IRISH comedian Ed Byrne has been working at the stand-up mill for 25 years now. A regular on Mock the Week and The Graham Norton Show, Byrne recently appeared in BBC2 hiking hit The Pilgrimage, in which he quipped: “Our friendly neighbourhood priest is particularly against the amount of undulations God put on our Earth.”

Recent stand-up shows, Spoiler Alert and Outside, Looking In, have shown a more mature side of Byrne, navigating the “minefield of modern parenting and a generational sense of entitlement.”

Byrne broke through in the mid-1990s when the New Lad became a genuine cultural phenomenon. He doesn’t want to submit to any unnecessary revisionism, but admits that if the times have changed, he has changed with them. He reflects a little ruefully on one of his most famous jokes. “There’s an attitude towards Alanis Morissette that I’m no longer comfortable with, where I call her a moaning cow and a whiny bint… slagging off the lyrics of the song is fine, but there’s a tone in the preamble that I wouldn’t write today.”

His latest show, If I’m Honest, goes deeper into issues such as his sense of paternal responsibility, what masculinity means in 2019 – “We have higher suicide rates and tend not to do well in divorces, but representation in action movies is not something we have an issue with.” – and whether he has any qualities whatsoever that are worth passing on to his sons.

“I do genuinely annoy myself,” Byrne concedes. “But the thing of your children being a reflection of you gives you an opportunity to build something out of the best of yourself only for you to then see flashes of the worst of yourself in them.”

Issues such as these can be rich material for comedians, so long as they are handled with the requisite sensitivity. Byrne feels that the juice is worth the squeeze.

“It’s not that I feel a responsibility, I think it just feels more satisfying when you’re doing it. When a joke makes a good point, I think people enjoy it. It’s the difference between having a steak and eating a chocolate bar.”

If I’m Honest lives up to its title, focusing on the frustration that arrives in middle age. “I’m bored looking for things, I’m bored trying to find stuff, because I can never find it, and it is entirely my fault,’ Ed says. ‘Nobody’s hiding my stuff from me. Although my wife did actually move my passport on one occasion’.

Ed Byrne is performing at Brighton Dome on March 6.