Arts Q&A: Jason Byrne on clowns, sandcastles and Swedish handball

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week: Jason Byrne

Jason Byrne brings his new show Propped Up to Belfast's Ulster Hall on December 11

1. When did you think about comedy as a career and what were your first steps into it?

My mum's side of the family were in the circus, about 150 years ago in Italy somewhere. I always loved clowns as a child – I used to dress up as them. I only wish I was around during the Banini era.

2. The record you'd take to a desert island?

Lonely, sung by Kim Jong-un in the South Park movie.

3. And the book?

Sand Castles by Michael Grain. A great book on how to build sandcastles, big and small.

4. Top three films?

Top Secret, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Casino.

5. Worst film you've seen?

The Time is Against Us. It was a movie about a man and a woman travelling around the world while holding a giant clock. If they ran fast enough they would travel through time to a different century – absolute bol**x.

6. Favourite authors?

Enid Blyton –we all know her and Leo Tolstoy, a Russian author, famous for saying "everyone thinks of changing the world, but no-one thinks of changing himself".

7. Sports you most enjoy and top team?

Soccer and Manchester United forever. I also love a bit of horse jumping, but I mostly watch Swedish handball as my niece is on the Swedish handball team.

8. Ideal holiday destination?

I travel all year and I never get long in my own house. My favourite time of year is Christmas – I sit on my fat ass and don't move. And that is the best holiday ever.

9. Pet hate?

People eating with their mouth open; people making noise with soup; people looking at their sandwich before they take a bite and people breathing through their nose as they eat.

10. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Sausage, beans and mash.

Dessert? Rice crispy cakes.

Drink? Strawberry milkshake.

11. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other?

My best friend is my wife. We've known each other for 20 years. I couldn't be without her; we laugh and cry together. No, my best friend is a drunk called Barry that we're all better off not talking about.

12. Is there a God?

Yes. And he's watching you read these questions, as he watches everything, the voyeur weirdo.

:: Jason Byrne brings his new show Propped Up to Belfast's Ulster Hall on December 11 at 8pm. For tickets visit


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