Totally insane, bloody funny
This article is from 2008.
Several things will probably happen at a Jason Byrne gig. A teenage boy in the crowd will squirm while Byrne guesses what he gets up to behind closed bedroom doors. Audience members get assigned surreal characters, based around something Byrne’s caught them doing (speaking quietly, sitting apart from their husband, using posh words when they answer) and the title of the show won’t be mentioned once. This year’s pointless name is Cats Under Mats, Having Chats with Bats.
In Byrne’s case, sticking to the formula he’s perfected after 12 Edinburgh Fringes is an absolutely spot-on strategy. It wasn’t broke, so he doesn’t need to fix it. He lights fresh comedy dynamite with material about his killjoy wife, always the designated adult to his perma-child arseing around; a priest that got his kicks during children’s’ confessions; and his son, who Byrne thinks might be traumatised by his make-believe-loving dad. It’s not envelope-pushing or controversial stuff, it’s just bloody funny, and ridiculously well done. An absolute master of improvisation, magically conjuring up material from his crowd, he’s proof that funny bones do exist.
Assembly Hall, 623 3030, until 25 Aug, 8.40pm, £14–£17 (£13–£16).