Ed Byrne (comedian)

Edward Cathal Byrne[1] (born 16 April 1972)[2] is an Irish actor and stand-up comedian. He has presented the British television shows Just for Laughs and Uncut! Best Unseen Ads, has been a guest on numerous television panel games and has appeared on a number of television cooking shows.

Ed Byrne
Birth nameEdward Cathal Byrne
Born (1972-04-16) 16 April 1972 (age 49)
Swords, County Dublin, Ireland
MediumActor, comedian
Years active1993–present
GenresObservational comedy, social satire
SpouseClaire Walker (m. 2008)
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life

Byrne was born on 16 April 1972 in Swords, County Dublin, Ireland, to Jill and Eddie Byrne, the third of four children.[citation needed]


Stand-up comedy

Deciding to study horticulture at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, 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 eight 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 66 episodes as of January 2021.

Television work

Byrne's earliest TV appearances included 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 also appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank,[6] 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.[7]

Byrne featured in a series of comedy shorts on the MSN Video Channel[8] 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).[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] Dara and Ed's Great Big Adventure, a 2015 three-part fly-on-the-wall television series, followed Byrne and Dara Ó Briain (fellow Irish comedian and best friend) in their journey by car down the Pan-American Highway.[12]

In January 2013 Byrne was a contestant on episode 4 of BBC's The Great Comic Relief Bake Off and won the Technical Challenge with his lemon meringue pie.[13] In January 2014 he hosted episode 4 of The Great Sport Relief Bake Off on BBC Two.[14]

In January and February 2021 he was a contestant on BBC's Celebrity Best Home Cook.[15][16] Describing his signature dish, smoked pork ribs, Byrne said, "I cover them in a dry rub that I've been perfecting by trial and error for years, then shove them in a barrel smoker for about 10 hours, spraying them with apple juice and cider to keep them moist."[17] Byrne was described as "a reasonably strong participant" and was named as one of the judges favourites in episode two.[18] He was eliminated, along with Karim Zeroual, in episode five, on 8 February.[19][20]


Byrne played the title character in the 2000 ITV adaptation of the pantomime Aladdin and 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.[21]

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.[22]


Year Title Notes
1996 A Stand Up in the Making First one man Fringe show
1997 Psychobabble
1998 A Night at the Opera
1999-2000 On the Road
2004-2005 Me Again
2006-2007 Standing Up, Falling Down Biggest-selling comedy show at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Released on DVD as Pedantic and Whimsical
2008-2009 Different Class
2010 Warming Up in the Cold
2011-2012 Crowd Pleaser
2013-2014 Roaring Forties
2015-2016 Outside, Looking In
2017-2019 Spoiler Alert
2019- If I'm Honest...

Personal life

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.[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]

Byrne is an atheist and a patron of Humanists UK.[26]

Stand-up DVDs

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

Online stand-up shows

Title Released Platform
Different Class 2009 • Amazon Prime Video

• Next Up Comedy

Crowd Pleaser 2011 • Amazon Prime Video

• Next Up Comedy

Roaring Forties 2014 • Amazon Prime Video

• Next Up Comedy

Outside, Looking In 2016 • Amazon Prime Video

• Next Up Comedy

Spoiler Alert 2019 BBC iPlayer

Ed Venturing

Episode Location Platform
1. Rhod Gilbert in Pembrokeshire Mynydd Carningli Episode 1 on YouTube
2. Stuart Maconie in the Lake District High Pike and Carrock Episode 2 on YouTube[27]
3. Desiree Burch in the South Downs Bow Hill Episode 3 on YouTube
4. Hal Cruttenden in the Peak District Win Hill Episode 4 on YouTube



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Rat Rudolph
2005 Zemanovaload John Davies
2006 Are You Ready For Love? Luke Dyson
2010 Round Ireland with a Fridge Dylan Daley
2021 Creation Stories Alastair Campbell Sky Original movie


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Father Ted Teenager Episode: "A Christmassy Ted"
2000 Aladdin Aladdin Television Pantomime
2001 The Cassidys Barry Cassidy 6 episodes
2001 Sam's Game Alex 6 episodes
2004 Doctors Micky Moran 1 episode
2006–present Mock The Week Himself 66 episodes
2009-2018 Live at the Apollo Himself/Host 4 episodes
2010 Reunited Rob Pilot
2010 The Adventures of Daniel Xantar
2012 World's Most Dangerous Roads Himself 1 episode
2013 The Great Comic Relief Bake Off Contestant Episode 1.4
2013-2019 Celebrity Chase Himself 3 episodes
2014 Would I Lie to You? Guest Episode 8.4
2014 The Great Sport Relief Bake Off Host Episode 3.3
2015 Dara and Ed's Great Big Adventure Himself 3 episodes
2015 Duck Quacks Don't Echo Guest Episode 3.6
2015 The Great Comic Relief Bake Off Host Episode 2.4
2016 Into the Wild with Gordon Buchanan Himself 1 episode
2016 Dara Ó Briain's Go 8 Bit Contestant 1 episode
2017 Dara and Ed's Road to Mandalay Himself 3 episodes
2017 Life of a Mountain: A Year on Blencathra Himself 1 episode
2018 Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago Himself 3 episodes
2018 Top Gear Guest 1 episode
2019 QI Himself 1 episode
2019 Real Life Superheroes - Our Lives Himself 1 episode
2019 Al Murray's Great British Pub Quiz Team Captain 10 episodes
2021 Celebrity Best Home Cook Contestant 6 episodes

Radio shows

Year Title Role Notes
2018 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase Hillman Hunter 4 episodes
2019 Puckoon Dan Milligan 1 episode


  • 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


  1. "2013 #22: Ed Byrne, Bridget Christie and Luke Wright - Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast". British Comedy Guide. 23 August 2012. Event occurs at 58:05. Retrieved 12 January 2014. That is false. My middle name is Cathal
  2. "Ed Byrne". IMDb. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  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". Spoonfed.co.uk. 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. Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 3 June 2001. ITV.
  7. "See Ed on The Graham Norton Show, Monday December 14th". edbyrne.biz. 11 December 2009. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010.
  8. "Ed Byrne". MSN. 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2007.
  9. "Three Men Go To Scotland". AvalonUK.com. Archived from the original on 17 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  10. "Bristol scientists feature on BBC Two's Volcano Live". University of Bristol. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  11. "The Chase". UK Game Shows. 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  12. "Dara and Ed's Great Big Adventure". BBC Two. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  13. "The Great British Bake Off". bbc.co.uk. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  14. "The Great Sport Relief Bake Off". bbc.co.uk. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  15. "Ed Byrne on BBC's Celebrity Best Home Cook 2021". Ed Byrne. 2009–2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  16. "Celebrity Best Home Cook: Ed Byrne". bbc.co.uk. 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  17. Dessau, Bruce (19 January 2021). "Interview: Ed Byrne On Celebrity Best Home Cook". Beyond The Joke. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  18. "Who left Celebrity Best Home Cook and when is the final?". Twisted Food. 11 February 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  19. Darvill, Josh (17 February 2021). "Celebrity Best Home Cook 2021 contestants and results". TellyMix. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  20. "Celebrity Best Home Cook - Series 1: Episode 5". www.bbc.co.uk. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
  21. "Award Winners, Angel Film Awards 2006". Monaco International Film Festival. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  22. "Ed Byrne: I sat on my own testicle the other day – it was excruciating". Metro News. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  23. "Fullmooners - Edinburgh Fringe 2013". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  24. Byrne, Ed [@MrEdByrne] (3 March 2013). "Despite what it says in The Observer..." (Tweet). Retrieved 25 March 2015 via Twitter.
  25. 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.
  26. "Ed Byrne joins the Census Campaign". Retrieved 12 January 2014 via YouTube.
  27. "Podcasts".