My secret life: Ed Byrne, comedian, 36

The home I grew up in...was a semi-detached house in a town called Swords, North County Dublin.

When I was a child I wanted to be...Luke Skywalker. When it became apparent that that was impossible I wanted to be an actor playing a character in 'Star Wars'. Any character as long as I got to meet Han Solo.

The moment that changed me for ever...was the simple act of leaving Ireland at 18 to go to college. It was amazing opportunity to reinvent myself.

My greatest inspiration...early on, it was listening to my brother's Billy Connolly album.

If I could change one thing about myself...I'd be more organised and motivated. There's so much I should be doing with my spare time instead of sitting in front of the TV.

What I see when I look in the that I'm getting older by the day. I've started doing that thing that people do when they check the elasticity of the skin under their jaw. And then sighing.

My style icon...I don't really have one any more. It used to be Prince. I still blame him for a phase I went through of wearing purple velvet suits. Nowadays, if I want to be smart, I just wear whatever Ozwald Boateng is knocking out.

The person who really makes me a comedian called Ben Norris. I have sat with the finest comics working today and we've all been helpless with laughter while Ben sits talking for up to three hours at a time. Truly a sight to behold.

A book that changed me...'The Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes' by Neil Gaiman. Nothing rivals the ability that Neil Gaiman has to transport you to another place.

My favourite work of art... the sculpture that used to be in Dublin Airport. It was like a cross between a pig and an armadillo and was made out of bits of shoe leather.

My favourite item of a brown Paul Smith leather jacket that I left on a train into King's Cross on Friday. At the moment I'm waiting for lost property to let me know whether or not it's been handed in.

It's not fashionable but I like...jeans to be exactly the right length, so you're not stepping on the end of them all the time. Particularly when it's wet out. Over-long jeans soak up water like a sponge.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at...walking up mountains. Maybe not VERY good but pretty good. You would probably get tired before me.

You may not know it but I'm no good at...any team sport. Don't ask me to play football with you. I had all the joy of sport thoroughly driven from me at school.

All my money goes Not just tax but interest and surcharges levied on the late payment of those taxes due to my almost pathological refusal to be more organised.

If I have time to myself...I watch TV. TV sucks the time out of my day. If I have enough time to myself I go hill walking in Scotland.

My house is...detached, with five bedrooms and a massive garden. I can afford this by moving 90 minutes outside London.

My most valuable possession is...the guitar I bought at auction. Prince played it on his 'Purple Rain' tour. It's a purple Telecaster copy with white flowers on it.

My favourite building...apart from my own house, it's the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand. It inspired a very funny bit of material that stood me in good stead for some time and I have some great memories of being on its observation deck.

Movie heaven...David Lynch's 'The Straight Story'. I'm not a big fan of Lynch, but when he decides to tell a tale with a cohesive narrative, he does so with incredible sensitivity.

The best invention ever...Alka Seltzer.

The last album I bought/downloaded...'The Red Album' by Weezer. Very good indeed. I suggest you buy the "deluxe edition" which has extra tracks on it that are better than the rest of the album.

In 10 years' time, I hope semi-retired. Maybe living in New Zealand, learning to fly single-engine planes.

My greatest that I have no regrets. Wait – that's one regret. Fantastic! But hang on – I think that has cancelled itself out now. So now I have no regrets again.

My life in seven words...More than my fair share of fun.

A life in brief

Born in Dublin in April 1972, Ed Byrne is a Perrier Award-nominated stand-up comedian. Following six sell-out shows at this summer's Edinburgh Festival, Byrne is currently on his fourth national tour. He lives on the Hertfordshire/Essex border with his wife, Claire. He will be appearing tonight at the Corn Exchange, Brighton. For more tour details, visit

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments