When two brains just aren’t going to be enough...

Jason Byrne
Jason Byrne
Harvey by HumDrum. From left: Rob Scott as Wilson, Ben Counter as Elwood P. Dowd and Tim Sturton-Davies as Dr Sanderson.

REVIEW: Harvey at The Spring Arts Centre in Havant

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The manic, freewheeling stand-up Jason Byrne has been trying to find ways to liven up life on the road while on tour.

With 37 shows across the UK for his The Man With Three Brains show, he’s taking the scenic route from venue to venue and attempting to take in a few sights.

‘Because touring is flipping relentless and hideous, all the travelling, we basically have a little Bagpuss as our mascot and we’re taking pictures with him everywhere we go. We make every day fun and find out a bit about Britain. ‘It’s purely entertainment for our childish brains.

‘We‘ve found out that in Britain, nothing’s open and you can’t touch anything. That’s the motto for British tourism. You go to Stonehenge, you can’t touch it; we went to see Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon and he was closed.

‘Downton Abbey was closed today. And my favourite “closed” was in Southport – the sea was closed. It never comes in.’

When he comes to Portsmouth for a brace of headlining shows at Comedy Allstars in Horndean, it’s not actually part of the tour.

People have been saying the show doesn’t have much to do with brains, but I think you’ll find it has a lot to do with MY brain

Jason Byrne

‘This Portsmouth thing could basically be like Jason Byrne’s tour diaries – my tour will be over, it’s going to be the very last thing I’ll be saying on stage this year.’

So why The Man With Three Brains?

‘There’s three things up there – there’s a lot of improv happening, and a lot of pre-written stuff, and the third brain, as I call, that’s the stunts where the punters get involved,’ says the fast-talking Irishman. ‘It should be called “The man with three sections in his show”, but that’s a terrible name, and I love the film The Man With Two Brains, so this is one more.

‘People have been saying the show doesn’t have much to do with brains, but I think you’ll find it has a lot to do with MY brain – that’s exactly what you’re looking at.

‘People are saying: “I don’t understand what it means”, but it doesn’t matter, it’s just a nice name for the show. The show is so hectic and there’s so much going on, that’s the title I’ve given the madness.

‘I met a person in Edinburgh who said: “It’s more your stream of consciousness, you don’t have three brains, Jason”, and I said: “Well I’m not putting that on a poster, am I?”

‘By the time I get to Portsmouth I won’t care any more, so it won’t matter about the name anyway. They could be my best gigs of the year.’

Just recently you may have also noticed a new TV gameshow Don’t Say It, Bring It, hosted by Jason.

‘It’s on Dave, and it’s on a lot. It’s on twice a day, every day, and three hours on Saturday – that is pushing a show, isn’t it? My audience from my live shows haven’t come to me from TV – that’s mostly from performing live, and they haven’t really linked up yet with my TV audience. But the show’s really funny, they’re just going to keep showing it and showing it until people realise it’s on! It’s the best TV I’ve ever done, it’s hilarious.’

Is there going to be a second series?

‘Yeah, I’ll just say there definitely is, even though that’s not true at all, then you print that and the bosses at Dave will think, damn, we’d better give him a second series!

‘Everybody’s very’, he puts on a rather perky tone, ‘happy and excited about it. That’s what they always say, anyway.’

Jason is joined on the bill by Gary Delaney, Rob Deering and compere James Alderson.

Comedy Allstars

Horndean Technology College

December 8&9