Meet Jason Byrne’s Special Eye

The frantic Irish comedian talks us through his new show

Interview

Hi Jason, I very much enjoyed your visit to Dubai last year. Did you?
Yes, I always love to go to Dubai, it’s so relaxing, beautiful and full of great stuff to do, and with my double vision, I get twice the Dubai.

Yes, we’ve noticed your new show is called Jason Byrne’s Special Eye. Now, I also have what you call a ‘special eye’. Is it likely I will find your show inspirational and come to see you as a role model?
Yes, this show will be especially for the turned-in eye nation. I have asked for wider doors and a rope along the side of the venue, there will be knots tied along the rope, simply count the knots and that will show you the way to your seat.

All your live shows seem to have funny and bizarre titles. How do you come up with them?

I have a shed out the back garden. It’s my shed of knowledge, I write the names in chalk on the wall, and when I come back the next day, whichever show title stays that’s the one I use. There's a leak in the roof you see.

In the UK you’ve got a new TV show coming out, what’s it all about?
It’s called Father Figure and it’s about a stay at home dad, staying at home being a dad, at home looking after the home and being a dad. It’s basically a stay at home dad.

Do you think the show would be as funny if you didn’t have a family yourself to mine for material?
In my country we are only aloud one family per person, so I’m lucky I don't live in China or somewhere like that, as this is forbidden; people in China are only aloud one family between three people. So thanks to my family, I am funny, but one day I hope our country changes and allows two families per person.

What’s the best cooking tip you learned from your biggest TV slot to date, with Marco Pierre White, Kitchen Burnout?
Cover everything with micro herbs, they make the worst dish look great. And I made a lot of worst dishes.

It must be nice to be back out in front of a live audience after all that filming. You kind of have this reputation for being a bit hyperactive and, well, out-there onstage. Is it an act, or are you really in some kind of stage frenzy?
No, no, no, I’m like that all the time. I get up in the morning and ask my wife where she is from, ‘speak into the microphone’ I tell her, but for some reason at that time of the morning she doesn't want to speak into the microphone. I then get up and run around the house until I collapse into a useless ball. My wife then drives the kids to school while I open the pedal bin with my head on the ground. So I’m the same off stage, so no, not an act.

In your shows you’re fond of making audience members look stupid. And the rest of the audience find it very funny. What is it about human nature that makes laughing at others’ misfortune so universally funny?
I never make the audience member look stupid, I try my best to make them look intellectual by dragging them around in a box, wrapping them in cling film or banging them on the head with empty giant water bottles. I think people like laughing at them because it’s not them up there.

You’ve been declared the best-selling comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe. Has the festival got better or worse in all the years you’ve been doing it?

Yes it has gotten better-worse, but the worse thing about it, is that it’s gotten worse for the better, so it’s much better now because years ago it was much worse so that makes it better.

What mental deficit or delinquency do comedians all share that makes them want to do such an odd, challenging and stressful job?

No friends. Came out of the womb the wrong way. Basic mental illness.

Jason Byrne performers live at Almas Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers on Thursday October 10 and Friday October 11; doors 7pm, show 9pm. Tickets at Dhs120 from www.timeouttickets.com

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