Ed Byrne says he’s a miserable old git. He didn’t celebrate his 40th birthday last year and his new show, Roaring Forties, is partly about the many things in life that annoy him.
But in the flesh he’s smart and funny, and as for being a party pooper... well, not really – he’s planning a celebration in November when his tour reaches Glasgow, the city where his career began 20 years ago after he had studied horticulture at the University of Strathclyde.
The Irish observational comic, who grew up in Swords in Dublin, started re-evaluating his life after that landmark birthday, as you do, and it gave him the idea for Roaring Forties, which is his trademark mix of one-liners and extended anecdotes, and covers a range of subjects from fatherhood and friendships to vasectomies and driving awareness courses.
Roaring Forties arrives at Buxton Opera House on Sunday, at 7.30pm.
“It’s about getting older,” Byrne says.
“It’s about being at an age where you’re not really that old but no one thinks you’re trendy anymore.”
Byrne has embraced middle age and reached the conclusion that on the whole people annoy him.
“It’s like a spring-clean of my life,” he says, “and I’ve come up with reasons why you can’t be my friend.
“There are seven billion people on the planet and I only have the time to be friends with ten of them and so I have to choose carefully.”
What are his rules? “It’s the little things that annoy me,” he says.
Such as... “People who don’t indicate on roundabouts, people who uses the phrase, ‘Touched a nerve there’, or ‘I’m just making conversation’...” The list runs on.
As he is about to mark 20 years in the business, has he noticed any differences in his performances over that time?
“One thing that has changed is that I now don’t pretend to think something for the sake of a joke,” Byrne explains.
“I mean there’s always comic exaggeration and embroidering a story to make it funnier, but it’s more true to my life now.
“I used to say I hated kids, for example, and it wasn’t true – I’ve always loved kids and wanted to have them, but that wouldn’t have fitted with the style of comic I was earlier in my career.
“I think being truthful makes it more chancy, but if I take an opinion and try to find a way to make it funny – even if people don’t agree with me - I think it pays off because audiences know what’s authentic.”
Tickets, priced £23.50, are available on 0845 127 2190 or visit www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.