Reviews & features: Comedy

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Nick Helm and Tim Key

31 Jul 2014

The comedians discuss the Fringe, larger room and post-film & TV success

Nick Helm and Tim Key have both had a busy year. Since being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for the second time in 2013 for One Man Mega Myth, Helm has starred in BBC3 comedy drama Uncle and completed filming on his own BBC3 show Heavy…

Carl Donnelly: Now That's What I Carl Donnelly Vol. 6

31 Jul 20144 stars

Consistent Edinburgh Festival Fringe hour with moments of pure hilarity

Carl Donnelly was as surprised as anyone when his solid yet unspectacular stand-up act gained a spot on the Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist last Fringe. Little did observers know that the London comic was harbouring much pain with his marriage having…

Unique variety show Bacchanalia lined up for 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

30 Jul 2014

Cabaret, magic, burlesque, comedy and circus line-up successfully peddling comedy and smut

‘As cliché as it sounds, with all the unrest in the country on so many fronts, people need escapism. They need the wonder.’ Boo Dwyer of Titty Bar Ha Ha explains that elusive attraction cabaret enjoys. ‘It is the comedy equivalent of when TV went into…

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…

Lloyd Griffith: Voice of an Angel, Body of a Trucker

31 Jul 20143 stars

The comedian/choirboy delivers an affable if slightly obvious Edinburgh Festival Fringe set

It's always good to have a gimmick to make you stand out from the rest of the stand-ups; but it's not often the case that a comedian doubles up as a choir singer. Even more incongruously, Lloyd Griffith is big and beardy, yet has a beautiful falsetto…

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Lost Voice Guy: Laughter Is The Worst Medicine

31 Jul 20143 stars

A cheeky hour of shattered misconceptions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014

Last year at the Fringe, Lost Voice Guy was part way through his run when he fell ill. It turned out he had been standing out in the Edinburgh rain a touch too long and duly developed a life-threatening bout of pneumonia. Still, at least it gave him the…

Simon Feilder: All the Things I'm Not

31 Jul 20143 stars

Deceptively clever hour of self-deprecating comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Simon Feilder is a master of misdirection. Under the guise of listing all the ways he fails to measure up as a man, he turns less into more by showing that the talent he does have is there in spades. Relying heavily on interactions with pre-recorded…

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 interview: Italian comedian Francesco de Carlo

31 Jul 2014

'I aim to lose my tan, improve my English and inflate my belly with your beer’

By the close of the festival, the ‘expressive, surreal and slightly Mediterranean’ Francesco de Carlo aims to ‘lose my tan, improve my English and inflate my belly with your beer’. As part of a group of comedians who’ve brought stand-up to Comedy…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Two More Liars

30 Jul 2014

Stand-up Struan Logan buys some valuable exposure with a minimalist bribe

Comedian Struan Logan doesn't like to stoop to childish, sugar-filled bribery like edible rats. No sire, not he. Struan sent us a symbol of 'the futility of what you and I are both doing. Writing and writing about comedy shows for one month that only a…

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Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Rat: Induction

30 Jul 2014

The Free Fringe sketch trio keep us sweet with some edible rodents

Board games and word searches are all very well, but they don't give us the artificially-sweetened energy we need to get us through the hectic Fringe days. Thank heavens, then, for sketch comedy trio Rat, who sent us two jumbo tubs of rodent-shaped…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: theatremaker Gary McNair

31 Jul 2014

McNair explores the dark side of comedy with Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian

Gary McNair’s new show for the Traverse, Donald Robertson Is Not a Stand-Up Comedian, blurs theatre and stand-up comedy to hilarious and often moving effect, tackling issues of affirmation, bullying and identities lost and rediscovered. Teenager…

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: Andrew Maxwell takes on the Scottish Independence referendum

28 Jul 2014

'Nationalism is folly, it always ends in violence... Borders and flags are just false nonsense'

The comic with arguably the Fringe’s ‘most quintessential Edinburgh name’ is grasping the thistle of Scottish independence, with his show title, Hubble Bubble, a misquote from Shakespeare’s Scots play, adding ‘an extra layer of bullshit’ that Andrew…

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…

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…

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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…

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…

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 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…

Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Swiss Cheese

28 Jul 2014

Bawsoot Theatre Company swap some cheesy craftsmanship for valuable exposure

There was a marked contrast between the last bribe we received – Gary from Leeds' ultra-minimalist Yeti Action Pack – and our most recent arrival: a painstakingly assembled cheese house. Hand-delivered by two members of Bawsoot Theatre Company, the…

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Big Fat Fringe Bribe blog 2014: Yeti

26 Jul 2014

Performance poet Gary from Leeds bags some easy exposure with his Yeti Action Pack

We thought our last bribe – a handheld 8-bit gaming console – was lo-fi. Then we received Gary from Leeds' Yeti Action Pack: a slab of cotton wool, a twig and three numbered index cards. Rather than explain what each item did/does, Gary merely assured…

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…

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: 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: 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…