My Secret Life: Jason Byrne, 40, comedian

'My secret crush? Clooney in drag'

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The Independent Online

My parents were... My mum is basically the mother out of Strictly Ballroom – an ex-professional, always has her hair done and smiles sideways at people. My dad is a stereotypical Irish dad, full of bad advice and misery.

The household I grew up in... I had a great time as a kid. In the Eighties you were all raised out on the street – we were on a big housing estate, out all the time.

When I was a child I wanted to be... a singer or in a band.

If I could change one thing about myself... My eyes – they're like pissholes.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... I did competitive running for years. Also, I'm very good at electrical work because that was by job before this. I would know how to wire a generator.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... I can't cook. When I present a dish to my wife it looks like it's tried to kill itself.

At night I dream of... I've been stabbed, shot in the stomach... I'm a Pisces, and Pisces have nut-job dreams. Terrifying.

I wish I had never worn... My wedding suit was a fucking disgrace. It hung off me like I was a coat hanger – my wife looked gorgeous and I looked awful.

My favourite item of clothing... My skinny jeans. Even if you don't exercise, ever, people say "You. Look. Amazing".

It's not fashionable but I like... I wear fleecy Marks & Spencer pyjamas in bed. I'm just like a really young granddad.

I drive... a Range Rover, which is very soon to be changed because they basically guzzle diesel like you've never seen.

A book that changed me... I never read. No books have had an influence on me.

Movie heaven... Aliens, Blade Runner, Star Wars – anything sci-fi from that era.

My greatest regret... I don't really have any; you have to keep pressing forward.

My secret crush... George Clooney in drag.

My real-life villain... My maths teacher at school. She was a nun and shit at her job. She can stick it up her fucking habit.

The person who really makes me laugh... our five-year-old. My wife wouldn't make him toast and he called her a dirty old granny – it was hilarious.

The last time I cried... When my son was born and, typical for me, it was "Oh, thank fuck that's over" – there's nothing more horrific than a woman giving birth. The woman's in the moment but you just stand there and think "She's going to die".

My five-year plan... I'm working on a sitcom for the BBC and a TV show in a Australia, too. But you're in the lap of the gods in this business.

My life in six words... Manic, worry, hope, children, homelife, travelling.


Jason Byrne was born in Ireland in 1972. In 1996, he won the So You Think You're Funny? competition at the Edinburgh festival; he was nominated for the Perrier in 1998 and 2001, and is now the festival's biggest-selling comedian. His TV credits include Live at the Apollo and Channel 4's Comedy Gala, and his Radio 2 show won a Sony Gold Award for Best Comedy in 2011. Byrne is at Edinburgh, 1 to 12 August, and tours from 6 September. His DVD Cirque du Byrne is out 19 November. He lives near Dublin with his family