Ed Byrne - Standing Up, Falling Down

Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

03/05/2007 - 03/05/2007

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

05/05/2007 - 10/05/2007

Westpac St James, Wellington

11/05/2007 - 12/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Ed Byrne
+ Paul Ego

Ireland’s ‘lord of the laughs’ is back

After a four-year absence, top Irish stand-up comedian Ed Byrne returns in May to headline The 2007 New Zealand International Comedy Festival in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. He will also be the first international comedian to tour on the newly-launched Classic Comedy Network, which will take him to Hastings, Hamilton and Tauranga.

This year’s new show, “Standing Up, Falling Down“, presents the adventures of an ordinary man at war with the everyday world. Continuing his record as the top-selling comedian of the prestigious Edinburgh festival Byrne sold out his 2006 festival show. The reviews included such comments as “It’s rare for comedy to merit the word ‘masterful’ but in this case it is no overstatement” (The Scotsman) and “Comic gold . . . lovable . . .You just stand up and cheer with everybody else,”  (The Independent).

New Zealand comedy audiences have long appreciated the unique talents of Ed Byrne who made his New Zealand debut at the Hopetoun Alpha in the 1997 NZ International Comedy Festival. Bryne returned to the festival three times (1998, 2000, 2003), increasing his audience following with each visit, culminating in six sold-out nights at Auckland’s SKYCITY Theatre.

Over the years Byrne has become one of the A-List acts on the international circuit, extensively touring to the UK, Europe, Canada and Australia. He is also one of the favoured headliners at the prestigious Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. In 1999 Bryne featured in The Royal Variety Performance in Albert Hall, London.

Ed Byrne will launch his 2007 New Zealand tour with a special preview show on Thursday 3 May at the Bruce Mason Centre on Auckland’s North Shore before joining local and international guests in the Official Crunchie Comedy Gala on Friday 4 May at The St James Theatre. He will follow this with a strictly limited six performance season at SkyCity Theatre kicking off on Saturday 5 May before touring to
Wellington (Friday 11 May)
Christchurch (Monday 14 May)
Hastings (Tuesday 15 May)
Hamilton (Wednesday 16 May)
Tauranga (Thursday 17 May)
returning to the Bruce Mason Theatre in Auckland on Friday 18 May.

Dates:                   Thur 3 – Sat 19 May
Venue:                 Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hastings, Hamilton, Tauranga
Bookings:           Check www.comedyfestival.co.nz  

Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,

A perfect mix of meaningful and hilarious

Review by Lynn Freeman 17th May 2007

There’s a good reason why visiting stand-ups like Irishmen Ed Byrne and Dylan Moran not only sell out shows, they have to put on extra ones to cope with the demand.  They’re brilliant.  Assured, but still occasionally surprising themselves when they go on tangents.  Their shows are crafted, but you never get any sense that they’re bored with their material. And – funny!

Ed Bryne is one of the best in this tough old business.  Great comedy is universal, and it should make us question ourselves even while we’re laughing.  There’s a perfect mix of meaningful and hilarious in a stand up routine and Bryne nails it.

[Note: This is taken from a composite Comedy Fest Wrap review.- ed]


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Angry, affable and lightly mocking

Review by Darren Bevan 12th May 2007

Ed Byrne is an angry man – well, in an affable sort of way. Returning to New Zealand after 4 years absence, the show was a prelude to his residency in Auckland as part of the International Comedy festival. After a fairly average warm up by Paul Ego – a man whose act never really got going – Ed came out on stage to rapturous applause, and it never really stopped from there. [Read more]


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Intelligent and fairly interactive

Review by Jacob Powell 12th May 2007

A LONG-TIME favourite, I remember seeing Irishman Ed Byrne when he was in New Zealand a number of years back and he was doing his "travelling the world and apologising for Riverdance" and "Alanis Morissette" routine. He was bloody clever and bloody funny then so I was keen to see how he was going to go over this time around. [Read more]


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Stand up: generic and classic

Review by Nik Smythe 04th May 2007

On the eve of the official launch of Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) 2007 International Comedy Festival, Ed Byrne jumps the gun in a sort of premature ejaculation special, overseas there in Takapuna.

Paul Ego tackles the warm up set with his sometimes amusing repertoire of textbook comedy.  With his self-centred approach he lives up to his name, as do most comedians (live up to his name).  He’s got his stock phrase ‘which is good’, which is adequate.  His material inevitably concerns itself with the fact that he knows he’s not the one we really came to see, and thusly serves as a perfectly flimsy excuse for being knowingly second-rate.

After the break it’s Ed’s turn.  He’s more your laid back easygoing chap alone on a concert stage talking to an audience of hundreds like we were bantering at some party.  His bright wit (e.g. in response to gay-bashing Christians: ‘I’m offended on behalf of a god I don’t even believe in!’) counterpoises the more primal hilarious truths of our existence (e.g. his ‘impromptu’ lesson on male masturbation for women).  Suffice to say he delivers what we came for most satisfactorily.

The difference between generic and classic is well defined by the comparison of Paul Ego and Ed Byrne.  Both tell stories about their experiences, both expound their opinionated views – generally of the stuff they hate, and both turn their acts inside out with self-referential observations.  Both plunder the depths of age-old topics, between them covering accents, travel, culture, politics, music, pornography, religion, sport, parenting, relationships, and wankers who drive 4wds in the city.

In short, both are standup comedians in the traditional sense.  But where Byrne is effortlessly amusing, his audience ready and willing to laugh at him saying just about anything, Ego is less charismatic and as such is only as funny as his material.  He points out himself the advantage the Irish have over we dour kiwis with their charming accents and expressive personalities (some of his best bits).

Humour can be a powerful tool for learning indeed.  However, the only fundamental criterion for comedy is that it’s funny.  The simplest of the arts (and surely most lucrative, given the low overheads), standup comedy doesn’t really even need to be reviewed beyond a yay-or-nay, but it’s the price of my ticket to do so, so I hope the rest is forgiven.


nik smythe May 6th, 2007

yes indeed, i refer to the minimalism of standup and do not at all mean to imply that it's a walk in the park, nor that Ed Byrne is not entirely deserving of the tidy packet i daresay he is making. i've been encouraged to do standup myself before, but i'm far too intimidated at the thought. although i once wrote and performed a play about a comedian; it's alright if there's a character to hide behind. yes it is my job to examine what made it funny, which i'm happy to do. it seems unnecessary, but i'm aware there can be some use to it. i recall Edward de Bono's opening paragraph in his book I Am Right You Are Wrong to be something like 'humour is by far the most significant behaviour of the human brain'. i've been dying to stick that in to a comedy review somewhere, so ta.

John Smythe May 5th, 2007

Bang on, Jerome. Low overheads, yes; high risk amid totally terrifying vulnerability, absolutely. Many an accomplished actor, and even those used to group improv formats, will attest that solo standup leaves you the most exposed. The skill is not to be taken for granted. As for the critic's role being to understand why something is funny, fair enough, but heaven forbid we should get into explaining the jokes!

Jerome Chandrahasen May 5th, 2007

It seems what you are referring to in your last paragraph is the difference between an appreciation of humour, as in finding something funny, and having a sense of humour as in understanding why it was funny. I believe that the role of comedy reviewer is the latter. Bryne probably gives the appearance of being effortlessly amusing, however the reality would be quite different. I hope the reference to stand up being the 'simplest' of the the arts was in regards to one man and a mic. If not, go watch a Stewart Lee dvd.

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