Eye For Film >> Movies >> Ed Byrne - Different Class (2009) Film Review
With Different Class, Ed Byrne returns to the scene of his student years, Glasgow, as part of a UK stand-up tour. Although, initially, he is still dressed like a student (what with his lank hair, loose jeans and checked shirt over a faded ‘tee’; he changes into a suit in the second half), his detached, whimsical observations suggest he’s no perpetual 19-year-old.
Byrne’s range of material is impressive, not least because of his seamless segues between topics. In the course of his 107-minute show, he name-checks Michael Jackson (with a joke that was clearly conceived and told before the singer’s death), takes DVD piracy on in a rambling roundabout way and vilifies audience reactions to his routines. It’s no bitty performance, however, there is a clue in the title as to which way the material binds. His main focus is class, politeness and social nicety.
There’s nothing too incisive here, though, it’s the kind of good-humoured, meandering and gentle comedy (aside from the odd swear word, and an unusually explicit climactic routine) that you could take your granny to see. And, despite his range of material and the overarching theme, Byrne tends to anchor proceedings in to self-deprecating fare. One minute he recounts a story concerning his teenage incarnation’s failure as a goth - a spin-off from a story about emo youths - and shortly after it’s his tale about watching Hostel: Part II drunk at two in the afternoon, in his pants. Which, is probably the only time you’d sensibly be watching the film.
It’s this safeness in the neurotic, in the self-deprecatory humour, that’ll probably ensure Byrne will always be the bridesmaid and never the bride. Ed Byrne is as well known for his voiceover work, for example, as his stand up comedy. Indeed, there’s an inherent musicality in his voice that nullifies any darkness buried within his work.
That said, the show is engaging and highly likable, full of fun observations pleasantly told in Byrne’s bouncy delivery and exaggerated gesticulations. His imaginative and creative use of the material, which is still visible even despite his highly personal stamp, is fresh and engaging.Reviewed on: 14 Dec 2009