Words: Claire Smith
Tell us about your show
My show is called ‘Tragedy plus Time’. It’s a description of comedy attributed to Mark Twain but I can find no proof he actually said it. The first time I heard it was in a Woody Allen movie – but it was already a trope then. So I look at that through the lens of the tragedy that befell me last year, of the death of my little brother.
Your brother Paul was a comedy producer
That’s the funny thing. I’m already a hack for doing it. I saw four shows about my brother last year – Sarah Keyworth, Larry Dean, John Hastings and Micky Overman all talked about my brother as a friend and a director. But in my show the death isn’t a reveal – I say it right at the beginning.
And is death funny?
What surprises me is how funny the experience can be. All your emotions are really close to the surface and you can end up being quite giggly. The darker the situation the darker the humour – so dark humour becomes a leitmotif running through the whole thing. I remember Steven Fry talking about lavatorial humour and why that’s funny – and it’s the reduction of us all to our basic functions.
Does experience as a comic help when talking about difficult subjects?
Absolutely. I tell the audience I’ve been doing this for thirty years and I’ve got quite good at it.
So you’re looking forward to it.
I always look forward to Edinburgh. I’m never happier than the first night of the Fringe when the show goes well. I have audience members coming up to me saying: we got married or had kids at the same time as you. You feel like the audience is growing up with you or growing alongside you and that’s great.
ED BYRNE: TRAGEDY PLUS TIME
VENUE: Music Hall – Assembly George Street, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR
DATES: Thurs 3rd – Sun 27th August (not 14 th )
PRICES: Full price £19.50 / Concessions £18.50
TICKETS: www.assemblyfestival.com / 0131 623 3030
AGE RESTRICTION: 14+