Reviews & features: Comedy

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Unsung Hero: a behind-the-scenes look at the people who make the Edinburgh Festivals happen

25 Jul 2014

This week, The Stand's Kenny O'Brien: 'My wife’s birthday is in August, apparently'

What’s your job title? Tough one: I’m area manager for the Stand Comedy Clubs and a director of Salt’n’Sauce. Tommy Sheppard (Big Boss) has taken to introducing me as ‘Operations Manager’. Not sure why or what that might mean. I work for the…

Opinion: Comedians at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 - please actually write a show

25 Jul 2014

Being funny is more about sheer hard work than self-indulgence

There are hundreds of shows at the Fringe. Statistically they cannot all be brilliant. And that’s ok. Seeing, or indeed being in, a proper turkey is a rite of passage in Edinburgh. That look you give your friend that says, ‘I think we’re close enough to…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Miles Allen delivers his One Man Breaking Bad

25 Jul 2014

'I’m glad I get to be a part of that experience: you can come up and say “bitch” at me all you want'

Miles Allen is doing all the voices and I’m wondering how I’m going to write it down. ‘Yo, it’s kinda my thing, bitch,’ he says, with the back-of-the-throat stoner growl of Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman. Then he switches: ‘One of the characters I didn’t…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Ivo Graham discusses Bow Ties and Johnnies

25 Jul 2014

The Old Etonian tackles his public schooling and having 'a genuine relationship with issues'

Show titles Ivo Graham has reluctantly rejected include Privately Educated, Sexually Active and the brilliant Eton Mess. His debut, Binoculars, traced the 23-year-old’s distinct lack of success with girls and was, according to his father, his ‘one…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: comedian Katherine Ryan considers the choice we make

25 Jul 2014

'In the UK, you actually have a choice to put your tits away. And, well, maybe you should’

Katherine Ryan has come a long way since making her Fringe debut in 2011. Having made a name for herself with 20-minute sets packed with song parodies and frank material about her own life and the celebrity landscape she viewed all around her, Ryan…

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My Edinburgh: comedian Simon Munnery gives us his guide to the capital during the Fringe 2014

25 Jul 2014

My first Edinburgh Festival experience was … Losing my cherry up Arthur’s Seat. Every year I go back to look for it. Edinburgh’s unique selling point is … It’s very handy for the M8. I am likely to be found … Because I am terrible at hiding.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 5 shows about death

25 Jul 2014

Featuring Jim Davidson’s Funeral, Tony Law, Lost Voice Guy and Robin & Partridge

Jim Davidson’s Funeral Having faked a fight to get publicity last year, Ellis & Rose walked off with the Malcolm Hardee Award for their spirited endeavours. This year, they’re dancing on the Fringe’s grave by hosting a night of various japes in a…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 5 hotly-tipped sketch comedy debuts

25 Jul 2014

Featuring Aunty Donna, Gein's Family Giftshop, Massive Dad and zazU

Aunty Donna Not, in fact, a polite family lady, but a trio of quite-rude, variably hairy Aussie chaps called Broden, Zachary and Mark. That nation’s Herald Sun said they produced ‘uproarious, high-octane comedy’. Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, 1–25…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: Alan Davies sees the importance of Little Victories

25 Jul 2014

The comedian and QI regular's second comeback show is a reflection on childhood

Alan Davies recently announced that his forthcoming Edinburgh gigs will contain no material whatsoever on the independence referendum. Unless people want to have a show of hands, that is. Given the right royal stooshie that occurred when he previously…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: bon vivant and raconteur Tom Allen

25 Jul 2014

'It's about being happy with yourself. And not holding back. And wearing bigger hats'

Erudite raconteur Tom Allen comes to Edinburgh fresh from supporting Sarah Millican on tour. ‘It’s an interesting experience to step out in front of 2000 people who haven’t come to see you and to convince them that you’re worth watching,’ says the…

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: comedian Stephen K Amos finds his Fringe groove

25 Jul 2014

'I can ask the audience the awkward, challenging questions. Ultimately, though, they’ve got to laugh

Stephen K Amos seems to have found his Fringe groove, annually playing to an appreciative crowd at the Stand with a show that he will tour later in the year and hosting a chat show at the Gilded Balloon. Those separate events help him indulge his chief…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: comedian Jason Cook examines life’s relentless onslaught

25 Jul 2014

'I’m looking at how all the wonderful things happening to me also have a negative effect'

Between building a reputation on the live circuit and writing the BBC Two sitcom Hebburn, Jason Cook has become known for Fringe shows that not only deliver the laughs, but also a dose of heart. In previous years he has tackled such tragic topics as his…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: sketch trio Foil, Arms & Hog get Loch'd

25 Jul 2014

'We’ve got a sketch about an Irish intervention to a son that -doesn’t- drink'

‘The group stuff’s so much better now, that it’s hard to go back to the other, lesser reaction,’ laughs Sean ‘Hog’ Flanagan as he dismisses a return to performing solo stand-up. A Dublin-based trio who met at their university drama club, Foil, Arms…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: McNeil & Pamphilon Go 8-Bit

25 Jul 2014

A handheld gaming console buys the comedy duo some valuable exposure

It was a bit jarring to switch from the powerful sounds of anthemic German pop music to sub-Game Boy chiptune, but that's what greeted us as soon as we switched on the 9999 IN 1 Brick Game, as provided by comedy duo McNeil & Pamphilon. The handheld…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: A TED Talk with Clay JW Crowne

24 Jul 2014

Ben Mills buys some valuable exposure with the gift of German pop

Having thoroughly warmed our wrists with our previous bribe, the List staff were ready to pump our fists in the air to some anthemic pop – which is why we were lucky Ben Mills' bribe arrived when it did. Wolfgang Petry is (according to Wikipedia) one of…

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Longlist announced for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award 2014

23 Jul 2014

The award recognises Fringe shows that encourage audiences to consider their environmental impact

The shortlist for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, which celebrates the greenest and most sustainable shows of the fringe that encourage audiences to take responsibility for their own environmental impact, has been announced, with 22…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Sweater Curse - a Yarn about Love

23 Jul 2014

A 'knitting obsessive' buys some exposure with handmade 'small dog sweaters'

Following Chelsea Manders' perhaps too valuable bribe, we were happy to receive something that had more of a homemade vibe to it. 'Writer / actor / obsessive knitter' Elaine Liner sent us an envelope stuffed with woollen wonders; were it not for her own…

Comedians take on dramatic roles at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

Lucy Porter, Richard Herring, Suki Webster and Russell Kane discuss swapping comedy for drama

‘It must be irritating for actors and directors because comedians muscle in everywhere,’ Lucy Porter muses. ‘We’re like, “yeah we’ll have a go at that, why not?” I think we are naturally quite reckless.’ It’s a good year for recklessness. Stand-up…

Interview: 2011 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Adam Riches returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

The comedian's character-based shows feature a lot of audience participation, so be warned

‘I was too tall to be Tigger, and I couldn’t be Goofy, so I was a waiter.’ Adam Riches is recalling his time as a 19-year-old working at Disneyland Paris. This part of our story doesn’t have a happy-ever-after: Riches was fired for being a little bit…

Bridget Christie: 'For now, there’s still plenty to be "banging on" about'

22 Jul 2014

The comic explains why she's sticking with feminism on her return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

I’m a professional idiot. That’s my job. On both my children’s birth certificates, next to ‘mother’s occupation’ it says ‘Hired Fool’. All I’m required to do is make people laugh. I’m not the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. I don’t work…

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: comedian Lucy Beaumont

22 Jul 2014

'Johnny Vegas bigged me up and you need someone like that. There are not enough mentors in the arts'

On the cusp of her debut Fringe show, Lucy Beaumont is not one to follow traditional paths. Two years ago, struggling to find acting work, she ended up as a cleaner at the same university where she’d studied drama. The ability of her co-workers to tell…

Interview: comedian Camilla Cleese comes to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

22 Jul 2014

'Six-foot blonde, slightly resembles John Cleese but not that much, thank God'

It’s a brave move going into comedy when your dad is John Cleese, but if you’re currently thinking that the offspring of celebrities get an unfair break because of their bloodline, you can forget that now. Camilla Cleese has the goods to back it up…

Interview: comedian Josh Ladgrove wants you to Come Heckle Christ

22 Jul 2014

The Aussie satirist is bringing his blasphemous show to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

Of all the returning acts at this year’s Fringe, Jesus Christ might appear the most unlikely. Of course, Come Heckle Christ doesn’t feature the real Jesus any more than Jim Davidson: No Further Action is the work of the devil. Australian comedian Josh…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014: 10 strange, site-specific venues

22 Jul 2014

Featuring phone shops, police boxes, rickshaws, caravans and a boxing gym

A boxing gym An amateur boxing club becomes the set for this verbatim theatre piece based on interviews with Muslim female boxers, using a cast of 16–18-year-olds. No Guts, No Heart, No Glory, Sandy’s Boxing Gym, Craigmillar, 226 0000, 18–25 Aug…

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014 interview: Clive Anderson vs rising improv stars

22 Jul 2014

BattleActs, Austentatious and more quiz the Whose Line is it Anyway? host

David Allison, This is Your Trial As an ex-lawyer, you will appreciate that what appears as a witty adlib may actually be the result of anticipating the responses of ‘witnesses’ or improv participants and some carefully planned prompts: how much is this…