It may be hard to believe, but Ed Byrne has recently notched up 20 years as a comic.
And his latest tour, of observational comedy - Outside, Looking In - comes to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre this weekend, covering subjects as wide ranging as a recent gastric illness to the success of UKIP, as well as his family, in what promises to be his most personal show yet.
“I didn’t make a conscious effort to write a more personal show, but that was what was coming out when I started writing it,” the Mock The Week star said. “People come to see me for a laugh and I would like to think they go away thinking the show is quite heartwarming.
“A lot of comics may talk about the same stuff, but what makes it mine is that what I’m saying is what I genuinely think on this subject, and I try to make it as funny as I can.
“I think we all mine our lives to some degree or other.”
While there is a lot of personal reflection in his new show, including ‘ahhhh’ inducing tales of shoe shopping with his children, Ed also ponders on matters political, feminism and transgenderism.
But is that risky territory?
“It has become such a big subject because of Caitlyn Jenner [the former athlete Bruce Jenner, who transitioned earlier this year] and some Twitter trolls were refusing to acknowledge her as anything but Bruce,” he said. “I thought it was interesting that it stills divides people. I call it the thorniest issue since Jesus was fitted for a hat.”
And at 43, does he still like touring after two decades: “Apart from the travel involved, which no comic likes, I love it, because you have people responding to something that you have written alone in your office, and the work comes alive in a room of people,” the Irishman explained.
“I like the television things I do, but nothing can beat a live comedy audience.”
In any spare time he has, Ed is a hill walker and the geeky side side of him has seen him use technology to collects ‘county tops’ - the highest point in the county: “I’ve downloaded an app for them,” he says with a laugh, “and have started making a list.”
* Ed Byrne, Outside, Looking In, Sunday, Grand Theatre, Blackpool. Call (01253) 290190 to book. Also at Lowther Pavilion, Friday, April 15, call (01253) 794221.