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Most women have now read Fifty Shades -- they must have passed it around at Mass

I've been on holidays now for about two and a half weeks and I haven't gigged for ages but I'm going to get stuck right back into it over the coming weeks. I've loads of shows lined up.

I had to head down to Galway yesterday for the Arts Festival at Seapoint and then it was straight back to Dublin today for the Vodafone Comedy Festival at the Iveagh Gardens this weekend.

It's great to be back home as I was gigging in Australia for three months, I came back from there at the end of May after doing a whole tour.

You have to change your material with the times and go with whatever's in the news at the moment.



Submissive

Before, it was all about the recession but now it's all about Fifty Shades Of Grey. It's unbelievable how many women have read it -- they must be passing it around at Mass. My wife Kathy read it and she just thinks it's hilarious.

One thing I'm incorporating into my act is the whole contract thing between Mr and Mrs Grey and the whole submissive thing -- can you imagine having that in real life?

The plot of the book actually sounds like something the author wrote as a bit of a joke and then it sold out and she went 'OK, I'm obviously on to something here, I'll write two more.'

Irish women are usually quite coy about the whole sex thing whereas Australia women don't give a s**t -- they're more like blokes.

So I'll be heading off to do Edinburgh Festival for the 17th time next month. A few years ago, when I was still building myself up, it would be stressful getting people into see my shows so it's great to have a following. There are more than 2,000 shows during the festival and you are under a lot of scrutiny from the media.

Russell Brand had a glass thrown at him once but it actually missed him and hit another comedian behind him.

There is also this misconception when Irish comics travel around that it's only Irish people that go and see them but that's not true at all.

When I'm over there, it's mainly Scots that come and see my shows. We have a similar sense of humour. I can do a routine about my mum beating us as kids and that goes down great in Edinburgh as they're mainly working class.

Do it in London and they just stare at you blankly and go 'Oh my God, that's terrible'.

Even after all these years, I would still get nervous beforehand -- it's just a human thing. Once I step on to the stage though, I don't have any nerves. But even when I was a kid, I used to get really nervous before I went to discos, worrying about how the night would pan out so it's interesting that I became a comedian where I'm in a permanent state of nervous tension.

The past week has been really relaxing for me as I've just been spending time with my wife and two boys Devin (12) and Daniel (five). They've been off school so last week we did four days in a caravan in Arklow. I have to go down once a year just to switch on the electrics and make sure it doesn't blow up.

We travelled around a bit and went to places like Gorey, Glendalough and Powerscourt. We were admiring the waterfall and going 'isn't this amazing' but the kids didn't have a blind bit of interest in it. At weekends, I generally tend to stay. We live in Oldtown in the Naul area and there's no way I'd head into town for a night out. As I'm away touring so much, when I'm back in Ireland I tend to say at home as that's my quiet time.

I'll be at the Iveagh Gardens from tonight until Sunday. I'm only on for 20 minutes at a time so after my show I might have a drink but I wouldn't do it beforehand. I know Andrew Maxwell got pissed at it one year but that was probably a brilliant thing for the organisers -- they were all delighted with the publicity. But I've been accused before of being a bad drinker, something only an Irish person would say and I normally have about four pints and then I'm done. I just couldn't go on stage with a few drinks on board, not with all the s**te I have to remember and my shows have such a fast pace.

By and large, comedians are actually a pretty healthy bunch, which doesn't go with our reputation at all. I also run all the time, which I absolutely love.



teasing

I'm looking forward to meeting some of the other comedians performing at the festival. I'm on with Michael Winslow. Al Murray is also on the bill and he played at the Kilkenny festival with me in this tiny theatre. He's so big in Britain that it was hilarious seeing him come out to an Irish audience. He kept teasing the Irish for being in debt and then he takes out this Union Jack hanky and wipes his face with it and goes, 'I bet you wish you had the pound now'. It was priceless.

Jason Byrne performs this weekend at the Vodafone Comedy Festival at the Iveagh Gardens