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Ed Byrne to cast a fatherly eye on parenting

Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne

Renowned observational comic Ed Byrne has hit the road again for the second leg of his UK tour — and is asking if both adults and children need to be spoiled a little more.

Ed, whose show Spoiler Alert was an Edinburgh Fringe sell-out, will be at the Palace Theatre, Newark, on Tuesday.

The Irish comedian said parents spoiled their children rotten, whether it was to do with the ever-increasing size of garden trampolines, or his own children’s demands for elderflower cordial.

“My dad was not a bad dad, he was just a 1970s dad,” Ed said.

“I have already done more parenting than he did in my entire life.

“I made a conscious decision that I was going to be an awesome dad.

“My wife will come back with tales from her friends of how awful their husbands are and she will see me smiling and say ‘all right, stop congratulating yourself just because such and such can’t be left alone with their children for two minutes.”

In the show, Ed compares and contrasts the old-school child-rearing days with 21st Century methods and suggests there are different ways to learn how to be a mother or father.

“I grew up in what I would call an aspirational household, in that my parents bettered themselves over the course of my childhood,” he said.

“My mother was a radiographer and ended up a lecturer in radiography, while my father was a sheet-metal worker and went up to a supervisory role.

“I would still say that you are expected to do a lot more parenting than our parents did.

“That is a weird thing because you tend to think that your parents are where you learned parenting from. But you don’t. Really it is more that you look around you to see what is going on with other parents.”

During the show Ed extends his analysis on the culture of entitlement to look at areas where people could perhaps do with being spoiled a little bit more.

“Where I think we are not acting spoiled enough is in the political arena,” he said.

“We have a tendency to accept what is happening and that is where we should be acting more entitled — we are literally entitled to the government we want.”

As well as stories about his two young sons, Ed weaves in routines about running out of petrol in the most awkward place imaginable, helping rescue an injured man in the Cairngorms, and the nation-dividing campaign and result of the EU referendum.

His way of tackling Brexit is to draw an analogy with the time his son was determined to touch an electric fence as his father tried to warn him of the dangers.

“I was telling the story of the electric fence for a while, and then suddenly it struck me that it was Brexit in microcosm,” he said.

“The Government told you not to do this and that it would be a terrible idea, but you said no we want to go and do it anyway.

“So now we are doing it and it is proving a terrible idea. It is a fair analogy, but no doubt for some it will come across as me being a typical liberal elite Remoaner.”

Spoiler Alert also continues a theme that Ed tackled in his previous shows — his gradual shift from being a working-class Dubliner to a fully paid-up, rural-residing member of the middle class.

Once he slated 4x4 owners, but now he is the proud owner of such a vehicle.

In the poster for his tour, Ed brandishes a chainsaw.

“It is one of two I own,” he said. “I use it for firewood.”

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