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Edward Cathal Byrne[1] (born 16 April 1972)[2] is an Irish stand-up comedian, voice over artist and actor. He has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a guest on television panel games. As an actor, he played the title character in the 2000 ITV adaptation of the pantomime Aladdin.

Ed Byrne
Birth nameEdward Cathal Byrne
Born (1972-04-16) 16 April 1972 (age 47)
Swords, Dublin, Ireland
MediumComedian, actor
Years active1995–present
GenresObservational comedy, social satire
SpouseClaire Walker (m. 2008)

Early lifeEdit

Byrne was born in Swords, Dublin, in Ireland, in 1972, to Jill and Eddie Byrne, the third of four children.[citation needed]


Stand-up comedyEdit

Deciding to study horticulture at the University of Strathclyde, he was made entertainments convener at the Students' Union in his second year of study. Byrne started a comedy night called The Comedy Cellar in the basement of the 13th Note public house on Glassford Street, Glasgow. On the first night, Byrne appeared on the roster alongside Armando Ianucci's brother David. Over the following few months, acts booked included Ford Kiernan, Phil Kay, Greg Hemphill, Alan Francis and Alan Tyler. After a few months he gave up studying and headed to London. He was later booked to appear at The Comedy Cellar by new convenors Ford Kiernan and J.P. Leach.[3]

After building up his act on observational comedy, Byrne was nominated for the prestigious Perrier Comedy Award at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In 2006 he toured the UK, recording a DVD in Leeds, entitled Pedantic and Whimsical, which was largely a "greatest hits" set of his material to date. He has also appeared in Father Ted, and performed voice-over work in the Carphone Warehouse adverts. In February 2007 Byrne appeared on a comedians' special edition of The Weakest Link. Byrne has performed seven sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and four sell-out UK tours. He has also developed huge success on the international circuit where he has performed to full capacity audiences in Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.[4]

He has since garnered a raft of major broadcast credits, including five U.S. appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC). In July 2007, Byrne made his début at the Newbury Comedy Festival, having participated in the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny shortly before. He recorded a live DVD Different Class at The King's Theatre, Glasgow, on 23 March 2009, which was released on 23 November of that year.

On 15 September 2010, Byrne, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[5]

Byrne frequently appears on BBC stand-up comedy programme Mock The Week as the most common guest panellist, having appeared on 54 episodes as of November 2018.

Byrne's tour ‘Spoiler Alert’ ran from September 2017 until June 2018. The tour made a three show reprise in Glasgow in July. Byrne will be taking the tour to the final stop of New Zealand in May 2019.

Byrne is taking his new show ‘If I'm Honest...’ to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2019, before touring it from September 2019 until mid 2020. [6]

Television workEdit

One of Byrne's first TV appearances was on the ITV shows The Big Big Talent Show and Blind Date. He also appeared in Father Ted as a teenager mocking Father Ted and two other priests on a phone chat line, in the episode "A Christmassy Ted". Byrne has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a regular guest on The Panel, HeadJam, Mock the Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He has appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank,[7] Have I Got News for You, The Bubble, The Unbelievable Truth, Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment and We Need Answers. He has also appeared on The Graham Norton Show six times.[8]

Byrne featured in a series of comedy shorts on the MSN Video Channel[9] in which he discusses some of his pet hates, including occasional smokers and his girlfriend's snoring. Byrne appeared in the second part of the BBC2 programme Three Men Go to Scotland on 30 December 2010 whilst hitching a ride in order to reach the Cuillin mountains on Skye for his Munro bagging attempt - climbing every mountain in Scotland over 3,000 feet (910 m).[10] On 31 March 2012, Byrne appeared on All Star Family Fortunes.

On 5 July 2012, Byrne appeared as a guest on The One Show. Byrne presented segments during Volcano Live from 9 to 12 July.[11] He appeared on a celebrity version of The Chase on 30 November 2013, where he successfully brought £117,000 through, a record for the programme.[12] Dara and Ed's Great Big Adventure, a 2015 three-part fly-on-the-wall television series, followed Byrne and Dara Ó Briain (friend and fellow Irish comedian) in their journey by car down the Pan-American Highway.[13]


Byrne had a small part in the 2000 comedy film Rat. In 2001 Byrne was the main character in an RTÉ-produced sitcom entitled The Cassidys. It was cancelled after one series.

In 2005 he starred in the film, Zemanovaload [cs]. The film is about John Davies (played by Byrne) who suffers from multiple obsessive compulsive disorders. When his current model girlfriend leaves him, he decides to replace her with the most attractive woman on the planet, Czech model Veronika Zemanová [fr]. The film follows his attempts to curb his old obsessions in order to meet his latest obsession – Veronika.

Byrne played the part of Luke Dyson in a comedy film set in London called Are You Ready For Love for which he won an Angel award at the Monaco Film Festival as best supporting actor.[14]

Byrne plays the part of Irish radio presenter Dylan Dale in the British feature film version of Tony Hawks' book Round Ireland with a Fridge which was released in September 2010 and on DVD on 8 November 2010.

In 2010, Byrne played Rob in the BBC television pilot Reunited.


Since 2011, Byrne has written a column for the hillwalking magazine TGO in which he tries a different outdoor activity each month in the company of an expert. He also had a column in the Metro newspaper until January 2012.[15]


In March 2013, Byrne hosted the 18th Empire Awards in London.[16] In June 2013 Byrne appeared in an advert for Tesco Mobile. Byrne made an appearance on the BBC programme Saturday Kitchen. A feature of the show is the guest chooses two foods for Heaven & Hell, and Byrne was given his food heaven choice of Sticky Ribs.

Byrne has appeared twice on Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, once in 2013 and again in 2017.[17]

Personal lifeEdit

Byrne believes his older brother Stephen was the funniest member of the family as a child. His younger brother Paul is a comedy director and has long been a fixture at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.[18] He also has an older sister, Trish.

Byrne married theatre publicist Claire Walker in 2008. The couple live in Essex and have two sons, the elder called Cosmo and the younger named Magnus.[19] Fellow comic Dara Ó Briain was best man at his wedding, returning the favour after Byrne was previously Ó Briain's best man in 2006.[20]

Byrne is an atheist and a patron of Humanists UK.[21]


  • Sit-Down Comedy (contributor to anthology, eds. Malcolm Hardee & John Fleming) Ebury Press/Random House, 2003. ISBN 0-09-188924-3; ISBN 978-0-09-188924-1

Stand-up DVDsEdit

Title Released Notes
Pedantic and Whimsical 21 August 2006 Live at Leeds City Varieties
Different Class 23 November 2009 Live at Glasgow King's Theatre
Crowd Pleaser 28 November 2011 Live at Newcastle City Hall


  1. ^ "2013 #22: Ed Byrne, Bridget Christie and Luke Wright - Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast". British Comedy Guide. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ McIver, Brian (6 March 2011). "Smaller venues are much better for comedy - not massive arenas, says Irish comic Ed Byrne". Daily Record. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Ed Byrne". Archived from the original on 28 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian. London. 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 3 June 2001. ITV.
  8. ^ "See Ed on The Graham Norton Show, Monday December 14th". 11 December 2009. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010.
  9. ^ "Ed Byrne". MSN. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2007.
  10. ^ "Three Men Go To Scotland". Archived from the original on 17 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  11. ^ "Bristol scientists feature on BBC Two's Volcano Live". University of Bristol. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  12. ^ "The Chase". UK Game Shows. 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Dara and Ed's Great Big Adventure". BBC Two. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  14. ^ "Award Winners, Angel Film Awards 2006". Monaco International Film Festival. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Ed Byrne: I sat on my own testicle the other day – it was excruciating". Metro News. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Jameson empire awards 2013 live blog". 24 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  17. ^ Bruce, Dessau. "News: News Acts Announced For Richard Herring's Podcast Interviews". Beyond the Joke. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Fullmooners - Edinburgh Fringe 2013". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  19. ^ Byrne, Ed [@MrEdByrne] (3 March 2013). "Despite what it says in The Observer..." (Tweet). Retrieved 25 March 2015 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Leadbeater, Chris (7 May 2017). "Dara O'Briain and Ed Byrne head east on the Road to Mandalay". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Ed Byrne joins the Census Campaign". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2014.

External linksEdit