Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton

12/05/2009 - 12/05/2009

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

02/05/2009 - 09/05/2009

Opera House, Wellington

15/05/2009 - 16/05/2009

TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

14/05/2009 - 14/05/2009

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Ireland’s master of Stand-Up Comedy returns to New Zealand in 2009 with his critically acclaimed new show that is arguably his best ever.

"Ed Byrne is a class apart. Not pretentious, not offensive, not surreal, just a spinner of wallopingly funny yarns about life and the obstacles encountered while attempting to live it."   Evening Standard UK Sept 2008

Following his debut in New Zealand at the 1997 International Comedy Festival, Ed Byrne has established a huge legion of fans across the country. He was last seen here on a sell-out tour in 2007.

In 2008 Ed launched his most successful tour ever in the U.K. with his new show ‘Different Class’. His personally chosen support act on that tour was top Wellington Pro comedian, Ben Hurley, the winner of the 2004 Billy T Award for Comedy. Hurley himself agrees that this is Ed’s best show ever.

 "This superb Irish comic returns with a new show about marriage, class, the youth of today and anything else that strikes him as humorous. He’s in a great streak of form at the moment."  TimeOUT UK

ED BYRNE – ‘Different Class’ – 2009 NZ TOUR Tour Dates

Dates:  Sat 2 – Sat 9 May
Venue:  Auckland Skycity Theatre
Tickets:  Ticketek / Ph 0800Ticketek / www.ticketek.co.nz

Dates:  Tue 12 May
Venue:  Hamilton Clarence St Theatre
Tickets:  Ticket Direct / Ph 08004Ticket / www.ticketdirect.co.nz 

Dates:  Thu14 May
Venue:  New Plymouth TSB Showplace
Tickets:  Ticketek / Ph 0800Ticketek / www.ticketek.co.nz

Dates:  Fri 15 – Sat 16 May
Venue:  Wellington Opera House
Tickets:  Ticketek / Ph 0800Ticketek / www.ticketek.co.nz

Dates:  Sun 17 May
Venue:  Napier Municipal Theatre
Tickets:  Ticket Direct / Ph 08004Ticket / www.ticketdirect.co.nz 

Dates:  Wed 20 May
Venue:  TBC

Dates:  Thu 21 May
Venue:  Christchurch Isaac Theatre Royal
Tickets:  Ticketek / Ph 0800Ticketek / www.ticketek.co.nz

Dates  Fri 22 May
Venue:  Dunedin Glenroy Theatre
Tickets:  Ticket Direct / Ph 08004Ticket / www.ticketdirect.co.nz

Dates:  Sat 23 May
Venue:  Oamaru Opera House
Tickets:  Ticket Direct / Ph 08004Ticket / www.ticketdirect.co.nz





2hr 5 mins, no interval

The laughs keep coming

Review by Simon Sweetman 23rd May 2009

Irish comic Ed Byrne is a favourite for New Zealand audiences. He’s 36 and has been working the comedy circuit for many years and despite his status as being "big enough to have a DVD but not big enough for it sell very well" Byrne improves with every appearance.

His current show, Different Class, loosely explores the differences in the human class system – and the grey areas between working and middle class. Byrne deftly summarises with a tale of his in-laws cooking pheasant ("a very posh thing to do") before explaining the bird flew in the house and died, so they cooked it.

Byrne’s show really hits the ground running, so many comedians take a few moments to move towards a theme or to hit the right spots, but Byrne is so seasoned and his material is so well honed that the first 50 minutes fly by with dissections of movies (Back To The Future, Hostel II) and a humorous look at thinking of witty comments days after an argument.

After the interval Byrne returns with a costume change (the casual attire replaced by a sharp suit) and explores the concept of wedding preparation (he’s a newlywed). From questioning why it would take a professional 11 months to prepare a wedding dress ("I can understand why it might take me 11 months – I can’t sew!") to explaining how the guests are selected ("with all the people she likes on this side, and then, on the other side all the people that she likes of my friends") there is a mix of wincing and laughter; the audience with him every step of the way, recognising their own family in friends in Byrne’s stories.

Ed Byrne’s mix of observational humour and engaging storytelling is consistent; no dead spots, no fluffed jokes, compared to many comedians he is in a different class.
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Good story telling

Review by Sally Richards 16th May 2009

Ed Byrne gives us fast paced observational stand-up. A game of two halves. Seemingly seamless, energetic and very funny. 

He’s a pro. He made his New Zealand debut back in 1997. He is returning here on the back of an extensive UK and Ireland tour. It really is testament to Byrne’s talent that he’s survived the tough comedy circuit for so many years.  In fact he is thriving. 

And it must be some small miracle that he is now 5 months married to the missus. How fitting that our land of romantic scenery and strong wine should be the catalyst for popping the question. There’s mileage in the newly married and you could feel both men and women in the audience groan in appreciation at Byrne’s disbelief and distrust of the business of getting wed. 

He appears comfortable with the Wellington audience, on safe ground, slipping in a couple of local references, taking the occasional dig at Auckland.

There’s nothing too risqué or offensive. The show is tried and tested and it works a treat. He’s intelligent but uncomplicated. Its not genius but there is a brilliance. The poster boy image of a drunken paddy is also a bespectacled middle-class comedian dressed like a feminist – hands on hips. He’s an oxy-moron.

The audience don’t have time for comedy critique. We hardly take a breath. We don’t ponder the age old ‘Why are the Irish funny?’ We don’t indulge in our own deep self-analysis, stirred by the irony of it all. We don’t require any flashy audiovisual stimulus. What stands before us, hands on hips, is simple, unadulterated, good story telling.

Byrne is in a different class. He’s not exactly classy, nor edgy. But it is an Irish commonality – the ability to tell a yarn, to have the craic. Like standing in a local pub in Ireland* the stories are an art of seduction, persuasion and always of laughter. 

Without delving into deep analysis, the show’s themes are roughly based on this art of story telling.  How stories are fabricated and exaggerated for effect so that the teller comes off looking good. It’s along the lines of "being obsessed by what you would have done if you’d had the foreknowledge you have now" and in the re-telling of a story: "Did you really say that at the time or did you make up the witty retort at a later date?"

Byrne is an inclusive comedian. He has a way of making the audience feel that their applause is also for themselves for ‘getting it’. There’s a proper encore, acknowledging the peculiarity of the encore itself, especially when an audience has been unresponsive and then applauds you back on stage. But this audience is delighted with Ed and with themselves. A great show. 

*Disclaimer: The same cannot be said for standing in an Irish pub in any other global locale.
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Charming and goofy

Review by Sian Robertson 05th May 2009

In his latest show, Ed Byrne delves through the layers of class, exploring which particular habits and mannerisms are middle class as opposed to working class.

He asserts that he’s not really middle class (because, among other things, he says ‘patio door’ instead of ‘french door’) and he’s not really working class because, let’s face it, he makes quite good money.

He also talks about being not really famous but not exactly obscure and the unfathomable effect this has on strangers when they spot him.

The stuff that had me teary eyed were his hilarious examples of things you wish you’d said (and things you pretend you did say when you’re telling the story later). He then exploits this idea throughout the show, leading us to question various anecdotes as to whether he really did say something that clever or if he just wishes he said it. Either way it doesn’t make it any less funny.

He dredges up feminism, with quite an original, very funny and sympathetic perspective (avoiding the cliché of picking on the actual feminists – everyone else gets it though).

Perpetually annoyed, he gets a kick out of taking wedding consultants to the cleaners, and we get to hear a good deal of the horrors of planning a wedding as well as some of the finer quirks of married life.  

A self-proclaimed picky bastard, Ed has many examples of things that tick him off immensely, including plot holes in ‘Back to the Future’ and inaccurate graffiti. In fact when he really comes to life is when he’s found something that really really irritates him.

At once charming and goofy, this floppy-haired Irishman is a natural entertainer, lexical inventor, and isn’t afraid to take the subject matter well outside the realm of ‘family entertainment’.

He gets away with some pretty crass comments because he’s already established himself as, a) a mischievous Irishman, b) a bit pale and effeminate and, c) possessing working class tendencies – and because he always relates it back to some very clever and/or convoluted observation about human thought processes (decidedly middle class).

At two-and-a-bit hours including interval (don’t believe the festival programme), you definitely get your money’s worth. I left feeling decidedly sated.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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