If you like funny people, then Jason Byrne should be on your list for potential best mates. Failing that, you should check him out when he performs in Dubai later this month.
Jason Byrne is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most successful stand-up comedians. He tackles ordinary topics to create an extraordinary comedy that will leave your face and stomach muscles sore from laughing.
He is consistently brilliant. He sells out shows across the world, has huge DVD sales, his TV shows have clocked up massive viewing figures, and he has also performed in front of Prince Charles, as part of the Royal Variety.
Jason Byrne is brilliantly unique. He never uses a script, which makes each of his shows completely different from the last: you never know what he’s going to come out with next.
I caught up with the man himself, over a cuppa, in a tiny coffee shop in Dublin, ahead of his Dubai gigs at McGettigan’s JLT, on 21 and 22 April.
What inspired you to become a comedian?
I never wanted to be one, when I started comedy I had a steady job as an electrician in a lighting warehouse. I got too good at comedy too quickly, the gigs started to flow in, and I then had no time to work. My parents where delighted, as they encouraged my comedy, I was the only one who thought I was a fool, and what the hell did I think I was doing? But I went for it… I didn’t speak to myself for a year!
Hecklers are so funny… Said nobody ever! What’s your most memorable heckler moment, good or bad?
It was in the laughter lounge Dublin in the late 90’s, and this one guy just would not shut up! He quickly began to annoy the crowd. At the side of the stage there was a big length of rigging rope. I got it, held it aloft and screamed, “Lets hang him!” The crowd roared “YES!” He eventually left the gig. I really think with the power I had on the stage, they would have hung him for me… Genuinely hung him!
Who’s your favourite comedian of all time?
Tommy Cooper. He still makes me laugh when I watch him on Comedy Gold. He was, and still is, a big influence on my stage act. If I was around when he was alive, we could have worked together in some way. In terms of style, he’s very close to me. As a kid, I would sit on the carpet in my parent’s house, and howl with laughter watching him on TV!
This tour is called “20 Years A Clown”. What’s it all about?
Its kind of like celebrating 20 Years of me doing stand up! I couldn’t really take in how long I’ve been gigging for, until I put it on a poster. Once I saw “20 Years” on the poster, I thought, Wow… I’m old! “A legend”, as people call you when you do something for too long! For example – making love to your wife for too long, when you finally finish, she calls you a legend! It’s the same thing really!
You’ve played so many countries at this stage… Where would be your favourite place to perform? Wildest audience?
The north of Ireland is pretty wild! They shout-laugh at you, and if they don’t like you, they don’t mind telling you straight away! My favourite place EVER to gig is in Dubai! My god what a great place, such a wonderful venue in McGettigan’s too! Ooooh, oooh, and the promoter and staff are the best in the world! If I could gig there every night, I would, I really would! Now, how much money do you owe me for that? Haha! (Jason is literally in tears laughing at this!)
You’ve been coming to Dubai regularly since the McGettigan’s Comedyfest in 2011. Have you seen much of the city during your time off? What are your favourite things to do in Dubai? Tell us what Jay loves about Dubai…
As the palest man in the world, I just love the melting heat, and the way it can peel your skin off in a second! I love the abandoned sports cars dotted around the side of the roads, and carparks covered in dust! I love the fake islands! I had a brilliant time a few years ago when we did the indoor skiing in Mall of The Emirates. That’s the bizarre thing about Dubai… where else would you find a full ski slope inside a shopping centre!? Amazing.
TICKETS: JASON BYRNE, APRIL 21 & 22. THE BAGGOT AT MCGETTIGAN’S JLT.
TICKETS AED 150 ONLINE FROM PLATINUMLIST.NET & MCGETTIGAN’S JLT. ON SALE NOW.