Words: Calum Baxter
Attributed to Mark Twain, humour is defined as tragedy plus time. To that end, Ed Byrne is a master of delivering comic punchlines and, while his show covers some poignant topics, it remains extremely funny throughout.
Byrne begins by regaling his audience with the type of material we’ve come to expect from him, an anecdote regarding the theft of his bag from his car in an affluent area of London, which he then mined for comedy gold at a stand-up spot the following night. However, he assures the audience, this is not another hour of wry observations about everyday life or about his kids. Reminding Twitter users that they should be careful what they wish for, he launches into the meat of the show: the death of his younger brother, Paul.
The show is very candid about an often fraught, fractious but loving relationship with Paul in the year-and-a-half before his death, which highlights the importance of reconciliation. Byrne himself suggests that resolving family disagreements is fundamental, not necessarily by apologising but by going to see his show together instead.
This show is a much more reflective and sincere hour than audiences have become accustomed to from Byrne. Nonetheless it delivers an hour of very funny comedy not to be missed.
Ed Byrne: Tragedy Plus Time
Assembly Rooms, Music Hall
9-13, 15-27 Aug