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“It’s to do with the Edinburgh Fringe,” he explains. “You’ve got to come up with a name in February for a show you’re doing in August. For Melbourne you’ve got to come up with a name in November for a show you’re doing in April. I don’t know what to call a show that early, I don’t even know what it’s going to be about.” It’s Byrne’s own money he’s putting up. “I’ve got to make it a bit generous,” he says. “It’s for a bit of fun. I make enough money out of this city. I’d rather give it to the punter than give it to the tax man. I’ll never get it anyway.”

Byrne is shopping alone in Coles when Beat talks to him. He’s clearly pleased by simple things. “I’m so happy – I’ve got four apples and four tomatoes. If my wife was here she’d take them out and get different types of apples and different kinds of tomatoes.”

He compares himself to the doddery old man Tweed in the film Nebraska. “The whole time I was watching that film I was thinking, ‘Geeez, he’s very like me’,” Byrnes says, “while my wife is just tormented by my bullshit.” Byrnes gets it from his dad. “My father announces stuff in our home,” says Byrne. “We’re at a family dinner, with my whole family, and he stands up and tells us that he won’t be able to eat in other people’s homes anymore. He says, ‘I feel forced to swallow in other people’s houses in a certain way. I like to swallow in my own way in my own home.’ He’s 74,” adds Byrnes. “I’m looking forward to being that old. To saying what I want, saying little weird bits of shit. My dad’s a professional at it.”

Byrnes can hardly be accused of holding back now. Spare us. Does he think he’s mellowed since he was last here? “I don’t jump around as much on stage,” he says. “I’m 42 now. People look at me and think, ‘ah, it’s best he takes it easy’. Here’s a fun fact,” he continues. “When I’m here I like to stay in Elwood. We’ve just bought a house in Ireland and we’re going to call it Elwood House.” Byrne is huge in Ireland; he’s hosted his own talk show on TV and now writes and stars in his own sitcom. Does he ever get tired of being famous? “It’s not like being a rock star,” he says. “Musos get grabbed, jumped on and hassled. People treat comedians differently; they think they know you, like you’re a cousin. They go by and say ‘you alright, Jason?’”

What do his kids think of him? “I’ve got a seven year old, he knows I do shows but I never let him see me do stand-up.” Ah, no. “My 14 says ‘you’re not funny, dad’”. What advice would Byrne give an aspiring comic? “It’s people you want to make laugh, not other comedians. It’s a job. You’re there to make the audience laugh. It’s not for you.” Added to that he reckons Dave Hughes is the go-to guy for good advice. “He’s an old hack. You’ll get great advice from him.”

What does Byrne think makes him funny? “I have no idea how my brain kicks in, it just does. I mainly write on stage, I have big ideas and expand them on stage, I speed through things, see it unfolding in front of me. If I knew how I write on stage, I’d be a very, very rich man.”