'Air guitar’ is the surprising answer Vibe got when we asked comedian Ed Byrne the secret to a happy marriage, writes Jim Palmer.

Byrne, whose show Roaring Forties is heading to Croydon, said: "The key to a happy marriage is to continue to find new and innovative ways of annoying and disappointing your other half.

"For me right now, air guitaring is playing a f*****g blinder.

"What my wife hates the most is I won’t stick to the guitar. I’ll switch to the drums if there’s a good drum solo. She says ‘which is it?’ That is a very petty restriction."

When Byrne married his wife Claire five years ago, fellow comedian and Mock the Week presenter Dara O’Briain was his best man. Likewise, Byrne was best man at O’Briain’s wedding.

He says: "I was much kinder to him because I didn’t do a funny speech as a groom.

"He, as a groom, did a funny speech which I then had to follow, which I thought was very unfair of him. The best man should do the comedy."

Byrne said his latest show is broadly ‘about what I’ve been up to for the past two years’.

He said: "I’ll go to towns where I’ve got friends who I only see when I go and do shows and I’ll do the show and afterwards we’ll go for a drink and they won’t need to ask me what I’ve been up to.

"Various things are in the show that I’ve been up to - having a second child, watching the Olympics, having a hernia operation, doing a driver awareness course and hitting my forties.

"I’ve become sillier now. I was always a miserable old git but now that I’m actually old enough to be miserable, I’m a lot sillier."

These days, a focus for Byrne is honesty.

The father-of-two says: "When I first started out I would say anything to be funny and I would say the opposite of what I actually thought.

"Looking back I had a funny routine about hating children. I never hated children. But I had a funny joke.

He adds: "It is still funny sometimes to be at a gig and there’ll be a guy backstage talking about how he is single and he lives alone and you’re back stage with his wife.

"If I’ve broken up with someone, or I’m getting married or I’ve had a kid - whatever it is, that’s what I say is happening."

Somehow, in among the touring, Ed found time to pick up Mel and Sue’s reins and host one of the special Sports Relief editions of the Great British Bake Off, which was broadcast last week.

Byrne said: "I was on it as a baker for Comic Relief last year so it was fun to be on the other side of it.

"It’s a very relaxed show to do.

"There is a fair amount of down time, so I brought an Xbox with me and a copy of Grand Theft Auto V and I can tell you that when Paul Hollywood gets a go on Grand Theft Auto V all he wants to do is steal police cars and shoot police officers.

"Mary was not interested in Grand Theft Auto at all.

"Even when I was playing, Paul just kept going ‘steal a police car’."

Ed Byrne: Roaring Forties, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, February 26, 8pm, £22.50, go to www.fairfield.co.uk or call 02086889291.