CREDO Ed Byrne talks to SF about the Glaswegian roots of his career and killing squirrels
Irish funny man Ed Byrne has Glasgow to thank for a career in comedy and a passion for haggis pakora
I was a bit of a swot at school.
It wasn’t until I went to university that my head was turned and I realised that academia was not for me. Being in Glasgow didn’t help.
I lived all over Glasgow when I was a student.
I studied horticulture at the University of Strathclyde. My garden is lovely, but that’s nothing to do with me.
I got started in comedy because a friend told me I was funny.
I was working in the student union at Strathclyde Uni and my friend Chris wrote down some things I’d said in meetings. He told me he thought I should be a comedian.
At the time there wasn’t anywhere to play in Glasgow, so I opened my own comedy club which ran for a few months on Glassford Street. I had Ford Kiernan and Greg Hempill play.
I’m worried that I’ve been dragged into a middle class life.
All my friends are middle-class and I feel deeply uncomfortable about the fact that I can’t remember the last time I went into a kitchen that didn’t have letters above the oven spelling out the word ‘cook’. What has happened to the middle-classes, why do they need instructions on how to use every room? We rented a cottage in Cornwall (because, again, I’m so middle-class these days) and in every room there were instructions on the wall; love in the bedroom, relax in the living room and bake in the kitchen. I wanted to buy letters and put the word ‘shit’ above the loo.
I like a bit of haggis.
Especially the haggis pakora that you can only find in certain areas of Glasgow. It’s not the weirdest thing I’ve eaten. I once ate horse in Russia. I know most of us have probably eaten horse without knowing it, but when it’s served rare and cold chowing down on a horse is a bit weird.
I’m into the outdoors and hill walk to relax.
I’ve bagged 105 Munros so far and plan to do them all. I lost my glasses up the last one, so if anyone finds a pair of Emporio Armani glasses in a ravine then they’re mine. I’ve also started doing a bit of woodwork. I’ve been in the process of building a treehouse for my children for quite some time. It’s very high, so it gives you the willies when you go up. I’ve already stranded myself up there when a branch knocked over my ladder.
My guilty pleasure is eating squirrels.
I know that when people tell you their guilty pleasures they’re not usually really that bad, but I once killed a grey squirrel that was on my bird feeder then I cooked it and ate it. My wife was horrified, but I used a recipe from a book that she had bought me.
I have a cat called Shadwell.
He’s proof that we are nicer to animals than to people. We found him looking hungry by our bin, so he came to live with us. That was nine years ago. You would never do that for a person, would you?
My greatest achievement was pursuing a career in comedy.
I just upped and went to London. I didn’t know anyone and I signed on the dole and played for free for a year before I could make a living out of it. I look back and think that I must have had real balls, I can’t believe I did it. I would never do it now, that’s the arrogance of youth.
Ed will play the Big Burns Supper in Dumfries on 1 February 2019. bigburnssupper.com
‘My guilty pleasure is eating squirrels’