Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Outside Looking In

The New Zealand comedy festival didn’t officially start until 29th April. However, some acts are here as part of it and have scheduled their runs to coincide at least in part, with the comedy festival. One such act is Ed Byrne, here to perform his Outside Looking In tour.

Autumn has definitely arrived in Wellington now, and it was a windy and damp evening as we trotted along to Wellington’s second-best seafood restaurant, Shed 5. Whether it is first, second or third best depends really on how you rank Whitebait and Ortega, but this is where I put it. Second-best in Wellington is still pretty good, however. We had scallops and calamari to start with, followed by the risotto and snapper. All dishes cooked excellently, and we had neither the time nor the inclination to stay for a pudding before heading off to the Opera House for a 7:30pm start.

We were there in plenty of time…and yet the doors weren’t open. What was going on? No explanation from Opera House staff was forthcoming, as they opened the doors with about 5 minutes to spare. We took our seats, and then waited, and waited. Finally, at around 7:45, Ed Byrne came on stage, and apologised for keeping us waiting. Apparently his flight had got all the way to Wellington before the driver decided that the weather was too dodgy to land, and so…flew back to Auckland. After a wait for another flight, he finally made it on the second go round at a landing, and hared it over to the Opera House. I’m assuming he probably stopped for a breather before coming on stage. Anyway, that’s the story he told us, and I have no reason to suspect that he’s lying.

He then gave us the rest of his show. Observations on his life, really, in the way that comedians do, with quite a long section on diarrhoea, and things that people had said that made them too stupid to stay in a relationship with. “Clear left” is the one that sticks out in my mind. Also obligatory is the comedic gold provided by children, six and four (“we’re not big on names in the Byrne household”). He also gave us a long and involved story about a corporate gig he once did, where he walked off “to the sound of my own feet”. Feet were also the subject of the finale of the show, which revolved around his son’s choice of trainers and the imposition of another parent’s values at kindergarten, and how that was resolved.

The show doesn’t have the theme or structure of an Izzard or a Bailey show. It was funny, but you have to strain to remember why, exactly. Although I laughed like a drain, it’s not quotably funny.

It also wasn’t hugely long, with no encore, so we were out and home by around ten. I switched on the telly to watch Seven Days on +1, and saw…Ed Byrne on the panel. This was followed by First Laughs, hosted by Urzila Carlson, and featuring…Ed Byrne. Fortunately, not doing a routine from the show, so a little extra bonus there.

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