Jason Byrne has been one of those comedians that I’ve seen on things in the past and has written a book that I own but we have never been to see.
This year we made up for it by booking a couple of tickets to see his show on the first night of our stay in Edinburgh. And it was brilliant.
For starters, the venue it was in was phenomenal. Maybe not once you were inside the performance space, as it was hard to see with all the black curtains everywhere, but the approach to it was pretty bloody special. Sort of an indication of how good the show would be, but in architectural form.
Now, most comedians have a theme for their show. I’m sure there was a theme for the show somewhere hidden away. It started out about Jason wanting to be more like his dad and basically not give a shit about what he says. That’s how it started out. From there, though, it just because an hour of pure laughter with no defining theme but a lot of good fun.
As an example of how funny the whole thing was, a man on the row in front of us could barely sit up straight because he was laughing to much. He spent a decent portion of the show doubled over with his head on the seat in front, visibly shaking. I mean, he could have been having some sort of critical medical episode, but his friends didn’t seem too concerned so it was probably laughter.
Byrne incorporated the audience in everything he did. From one person’s extremely Scottish sentence and the joy the Americans in the audience must have felt from hearing it through to an American audience member being drugged by the surrounding Scottish contingent for having too much fun, it was a wall-to-wall fun fest.
There were young – eighteen-year-old – kids in the audience, who drew Jason’s attention because he was focussing on being older. They ended up involved in a lot of the show. Particularly one who, when asked his name, said something which was interpreted as “bleugh” – a name he was then referred to throughout the show. And there was a PE teacher who came to Jason’s attention because his girlfriend started squeezing his biceps after one particular comment.
And a man who wasn’t wearing shoes.
These all came together, beautifully, for the finale when they were all invited to join Jason on stage and take part in a game which, as far as I can tell, had nothing to do with anything. At all. Ever. But it was fun.
Split into pairs, these perfect strangers were asked to hug and then lie on the floor, still hugging, before rolling from opposite ends of a mat and negotiating their way over each other on the quest to reach the other side.
For no reason.
No prize. No nothing. Just laughter and applause.
It was insane.
But it was something worth seeing.
As was the whole show.
And now I’m cross we’ve never been to see him before, and I’m plumbing the depths of Netflix to make sure I watch as many of his shows as I possibly can.