The molten ball of energy himself, Jason Byrne returned to Brisbane (26 March) with his brand new hour ‘Jason Byrne Is Propped Up’.
A Byrne show is only as good as its audience and, luckily, Sunday’s crowd were an absolute cracker. The more characters Byrne has to interact with the better and Sunday gifted him with Trainer Shane, I Am Matthew and Jason the Overly Chilled Out Melburnian.
Most of the call backs during the evening revolved around these characters, which is by no means a bad thing; everyone loves an inside joke.
The best way to tell if a Byrne bit is pre-planned is if it has any props to go with it. By this logic only about 60 per cent of the show was intentional, the other 40 per cent being Byrne’s undeniable exuberance and his extreme skill as an improviser.
The feature of any Byrne show is an outlandish stunt in which he tortures two or more audience members. This year it was a disappearing act, which worked perfectly thanks to Trainer Shane being dressed exactly like a magician.
The key is getting the most enthusiastic people right at the front and Byrne can pick them like no other, as each volunteer bounded on stage with gusto, some even having the gall to lightly rib the professional comedian.
When Byrne leans towards a purer stand-up format the results are just as delightful. An extended bit about the time he was on the Graham Norton Show with Gwyneth Paltrow confirmed what we all expected: that Gwyneth is an ice queen that caused Chris Martin to write music that makes grown men cry.
Jason Byrne is no great satirist and he doesn’t need to be because his shows are just that much fun. His shows are instilled with the same atmosphere as in primary school when the class clown ran amok while the teacher was out of the room.
‘Jason Byrne Is Propped Up’ is no exception and slots nicely into his back catalogue as a night of pure, unbridled joy.