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I’m like a clown and no clown is ever harmful: Jason Byrne

The Irish comedian talks about humour, Indian culture, Bollywood and plans for his maiden tour to India.

more lifestyle Updated: Sep 20, 2016 08:09 IST
Henna Rakheja
Irish comedian Jason Byrne, known for his on-stage antics, feels that Ireland and India are similar.
Irish comedian Jason Byrne, known for his on-stage antics, feels that Ireland and India are similar.

“When I arrived, they had a plate with rice and flower petals on it. I thought I had to eat it,” says Irish comedian Jason Byrne. Known for his on-stage antics, he is leaving people in splits on his debut tour in India with his act, Jason Byrne Is Propped Up.

After his recent performance at Kamani Auditorium, he spoke to HT City and left this reporter teary-eyed at the end of the interview.

On his maiden trip to India, he says he doesn’t feel any performance jitters. “That’s because Ireland and India are so similar. We both were ruled by the British, and like in Indian homes, fathers in Ireland don’t move either, whereas women do all the house work,” says 44-year-old comedian with a laugh.

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Considering recent incidents in India where jokes by stand-up comedians didn’t went well with a certain section of public, it’s fitting to ask if he had any apprehensions before the show? “People in the hotel, who haven’t seen my show, told me not to tease the government and be sensitive towards religions. When on stage, I’m like a clown and no clown is harmful to a government or a religion,” he says.

He finds Bollywood very funny. “For the rest of the world, Bollywood is funny to watch. All the jumping around and people flying into trees... It’s all make-believe. I was trying to do some Bollywood dancing at my show in Mumbai. But in the Bollywood comedy films of the 90s, it was almost kind of racist to have a funny man around,” the humourist adds.

About how he wants to go about the rest of the tour, he says, “I want to go and see a Bollywood film and see how everyone reacts to it in the hall. And if I stay here for another four weeks, I will have an hour’s show on India.”

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He further elucidates: “Whatever I see, I bring it on stage. Like the culture here... I don’t understand. There’s no rule for the road and people just speak and do what they want to. It will be about everyday life and work and whatever everybody in the room is able to totally connect with.”