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Ed Byrne is one of Ireland’s most successful comedians at present, with his observational brand of humour taking the UK by storm. He is arguably just as successful overseas, having played to large audiences around the globe, including my home town of Melbourne during the International Comedy Festival in April.

I first came across Ed Byrne during a Comedy Festival Gala show way back in 1998, where he did a routine about Alanis Morrisette’s song Ironic pointing out that none of the lines in the song are actually ironic at all. It was one of the funniest routines I’ve ever seen (along with Matt King’s hilarious piece about wildlife) and from that moment on I took a keen interest whenever Ed Byrne was Down Under or on the box.

Ed Byrne: Pedantic & Whimsical
The Show
This show was filmed in Leeds early in 2005 and contains over 90 minutes of Byrne waxing lyrical about anything and everything in his own unique style. As with most stand-up comedians he isn’t everybody’s cup of tea (who is?), particularly if you’re not a fan of profanity and general dirtiness. But if you’re not a fan of either of those there’s a fair chance you’re not a fan of stand-up at all, because time after time the most effective stand-up comics throw at least a little bit of cussing at the audience just to keep them on their toes.

The first thing you’ll notice when Ed takes the stage is that he likes a bit of a drink and a smoke while performing, so that’s where his routine kicks off. I’m not going to spoil the fun for you all by going into detail, but from there he tackles subjects like U.S Landmarks, the laid-back nature of Australians, airport security, dentists (in particular those nasty dental hygienists), being a sissy who can’t fight so save his life and, of course, sex. Each topic is filled with some brilliant lines and laugh-out-loud moments, so the flow of the whole routine is helped by the fact there aren’t any flat spots to speak of.

Overall the show is a real success and, while one man’s comic genius is another man’s unfunny git, it’s safe to say Ed Byrne’s comic style should appeal to quite a large audience. His observations about day-to-day life as so spot on that you’d find it hard not to relate to something in his routine, which makes things even more enjoyable as you realize the absurdity of it all.

Ed Byrne: Pedantic & Whimsical
The 1.78:1 transfer is basically faultless, with the digital source providing a great base for the visuals on this DVD. There is very little to complain about with this release, save for a lack of real sharpness in the picture overall. The colours are vibrant (the red curtain against the blue suit of Byrne works a treat) and there are no imperfections from the source, so we can confidently give this one the thumbs up.

Very little to report here, with the Dolby 2.0 track doing a fine job of delivering all the lines without any problem.

It’s no uncommon for a stand-up disc to contain little else other than interactive menus and the feature itself, but for this disc a little effort has been put in to give fans a little added bonus.

First off, the actual menu system is quite fun, with Ed bopping away while he sits there and makes a few comments about what you’ve chosen. Leave the menu running for a while and he will continue to chat away, trying to prompt you into playing one of the menu items. When you select a particular item Ed will again chat away as you’re taken to where you want to go.

The first actual extra is an interview with Ed Byrne conducted by Dara O’Briain. The two of them play a drinking game where they take a sip of their beer whenever a major theme emerges (like using your family members for cheap laughs) or there’s a cut away to some hotties in the audience (and there are a fair few). This piece is quite funny in itself, so it’s well worth a look for those who were fans of the actual show.

Next up is a commentary track featuring Ed’s brother Paul and three other comedians who pretty much poke fun at Ed throughout the whole show. It sounds like they’ve been recorded in the back of a mini-van while they sink beer and generally goof off, laughing at their own jokes far more often than is normal. There is little value in this one unless you’re up for listening to a bunch of lads just muck around for an hour and a half.

Lastly, there is a collection of about eight or so photos from the show, which don’t add much value to the disc either.

Ed Byrne: Pedantic & Whimsical
Ed Byrne is definitely the kind of stand-up comedian I would recommend. The mixture of profanity, observational comedy and general whining about life blends perfectly into this show, so there is no hesitation in giving it a big tick of approval. The disc itself is served well by a decent transfer and serviceable soundtrack, while the extras section contains a worthwhile interview piece among a couple of bits of junk. Fans of stand-up should seek this one out right away.