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Ed Byrne (comedian)

Ed Byrne
Byrne after Different Class
at the Lowry Centre, 2009
Born (1972-04-10) 10 April 1972
Swords, Dublin, Ireland
Genres Observational comedy, social satire
Spouse Claire Walker (2008–present)
Children 2

Edward Cathal "Ed" Byrne[1] (born 10 April 1972) is an Irish stand-up comedian, voice over artist and actor. He has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a guest on television panel games. As an actor he played the title character in the ITV2 adaptation of the pantomime Aladdin.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Stand-up comedy 2.1
    • Television work 2.2
    • Acting 2.3
    • Writing 2.4
    • Other 2.5
  • Personal life 3
  • Books 4
  • Stand-up DVDs 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Byrne was born in Swords, Dublin, in Ireland, in 1972, to Jill and Eddie Byrne, the third of four children.


Stand-up comedy

Deciding to study horticulture at the University of Strathclyde, he was made entertainments convener at the Students' Union in his second year of study. Byrne started a comedy night called The Comedy Cellar in the basement of the 13th Note public house on Glassford Street, Glasgow. On the first night, Byrne appeared on the roster alongside Armando Ianucci's brother David. Over the following few months, acts booked included Ford Kiernan, Phil Kay, Greg Hemphill, Alan Francis and Alan Tyler. After a few months he gave up studying, and headed to London. He was later booked to appear at the The Comedy Cellar by new convenors Ford Kiernan and J.P. Leach.[2]

After building up his act on observational comedy, Byrne was nominated for the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In 2006 he toured the UK, recording a DVD in Leeds, entitled Pedantic and Whimsical, which was largely a "greatest hits" set of his material to date. He has also appeared in Father Ted, and performed voice-over work in the Carphone Warehouse adverts. In February 2007 Byrne appeared on a comedians' special edition of The Weakest Link. Byrne has performed six sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and three sell-out UK tours. He has also developed huge success on the international circuit where he has performed to capacity audiences in Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.[3]

He has since garnered a raft of major broadcast credits, including five U.S. appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC). In July 2007, Byrne made his début at the Newbury Comedy Festival, having participated in the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny shortly before. He recorded a live DVD Different Class at The King's Theatre, Glasgow, on 23 March 2009, which was released on 23 November of that year.

On 15 September 2010, Byrne, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[4]

Byrne frequently appears on BBC stand-up comedy programme Mock The Week as the most common guest panellist, having appeared on 28 episodes as of 18 June 2014.

Television work

One of Byrne's first TV appearances was on the ITV show Blind Date. He also appeared in Father Ted as a teenager mocking Father Ted and two other priests on a phone chat line, in the episode "A Christmassy Ted". Byrne has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a regular guest on The Panel, HeadJam, Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He has appeared on Have I Got News for You, The Bubble, The Unbelievable Truth and We Need Answers. He has also appeared on The Graham Norton Show six times.[5] Byrne featured in a series of comedy shorts on the MSN Video Channel[6] in which he discusses some of his pet hates, including occasional smokers and his girlfriend's snoring. Byrne appeared in the second part of the BBC2 programme Three Men Go to Scotland on 30 December 2010 whilst hitching a ride in order to reach the Cuillin mountains on Skye for his Munro bagging attempt - climbing every mountain in Scotland over 3,000 feet (910 m).[7] On 31 March 2012, Byrne appeared on All Star Family Fortunes. On 5 July 2012, Byrne appeared as a guest on The One Show. Byrne presented segments during Volcano Live from 9 to 12 July.[8] He appeared on a celebrity version of The Chase on 30 November 2013, where he successfully brought £117,000 through, a record for the programme.[9]


Byrne had a small part in the 2000 comedy film Rat. In 2001 Byrne was the main character in an RTÉ-produced sitcom entitled The Cassidys. It was cancelled after one series. In 2005 he starred in the film, Zemanovaload. The film is about John Davies (played by Byrne) who suffers from multiple obsessive compulsive disorders. When his current model girlfriend leaves him, he decides to replace her with the most attractive woman on the planet, Czech model Veronika Zemanová. The film follows his attempts to curb his old obsessions in order to meet his latest obsession - Veronika. Byrne played the part of Luke Dyson in a comedy film set in London called Are You Ready For Love where three volunteers, including Luke, are taking part in a filmed documentary by two love gurus releasing a new book about how to find your perfect partner in just three days. But nothing is going well and time is quickly running out. Byrne's character is a struggling music performer who thinks he's god's gift to all women. Byrne plays the part of Irish radio presenter Dylan Dale in the British feature film version of Tony Hawks' book Round Ireland with a Fridge which was released in September 2010 and on DVD on 8 November 2010. In 2010, Byrne played Rob in the BBC television pilot Reunited.


Since 2011, Byrne has written a column for the hillwalking magazine TGO in which he tries a different outdoor activity each month in the company of an expert. He also had a column in the Metro newspaper until January 2012.[10]


In March 2013, Byrne hosted the 18th Empire Awards in London.[11] In June 2013 Byrne appeared in an advert for Tesco Mobile. Byrne made an appearance on the BBC programme Saturday Kitchen. A feature of the show is the guest chooses two foods for Heaven & Hell, and Byrne was given his food heaven choice of Sticky Ribs.

Personal life

Byrne believes his older brother Stephen was the funniest member of the family as a child. His younger brother Paul is a comedy director and has long been a fixture at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[12] He also has an older sister, Trish.

Byrne is married to theatre publicist Claire Walker. The couple live in Essex and have two sons, the elder called Cosmo and the younger named Magnus.[13] Byrne was best man at fellow comic Dara Ó Briain's wedding and Ó Briain later returned the favour at Byrne's wedding.

Byrne is an atheist and a Patron of the British Humanist Association.[14]

Byrne claimed to be a fan of the video game Farming Simulator 2013 on Mock The Week.[15]


  • Sit-Down Comedy (contributor to anthology, eds. Malcolm Hardee & John Fleming) Ebury Press/Random House, 2003. ISBN 0-09-188924-3; ISBN 978-0-09-188924-1

Stand-up DVDs

Title Released Notes
Pedantic and Whimsical 21 August 2006 Live at Leeds City Varieties
Different Class 23 November 2009 Live at Glasgow King's Theatre
Crowd Pleaser 28 November 2011 Live at Newcastle City Hall


  1. ^ "2013 #22: Ed Byrne, Bridget Christie and Luke Wright - Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast - Podcasts". British Comedy Guide. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Brian McIver (2011-03-06). "Smaller venues are much better for comedy - not massive arenas, says Irish comic Ed Byrne". Daily Record. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Ed Byrne". 
  4. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian (London). 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ MSN website
  7. ^ "Three Men Go To Scotland". Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Bristol scientists feature on BBC Two's Volcano Live".  
  9. ^ "The Chase". UKGameshows. 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Ed Byrne: I sat on my own testicle the other day – it was excruciating". Metro News. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Jameson empire awards 2013 live blog". 24 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Fullmooners - Edinburgh Fringe 2013 - British Comedy Guide". Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  13. ^ Byrne, Ed (3 March 2013). "'Despite what it says in The Observer..'". Twitter. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Ed Byrne joins the Census Campaign". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  15. ^ """Farming Simulator: "more funny than the Lib Dem conference. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Chortle page, including upcoming tour dates
  • Ed Byrne profile on
  • Ed Byrne live at UCL Bloomsbury, May 2008, review from
  • Ed Byrne at the Internet Movie Database
  • Profile, from Comedy Laid Bare
  • Ed Byrne at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival 2008
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