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Ed Byrne is personally one of my favourite stand up comedians currently on the circuit at the moment; he's made appearances on the Irish programme "The Panel", and BBC's "Mock the Week", "Have I Got News For You?" and most recently as headliner for a recording of "Live at the Apollo", and every time delivers a witty combination of dry observation, sarcastic quips and delightful pedantry that is very difficult not to find hilarious. Pedantic and Whimsical is his first DVD release that was underpublicised and as a result has not received the degree of exposure that other more recent stand ups have receieved, but nevertheless is a prime example of the range of topics that Ed covers, culminating in an encore of his most well known material - the pedantic take down of Alanis Morrissette's woefully un-ironic song "Ironic" that is hilarious every time you watch it. He's self deprecating, conversational, warm and funny and this results in a show that is a joy to watch and establishes Ed Byrne as a comedian that people should keep watching. He's destined for greater things yet.
Ed Byrne is an Irish, observational comedian who made his name off the back of his famous 'Ironic' routine, in which he completely tears about the Alanis Morrisette song of the same name, slating her use of the word 'ironic' when none of the scenarios described in the song as actually ironic. That routine earned him a place in comedy history. He's since become a regular feature on panel shows such as 'Mock The Week', '8 Out of 10 Cats' and the occasional appearance on 'Have I Got News For You'. He still tours the comedy scene with new material. 'Pedantic and Whimsical' is his first DVD release. Recorded in 2006 it is now over two years old, but it is still hilariously funny and remains one of his best full-length routines ever. The charm of Byrne has always been his relaxed, conversational, observational style. This DVD has this is spades. It is simply set up - just Byrne, a microphone, a table, a packet of cigarettes (which he smokes throughout) and a bottle of beer. It is more of a rehearsed routine than something based on questions and answers from the audience, but when a routine is this good, you don't mind that it's perhaps been rehearsed to death. Byrne manages to keep a lazy, relaxed style throughout and could almost convince you you're just having a chat with him in a pub. As for the material, it is nothing ground-breaking, nor is it particularly topical, so what is it? The answer is, quite simply, bloody funny. This is vintage Ed Byrne; he talks about things you find yourself screaming "I do that!" to and never understanding why you didn't notice it before. He takes simple life situations, flips them and makes you laugh. He is not afraid to mock himself and he is not a particularly cruel comedian. Apart from a liberal dose of swearing and occasional sex reference, you could almost call him a clean comedian. There is nothing hugely offensive and he has not tried to get cheap laughs off easy jibes at public figures - he has simply taken good, solid material that the audience can identify with and turned it into a routine. This is a journey through life through Ed Byrne's eyes, and what a fascinating outlook it is. The bad points of the DVD are simple: if, like me, you're a fan of Ed and watch him whenever he's on, some of these gags will feel very familiar. I have certainly heard sections of this DVD on 'Mock The Week' and occasionally in interviews. But that isn't a fault of the actual quality of the comedy - in fact, it's just confirmation that he's so good you'll seek him out. One thing I will mention is that I am not easily offended. There might be aspects of this DVD that others will find fault with, but then again you can find fault anywhere if you look hard enough. But the 15 rating is a good signal that while this may be risque, it never crosses the line. The encore is the Alanis Morrisette routine, which despite having heard a million times I still laughed like a drain at. Ed Byrne is a consummate performer, incredibly talented comedian and presents a refreshing way of looking at life. Oh, and he's hilariously funny, as well.
The stand up comedian's show from the City Varieties, Leeds in March 2006.