By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
August 21, 2012
When Vince Vaughn suggested that Steve Byrne create a sitcom, the comic — who’s Irish and Korean — came up with the premise for the TBS series “Sullivan and Son.” Vaughn — a longtime friend and supporter — is an executive producer of the show, where Byrne plays a fictionalized version of himself. “My daughter was born the day before the first table read,” says Byrne, 38. “My wife gave birth at 9:30 at night and I got in to work at 7 or 8 in the morning and I was beaming. The whole cast and crew were clapping and congratulating me. It felt like a good omen.” To keep up to date on Byrne’s standup dates, check out his website www.stevebyrnelive.com. Fans may also stay in touch with him via Twitter @stevebyrnelive.
Q. What is your favorite city?
A. My favorite city in the country is probably Chicago, which is why I decided to move there three years ago. I love the city, the people, the restaurants and all the diehard sports fans. As a comedian who travels all the time, I’m close to an airport where I can take direct flights to just about any place that I want to go. I rent a place in Los Angeles while I work on the series, but Chicago’s where I live.
Q. What city where you’ve performed standup has special meaning for you?
A. I performed in Dublin, Ireland, on St. Patrick’s Day. I love the fact that I got to go to Ireland and get in touch with my roots and be in a country of people who love storytelling and drinking. I have no problems with either.
Q. Where are some of your favorite places to travel?
A. I love going back to Pittsburgh, where I grew up. Seattle is a great little city. If I wasn’t involved in the entertainment industry, I’d live in New Orleans. It’s such a down-to-earth city that has a charming and romantic quality. I love the people there and the music and the restaurants.
Q. Which city reminds you of home?
A. Chicago reminds me of Pittsburgh. The people are the same in terms of hardworking values. The folks aren’t pretentious. Living in New York City and Los Angeles, there’s a sense of entitlement to some personalities that I’ve never appreciated. I like down-to-earth people.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. I love Washington, D.C., which is surprisingly affordable when you consider all those amazing monuments and museums that you can see for free. I know it’s a tourist destination, but I just love it. I love the fact that you can walk around and enjoy the rich history.
Q. Did you travel a lot as a child?
A. Not too much when I was younger, because we didn’t have a lot of money. I was born in New Jersey, so we went to the Jersey Shore quite a bit. We did Disney World once, but I was maybe 17 at the time, so I didn’t really care at the time.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I always have my iPod with me so that I can listen to music nonstop. And a good book, because you never know how long a layover will be. I always pack light because I figure the less you bring, the less you forget. After seven years of really touring as a headliner, I can get everything I need — including a suit — into a carryon.
Q. Where have you gone to that might surprise people?
A. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan on USO tours.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. I haven’t been to Alaska. I love fishing and want to spend a week at the Whaler’s Cove Lodge where you can get off the grid, eat what you catch and just really relax.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I always try to make the most of any trip, so I’ll look at guidebooks and be on the lookout for museums. I try to learn a little while I’m on the road no matter where I am. I’ve been to the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., three times already. I really enjoy that kind of stuff.
© 2012 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.