REVIEW: Jason Byrne at The Lowry

[First published on Quays News]

LAST night (23rd), Dublin born comedian Jason Byrne performed his brand new show, ‘Propped Up.’ He has a knack for combining the silly with the even sillier, and his show was set to demonstrate this talent on a new level. Quays News entertainment reporter, Rae Coppola went along to give her thoughts.

Audience participation was at the forefront of Byrne’s performance, with the first half of the show essentially being an improvised response to the numerous hecklers. The blunt Dubliner remained un-phased and had an answer to everything, even if he had to open a Deal or No Deal style box or pick out some Countdown inspired letters to get his one swear word insult across.

The hecklers were unforgiving and continued throughout the show, even shouting out weird or unrelated things. However, he laughed it all off in good humour, and commented that the Salford audience were, “Special,” and only ever allowed to attend his shows on the basis that they could create chaos and it be completely acceptable.

The second half of the show seemed more structured, with fragments of comic material silencing the hecklers for short periods of time, and earning him lots of chuckles. Naturally, the comedian still relied heavily on it and made sure to comment on every shout out so that no one felt left out. He made good use of facial expressions, gestures and of course props, to get the laughs.

He made sure to engage the sold-out audience, tailoring his content to appeal to all. Although some of his content was explicit, he was instantly forgiven by the parents in the room who knew exactly what would be in store for the evening. He talked about mothers-in-law for the married couples and sex, which he claimed was for those who were not. He also stretched to discuss iPhone’s and Snapchat for the younger generation, and the 80s for their elders.

Byrne took the audience back in time to relive his childhood and the magical healing powers of flat lemonade and Andrew’s Liver Salts. He listed off popular culture from his teenage years, and spoke to a few of the younger members of the crowd whom did not even remember Blockbusters. One in particular was applauded for having a girlfriend at fifteen, before Byrne made a reference about his experiences with The Family Album, forgetting to clarify that it was a catalogue.


A sketch about Chris Martin came to mind after the red-head mentioned his time on The Graham Norton Show with Gwyneth Paltrow. He expressed his views on her and feigned surprise at the positive change in Coldplay’s lyrics once the couple had split up. The material in itself earned a few laughs, but what came after was what made it the highlight of the show.

Ever an advocator of crowd participation, Byrne pulled a man onto the stage with him to re-enact Chris Martin’s happy and sad spirits, during each song, through the medium of dance. He made fun of the man, named Johnny, for not dancing well enough or getting down on the floor quickly for the sad scenes. This quickly backfired, as Johnny mentioned that he only has one leg. The good sport continued regardless, but the awkward nature of the misunderstanding was hilarious and many of the audience were tearing up at the thought.

He got lots of people up on stage, and the props the audience were promised showed their faces, while covering other people’s, in the form of masks. Jason Byrne choreographed a ridiculously silly ‘horse’ and rider simulation with two ‘volunteers,’ which was impossible not to laugh at, especially when he pretended to ride one and broke their belt. However, in the spirit of comedy, a generous woman from the crowd donated her own decorative one and peace ensued.

Jason Byrne is the definition of feel good comedy. It is energetic, silly and best of all, contagious. At one point the audience were even laughing at another person’s laugh, which only made them laugh more.

It was a great show to experience live and a real credit to his highly acclaimed self.

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