Jason Byrne ‘You Name The Show’ Interview

Jason Byrne You Name The Show Interview

After missing the comedy season last year, Jason Byrne is returning to Australia to delight fans with his latest stand-up, You Name The Show. With plenty of laughs and interaction with the crowd, this Irish comic is back with a bang, so we couldn’t wait to catch up and see what he had to say…

Hi Jason, how are you?
I’m grand; I just came off stage tonight to a very strange gig… So, I do shows in Leeds every year for my British tour, and there’s a guy called Dave, a graphic designer, and every year he makes a mad poster, brings it to the show and gives it to me. It’s always a pisstake of whatever poster I have. So, I go on stage tonight, I look down and I see this man with his family here and he has a poster in his hand and I completely can’t connect. I’m like, “Wait a minute, are you Dave from Leeds?” And he goes, “Yeah, we came to see ya!” He brought a fuckin’ poster, which I’ll Tweet tomorrow, and they’re here because of relatives or something, but it was fuckin’ bizarre, y’know… What I’m gonna do is, I’m gonna meet them for lunch.

Really?
Yeah, for doing that?! Jesus Christ. He’s come to the show for about four years in Leeds. It can sometimes be my favourite gig, and they’re the ones that kept shouting at me one year that Dynamo was shite [Laughs] They kept going, “Dynamo’s shiiite!” and I went “I never asked you that!” and they went, “Yeah, but just to say, he’s shiiite!” It was fuckin’ nuts… So that’s the kind of thing that happens at my shows, right. Because my show has got loads of stories in it and bits of props and people get up and do shit, stuff like that can happen in my show, because it allows the looseness of that. If that was a heavy-storytelling comedian, he’d be fucked! Unfortunately, I encourage my crowd to try and upset me as much as possible, but it’s always done in the nicest way. One year, I told them all to bring gifts and they still do, and this was about two years ago, like from the Baby Jesus or somethin’…

What do they bring you?
I get a lot of potato connections… Mashed potatoes [Laughs] I also used to have this thing about my lazy eye, so they’d bring eye ointment, eye patches… Those people are just unbelievable. The most amazing gift I got was a ball of elastic bands that took this girl five months to make.

Oh. That’s a long time…
That’s what I said – in exactly the same tone as you just used! [Laughs]

Have you had any gifts from Melbourne?
Err… No. I haven’t encouraged them, but they will. We’ve only started a week-and-a-half here and we have to do four weeks. The room I’m in, I always cause mayhem. I don’t know how I attract mad fuckers and it just goes off – they’re my favourite gigs. We only have an hour here because it’s the festival, so you’ve gotta get as much as you can in and it’s actually pretty short.

So what is the stand-up ‘You Name The Show’ about?
[Laughs] Ummm, which night?! I don’t think I’ve even done the full show yet… I have loads of stuff ready, but like tonight I spent ten minutes dealing with fuckin’ Dave and his poster! Last night, I was dealing with a girl who was 35 and her boyfriend who was 18 and they work together in Woolworths… It’s basically a lot of free-wheeling and there’s loads of stories, like, I’ve tried to find as many stories as I can about Melbourne and then I’ll do the same with Perth, I’ll just watch their news and pick up some shit… Then I have various stories of my own, but that’s when it’s most boring for me! [Laughs]

We think that a member of the public getting to name the show is pretty cool…
Yeah, because, I’m always asked in December, “What will the name of the show be?” and I never know, and most comics just make up a name that doesn’t really have any reason. I just said, “Let’s have a bit of fun and let the punters do it.” You can go on Live Nation’s Facebook and have a look at some of the horrific shit that they’ve already written. [Laughs] Basically, I’ll pick the best one at the end. The ones with the most abuse in them will make me laugh the most. I’m waiting for one just to have “Fuck Off” written on it and then that will be the one that will win! I’m going to New Zealand after this and then they can have a go as well. We’ll see how it works; if it works well then we’ll bring it home to continue it in Britain and Ireland – in Edinburgh Festival it would be good fun, y’know.

Has it been going down well in Melbourne?
Yeah, I’ve been coming here for 12 years, I think, and we do really well here, so much so they think I live here. I was in Ireland and these Aussies came walking down the street like, “Oh my God, Jason Byrne, what are you doing here?” so I went, “I live here” and they went, “Fack off, you live here?! We thought you lived in Melbourne…” So yeah, as much as I’d love to live here, I don’t. It was 35 degrees here yesterday – that’s what I’m talking about! And today it was 22, and oh my god! Fuckin’ brilliant! And they go, “Oh yeah, it’s not hot enough, only 22 degrees” but all the British and Irish are down at the beach – we couldn’t give a fuck!

Do you bring the family with you?
Not this time. They’re getting older now, so there’s more demand on them at school, with sports and football matches and fuckin’ Gaelic lectures… The only thing is, if I keep coming here as my kids get older, they can stop coming here… Can you imagine coming here as a 20-year-old? You’re goin’ nuts!

Between shows, what are you getting up to?
I’ve got a few comic friends, a friend of mine, Des Bishop, we had Monday off so we went to Mornington Sorrento, and I’m also training to do New York City Marathon for a children’s hospital in November.

Are you a natural sportsman?
Yeah, I was always a runner, but I’ve never run a marathon. It’s brilliant – people that don’t run and are quite miserable always go, “Have you ever run a marathon before?” I go “No” and they go, “Oooh, be careful” and you go, ‘Why?” and then they go, “I don’t know, but you’ve gotta be careful…”. They always think you’ll injure yourself or have a heart attack and you think, “Fuck off, you miserable fuck…” If you’re in any way a sporty person then Australia is the business.

Do you do any water sports, like surfing?
You must be joking! Nobody can surf unless they’re from Australia or brought up here as a kid. Most people surfing is a fuckin’ disaster! I’m not mad about water anyway, especially here. Fuck, it’s dangerous here. All you have to do is watch Bondi Rescue and all you can see is British and Irish people being dragged out every five minutes. I went down to one of the lifeguards and he said that the cameramen go looking for Irish people! Stick a camera behind them and just wait for them to get into the sea.

What’s next for you after MICF?
I’m going to New Zealand for a week, I’m hosting their Comedy Gala. I go back home to Ireland, a heap of gigs to do and then it’s the summer and I’ve gotta start working on some TV projects, which of course I can’t tell you because if I tell you they’ll just go, “Why did you tell her that for? They’re not even fuckin’ commissioned yet…” And then I’ve got Edinburgh Festival for four weeks and then in September I come back to Australia to do the rest of Australia, and then the British tour starts, and that brings us up to Christmas! I hopefully sit down in my house, then. After all that travelling, people are still stupid enough to ask me if I’m going away for Christmas… And I go, “Fuck off”. They go, “Aww, it’d be nice, wouldn’t it?” “No.” I’m done for this year; if I’m still alive at Christmas, I’ll be happy.

Thanks for your time, Jason!

By Charlotte Mellor