Steve on Tap

By C.

It’s only right that for our annual Sports Bar issue we reach out to America’s new favorite bar’s bartender, Steve Byrne. From stand-up comedy to prime time when it’s pint time Steve knows how to leave his customers happy. With his new TBS show Sullivan & Son a hit, it’s time see if TV’s coolest drink jockey can conquer the world.

What was the phone call like last February when you got the call from TBS telling you the show was a go? [Laughing] It’s kind of like a double-edged sword because you’re like you’ve got it and you’re excited but then you realize “wow” I’ve really got it now I’ve got to start working. You have this great opportunity and you don’t want to blow it so I knew that there was a lot of work involved and we just wanted to make sure that we did the best [that we] could.

What was it like working with Rob Long on the development for the show? Working with Rob has been amazing. He is obviously very accomplished being the executive producer of Cheers for so many years. Working with Rob has been truly one of the highlights of my career to be honest with you. I mean I’ve been a stand-up comic for like 14 years now and he is probably one of the funniest guys that I’ve ever met in my life.

Tell us about the significance of the Pittsburgh connection
I always heard that when you’re writing you should write about what you know so the show is reflective of my real life, my real friends, and my real family. If I was going to go back home anywhere it would be back home in Pittsburgh because I do consider Pittsburgh my home town.

You’ve been relentlessly touring since 2004. What has that experience brought to your new experience on Sullivan & Son?
Well I think that, not to speak on behalf of the other guys, the great aspect of being a stand-up comic and then getting to do a television show is that you kind of come alive a bit more when you are in front of a live studio audience. We are fortunate to be one of the sitcoms that do tape in front of a live audience. I feel very comfortable up there in front of an audience and think the others guys do as well and there’s an energy that kicks in when you’re there and you can hear the audience laughing.

If there were a WWE Battle Royale moment between the cast who could you suplex?
Probably Vivian Bang my sister. It’s so funny I’m six-foot so I’m kind of tall by I guess Hollywood standards, but I’m the shortest guy on the show. Owen is 6’7, Roy is 6’3, and Ahmed Ahmed is 6’2. So when people see me on the show they must think ‘oh he must be like 5’8 or something’. I think I have to go the Tom Cruise route and start casting some guys that are shorter than me.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Dallas other than tell jokes?
I truly love the city of Dallas. The Addison Improv was one of the first comedy clubs to ever headline me. So for me it’s like a really special place to be and it has always been one of my favorite clubs to perform at because I love the intimacy of the room. But what will I do when I’m in Dallas? [Pete’s] Dueling Piano Bar across the hall from the Addison Improv is where I always end up for some reason. Just getting hammered [Laughing]. I’ve been downtown a few times – I’m a huge JFK conspiracy buff. But I am really looking forward to the Dallas barbecue.

See Steve at the Arlington Improv August 16-18 for the Sullivan & Son Comedy Tour and Sullivan & Son on TBS Thursday nights at 9pm.