being lost was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

2020 was a weird year.  Everybody was confined for the most part to their homes because of a worldwide pandemic. Many comedians delivered shows online and every other morning Byrne appeared on Facebook Live demonstrating a workout. Exercise can be so tough especially during lockdown but when the trainer was Byrne his whole online audience had a blast.  I was laughing so hard at his crazy routines and did my best to exercise along with him.  Byrne also had a hysterical half hour with his show Jokes In The Jacks that I saw in June and October 2020.  The shows featured his trumpeting skills, games of comedy roulette to see which numbered bags contained flour which he had to burst and the introduction of Northern comedian Dicky Bow who told crude jokes! It was all inspired lunacy and had me crying with laughter.

Because of the Coronavirus outbreak, for the first time in its history, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was cancelled in August 2020.  It left a massive creative void in everyone’s summer but Byrne, the exceptionally popular fringe stalwart triumphantly delivered two shows each performed in front of a socially distanced small live audience at the Venue Theatre in Ratroath, Ireland and streamed around the world.  Billed as Jason Byrne’s Fringe Fringe, I saw both shows online that featured brilliant routines from the funny man including arriving on stage swinging on a Coronavirus ball, cycling, fitness and exercise, home schooling, Americans visiting Ireland, countries attempting to cope with the epidemic, TikTok, Fortnight, Supermarkets, Super Nanny’s vs his mammy and a wonderful heartfelt and hilarious tribute to his father.

Byrne is one of the most brilliantly funny comedians that must be witnessed live on stage.  I look forward to seeing him again and again for many years to come at the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond.

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