Train of thought: Jason Byrne
You might envy comedian Jason Byrne when he’s off on a three-month jaunt around the country with one of his ever-popular shows. But the excitable Irishman says that he rarely gets time to enjoy the many wonderful cities he stays in.
‘The thing I don’t like about it [touring] is that I’m in a different town every night,’ he explains. ‘I don’t really get to see anything, and that’s a real bummer because a lot of the places are lovely and I’d really like to see more of them.’
Despite only fleeting visits, one city in particular has made a lasting impression on the ever-manic funnyman. ‘Bristol’s a great place,’ he says, ‘and because I love old-school things, I love that big bridge made by that engineer – you know, Isambard Bungle-what’s-his-name.’
Isambard Kingdom Brunel?
‘Yeah, Brunel! I’ve been back and forth to Bristol loads of times on tour and that valley with the bridge is brilliant.’
“In Edinburgh, I got a guy up on stage… the audience all recognised him and were shouting, 'That’s Chris Hoy, that’s Chris Hoy!' but I didn’t know who that was at the time and I asked him to prove it. So, he drops his trousers to show us these mountains for legs!"
It’s no wonder he likes bridges so much – his shows incorporate extensive amounts of audience participation, literally bridging the gap between viewer and performer. ‘I get people up on stage and, you know, use them,’ he says.
Jason is always convincing participants to do weird things with him on stage, goading and teasing them as he goes. One interaction in particular stands out in his memory.
‘In Edinburgh, I got a guy up on stage and asked his name, but before he could answer the audience all recognised him and were shouting, “That’s Chris Hoy, that’s Chris Hoy!” – the Olympic Gold Medal-winning cyclist – But I didn’t know who that was at the time and I asked him to prove it. So, he drops his trousers to show us these mountains for legs!'
‘I’m sure I could write a book about all the people I’ve had on stage,’ he adds after a fit of laughter.
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