SPOILT kids and parenting skills can be touchy subjects for anyone – but Irish comic Ed Byrne will be fearless in his approach on his current UK tour.
The star of Mock The Week (among many other TV shows) insists that the current breed of parents spoil their kids rotten, whether it’s to do with the ever-increasing size of garden trampolines, or his own kids’ demand for elderflower cordial.
“My dad wasn’t a bad dad, he was just a 1970s dad,” explains Ed. “I could never see my children ever again from this moment on, and I’ve already done more parenting then he did in my entire life.
“But, of course, I made a conscious decision that I was going to be an awesome dad. My wife will come back with tales from her friends of how awful their husbands are and she’ll see me smiling and say ‘alright, stop congratulating yourself just because such and such can’t be left alone with their children for two minutes’.”
Ed compares and contrasts the old-school child-rearing days with 21st century methods in his latest show, Spoiler Alert, and suggests that there are different ways to learn how to be a mum or dad.
“I grew up in what I would call an aspirational household in that my parents bettered themselves over the course of my childhood,” he says. “My mother was a radiographer and ended up a lecturer in radiography, while my dad was a sheet metal worker and went up to a supervisory role.
“I’d still say that you are expected to do a lot more parenting than our parents did and that’s a weird thing because you tend to think that your parents are where you learned parenting from. But you don’t, really, it’s more that you look around you to see what’s going on with other parents.”
Ed extends his analysis on the culture of entitlement to look at areas where we could perhaps do with being spoiled a little bit more. “Where I think we’re not acting spoiled enough is in the political arena. We have a tendency to accept what’s happening and that’s where we should be acting more entitled – we are literally entitled to the government we want. We’re spoiled in all these little ways, but not spoiled enough.”
As well as stories about his two young sons, Ed weaves in routines about running out of petrol in the most awkward place imaginable, helping rescue an injured man in the Cairngorms, and the nation-dividing campaign and result of the EU referendum. His way of tackling Brexit is to draw an analogy with the time his son was determined to touch an electric fence even though he tried to warn him of the dangers.
“I was telling the story of the electric fence for a while, and then suddenly it struck me that it was Brexit in microcosm,” he says. “I don’t want to alienate half of the population or maybe a third of my audience, but it works as an analogy whichever side you’re on.
“The government told you not to do this and that it would be a terrible idea, but you said ‘No, we want to do it anyway’. So now we’re doing it and it’s proving a terrible idea. I do think it’s a fair analogy…”
Ed Byrne brings his Spoiler Alert show to Camberley Theatre on Monday (16 Oct), G Live in Guildford on Friday 24 November and the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, on Saturday 14 April, 2018.