Comedy picks at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This article is from 2019

Comedy picks at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Ahir Shah / credit: The Other Richard

A total of 30 funny shows in August from stand-up, sketch, double-acts, impressionists and talking foxes

The Fringe programme refuses to get any smaller and the comedy section continues bulging with an army of shows to see. Here is a selection of acts who are all set for a very exciting August (and one day of July).

Ahir Shah
Will it be third time lucky as the two-time nominee of the Edinburgh Comedy Award (now basking proudly under the Dave umbrella) joins us for Dots?
Ahir Shah, Monkey Barrel, 1–25 Aug, 1.45pm

Anna & Helen
Could be a good year for the double-act, as this pair is set to fill the Pleasance Attic with silly, surreal fun sharpened by a dark edge.
Anna & Helen, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 13), 5.45pm

Basil Brush
The showbusiness legend makes his / its Fringe debut with a family show as well as this Unleashed business in which, well, we can only shudder at the pure cheek and sarky comments he / it'll be coming up with.
Basil Brush, Underbelly, Bristo Square, 31 Jul–25 Aug, 6.45pm

Candy Gigi
Audience participation is likely to be at a high and potentially excruciating level with this few-holds barred entertainer, indulging us with Friday Night Sinner.
Candy Gigi, Monkey Barrel, 1–25 Aug (not 12 & 20), 8.35pm

Catherine Bohart
A strong follow-up to her 2018 debut is expected as this Irish comic retells the tale of an audience member who took great exception to Bohart's mere existence.
Catherine Bohart, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 13), 6pm

Ciarán Dowd
Last year's Best Newcomer victor rages again with more inspired 'Don Rodolfo' nonsense. Quite probably the most unashamedly fun comedy hour you'll experience this Fringe.
Ciarán Dowd, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 14), 9.45pm

Courtney Pauroso
When you learn that Courtney Pauroso's show is produced in cahoots with Dr Brown and Natalie Palamides, you might get a strong whiff of the clowny, physical and totally frank hour ahead.
Courtney Pauroso, Underbelly Cowgate, 1–25 Aug (not 13), 9.40pm

Comedy picks at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Eddie Izzard

Craig Ferguson
Back where it all began for him way back when (the Fringe, not the Playhouse), the Scot who has been very big in America for a couple of decades chews some stand-up fat with the 90-minute Hobo Fabulous.
Craig Ferguson, Gilded Balloon at Edinburgh Playhouse, 11 Aug, 8pm

Desiree Burch
The force of nature that is UK-based US comic Desiree Burch looks set to have a strong August with her own spin on the 'relationship show'.
Desiree Burch, Heroes @ The Hive, 1–25 Aug (not 13 & 20), 7.40pm

Eddie Izzard
While he's in town moseying around the Book Festival and delivering a work-in-progress of his one-man Great Expectations, King Edward thought he might as well put on three performances of his upcoming Wunderbar touring extravaganza.
Eddie Izzard, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 12–14 Aug, 10.30pm

Garrett Millerick
His Sunflower proved to be one of the stand-out stand-up hits of 2018's Fringe, and he's back in the same room at the same time of day delivering the same sort of quality one-man-and-a-mic-and-a-story business.
Garrett Millerick, Just the Tonic at The Tron, 1–25 Aug (not 12), 5pm

Garry Starr
He may well have proved to the world that he is the most sensitively brilliant actor of his generation with his Fringe affair in 2018, but Mr Starr is back to get physical once more on the subject of Troy. Nowhere in the room is safe, just so you know.
Garry Starr, Underbelly, Cowgate, 1–25 Aug (not 12 & 19), 8pm

Jacob Hawley
On the back of a strong first Fringe and a BBC Sounds show about drugs, Stevenage's finest stand-up (we're drawing fairly firm assumptions here) is back with a set entitled Faliraki.
Jacob Hawley, Just the Tonic at The Mash House, 1–25 Aug (not 12), 5.15pm

Janine Harouni
She might have Trump supporters in her family, but this New York comic (one third of sketch gang Muriel) comes among us to preach tolerance and openness to those we disagree with.
Janine Harouni, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 13), 5.45pm

Comedy picks at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Laura Davis / credit: James Penlidis

Jena Friedman
This American comic has come face to face with some individuals who lurch between terribly extremist and rather odd for her own TV show, and she's here for a second stab at the Fringe, throwing her hands metaphorically in the air over the state of her own country and the world in general.
Jena Friedman, Assembly George Square Studios, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 12), 9.20pm

John-Luke Roberts
The title alone might crash this page, so we'll just say that John-Luke Roberts follows up last year's show, with its impossible-to-remember name, with another torrent of thoroughly innovative stand-up.
John-Luke Roberts, Assembly George Square Studios, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 14 & 21), 5.30pm

Jonny Pelham
Having delivered some fine Fringe shows to date, Jonny Pelham is set to push things up a notch this August as he works through a childhood trauma and somehow finds the jokes in there.
Jonny Pelham, Just the Tonic at The Caves, 1–25 Aug (not 12), 3.20pm

Laura Davis
One of the more distinctive voices among those Australian stand-ups you tend to get these days, Laura Davis takes off the ghostly sheet from 2018 and jumps aboard the BlundaBus to chat about heroism and its actual direct opposite, cowardice.
Laura Davis, Heroes @ Bob's BlundaBus, 1–25 Aug, 9.10pm

Maisie Adam
One of the top new acts of 2018 (a deserved Best Newcomer nomination was hers for Vague), this Yorkshire stand-up shoves her follow-up Hang Fire our way, a prescient tale for our times about the perils of social media pile-ons and dangers of pitchfork justice.
Maisie Adam, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 31–26 Aug, 5pm

A double-act with a dark twist as the very room they're performing in seems to be conspiring against them. We Cannot Get Out declare Moon, and fans of the pair will be fine with that.
Moon, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 12), 9.30pm

Nick Helm
Barnstorming back for his first full Fringe run in six years, the Helm-meister (absolutely no one calls him that) is the proverbial Phoenix from the Flames. Don't miss him. But if you do, he's on tour in the autumn so you might catch him then.
Nick Helm, Pleasance Dome, 31 Jul–24 Aug (not 12), 5.40pm

Comedy picks at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Sarah Keyworth

Nick Offerman
The man from Parks and Recreation and Fargo (and a whole lot more besides) is in town for just the one, all-encompassing date with All Rise. A beautifully cocky title in its own way.
Nick Offerman, Assembly Hall, 24 Aug, 6pm

Nish Kumar
It's been quite the journey but Mr Kumar is finally at the end of his state-of-the-nation touring show with this clutch of dates. His disappointing conclusion is that the country has changed very little in all that time.
Nish Kumar, Assembly George Square, 19–25 Aug, 9pm

Phil Wang
'The power of Taskmaster' is the way one of his fellow comics recently explained Wang's totally sold-out August run with us only in the middle of July (as well as remarking that he is, of course, a damn fine stand-up). Extra late-night dates have been added, but get to it fast, people.
Phil Wang, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 12), 8pm; 3, 10, 17 & 24 Aug, 11pm

Sarah Keyworth
Another 2018 Best Newcomer nominee, Keyworth has entitled her show, Pacific, about something that gets right on her dad's goat. Go along and find out what that might be (clue: it's nothing to do with oceans).
Sarah Keyworth, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 13), 5.45pm

Simon Munnery
Resurrecting his 'urban warrior', Munnery lets Alan Parker off the leash to take on modern society's multitudinous ills.
Simon Munnery, The Stand, 1–26 Aug (not 12), 3.20pm

Stewart Lee
With his Wok in Progress (see what he's done there?), the 'godfather of stand-up' (whoever it was who said that about him) tries out more fresh material for an adoring fanbase.
Stewart Lee, The Stand's New Town Theatre, 9–15 Aug, 7.10pm

Suzi Ruffell
After a series of shows about troubled times, Suzi is happy this year. Can such a positive disposition still produce great stand-up? Yep.
Suzi Ruffell, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 12), 8.30pm

Tommy Tiernan
The 1998 Perrier winner makes another welcome return to the Fringe fold showing he truly is one of the great living masters of the stand-up artform.
Tommy Tiernan, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 15–24 Aug (not 22), 7.30pm

Zach Zimmerman
A tough ecclesiastical upbringing in South Carolina is given short shrift in this tale of 'Grindr and god'.
Zach Zimmerman, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 19), 10.45pm

Tommy Tiernan: Tomfoolery

High theatricality, dirty words and comic rebellion from the beloved Irish comedian.

Basil Brush: Unleashed

  • 3 stars

The showbiz star and fox puppet shares his thoughts on current events at this adults-only show.

Garrett Millerick: Smile

New comedy show from comedian and writer Garrett Millerick.

Catherine Bohart: Lemon

  • 4 stars

The Irish comedian returns with her hilarious second hour about sex, relationships and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Suzi Ruffell: Dance Like Everyone's Watching

  • 4 stars

The comedian discusses her currently happy state of being, and whether comedy can only arise out of misery.

Nick Offerman: All Rise

Kilimanjaro Live in association with UTA Join the star of Parks and Recreation and Fargo for an evening of deliberative talking and light dance that will compel you to chuckle whilst enjoining you to brandish a better side of humanity than the one to which we have grown accustomed. Genuflection optional: in my church, you…

Stewart Lee: Wok In Progress

Stewart Lee / The Stand Comedy Club Notes towards a new show from 'the world’s greatest living stand-up' (Times). Where does Stew sit in the marketplace when Netflix mistakenly describe his act as 'reports of sharks falling from the skies are on the rise. Nobody on the Eastern Seaboard is safe?' 'Self-proclaimed…

Phil Wang: Philly Philly Wang Wang

  • 4 stars

Avalon Promotions Following a sell-out 2017 run, Phil ‘Philly Philly Wang Wang’ Wang is back with a new hour of absolute gold. Phil has made a name for himself (that name being Phil Wang) exploring sex, romance, politics and his mixed British-Malaysian heritage, in shows that delight in his unique Wang brand of…

Craig Ferguson: Hobo Fabulous

Craig Ferguson gives his first UK stand-up show in over 25 years.

Eddie Izzard: Wunderbar (Preview)

Mick Perrin Worldwide A preview of Wunderbar ahead of a UK and Ireland Tour. Strong Language/Swearing Age category: 14+

Maisie Adam: Hang Fire

Maisie's second full-length show features the comedian trying to work out how is to blame, and for what.

Jena Friedman: Miscarriage of Justice

  • 3 stars

Soho Theatre As America slips into fascism, Jena celebrates free speech while she still has it, in this unapologetic political hour of comedy. Miscarriage of Justice is the US comic's long-awaited return to the Fringe after her critically-acclaimed 2015 hit American C*nt. Having appeared on multiple top US shows including…

Ahir Shah: Dots

  • 4 stars

Double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Ahir Shah explores love, politics, depression and faith with his usual philosophical bent in his new hour.

Laura Davis: Better Dead Than a Coward

  • 3 stars

Laura Davis Dark, bold and razor sharp, Australian comedian Laura Davis is internationally critically acclaimed as one of the most unique comedic voices around. Unconventional, cathartic and exhilaratingly hilarious, this is her brand new hour. 'A different kind of provocative… smart, challenging, ambitious, playful and…

Zach Zimmerman: Clean Comedy

  • 3 stars

Walport Productions My mom says I should focus on clean comedy for my career. F*ck that. Please join me, a Time Out New York Comic to Watch 2019 (stop it, I'm blushing) as I skewer my traumatic Southern Baptist childhood and equally painful gay NYC adulthood. It's my debut hour at the Fringe, it'll be equal parts adorable…

Courtney Pauroso: Gutterplum

  • 4 stars

Soho Theatre Developed with Dr Brown and from the producers of the smash-hit award-winning shows Nate and Laid. American comedian Courtney Pauroso makes her Edinburgh Fringe debut with a character clown show (definitely), burlesque show (eventually) and feminist allegory (sure, probably) all rolled into one surreal and…

Ciarán Dowd: Padre Rodolfo

  • 4 stars

Katie Storey Productions World-famous lothario, swordsman and butthead Rodolfo is back! Following an unspeakable tragedy he turns his back on his lifestyle – rejects the sword, takes a vow of chastity and joins the priesthood. But as dark forces rise he must face personal demons and battle actual demons. A supernatural…

Jonny Pelham: Off Limits

  • 3 stars

Jonny Pelham Jonny has something to say that’s usually off-limits for dating, family gatherings, hanging out with mates and most social situations really… So what better place to talk about it than in a comedy show with a bunch of strangers? Off Limits is a personal, provocative and hilarious hour that should not be…

Garry Starr Conquers Troy

  • 4 stars

MILKE Having single-handedly saved the performing arts in 2018 with his multi award-winning debut solo show, comic wunderkind Garry Starr delivers another anarchic drama masterclass to remember. Acting was invented by the ancient Greeks. Before that, people were just pretending. With the release of his groundbreaking new…

Anna and Helen: Stuck in a Rat

  • 3 stars

Fight in the Dog in association with United Agents Ever found yourself stuck in a rat? Unpleasant, isn't it? Time marches on, but you're on the spot. Not even marching. Very still. Stagnating, even. Stuck in that rat. We've all been there. Join Anna O'Grady and Helen Cripps in their debut show for a chance of getting out.

Simon Munnery: Alan Parker Urban Warrior Farewell Tour

  • 3 stars

Show And Tell / Simon Munnery / The Stand Comedy Once the most radical, now the only radical. The bedsit anarchist returns with the old gold, the old truths and some new truths (based on the old truths). 'Gloriously inept radical anorak' (Times). ‘Marx, Engels and Sid Vicious would all have died laughing!’ (Guardian). ‘A…

Moon: We Cannot Get Out

  • 3 stars

Show And Tell Two provincial louts perform grotty comedy sketches. There's something wrong with their venue though: it keeps trying to kill them. An immersive comedy-horror experience that's 'wonderfully warped' (★★★★ Scotsman). Last year's debut hour was declared 'one of 2018's best-reviewed Fringe shows' (…

Sarah Keyworth: Pacific

The Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee considers the small stuff in her latest hour.

Stand Up with Janine Harouni (Please Remain Seated)

  • 4 stars

Soho Theatre Janine's father is a lifelong New Yorker and son of Middle-Eastern immigrants. He's also an avid Donald Trump supporter. Attempting to reconcile those things makes for one tense Sunday dinner. Catch multi award-winning newcomer Janine Harouni in her debut show about standing up for what you believe in, even…

Candy Gigi Presents – Friday Night Sinner!

  • 3 stars

Candy Gigi Friday Night Sinner! is a one-woman, horror-comedy musical about a Jewish, sexually repressed, newly married maniac (stick to what you know). This deluded, narcissistic, unsatisfied occasionally violent woman has delusions of grandeur and wants to become the biggest star in the universe – or at least in…

Nick Helm's I Think, You Stink!

Live Nation in association with Glorious Management Comedian Nick Helm’s musical B-movie, drive-in horror anthology tribute is risen from the grave and back at the Fringe for the first time since 2008. Join the Master of Mayhem as he drags you through a series of horrifying vignettes that take you on a journey to the very…

Jacob Hawley: Faliraki

  • 4 stars

Jacob Hawley Stevenage soft lad Jacob Hawley presents ruminations on love, youth and mental health. Politics for idiots, feminism for lads, love stories for louts and self-care for those who don’t. ‘Intelligent and important, his self-aware set sees him explore themes of class and identity in the modern world expertly…

Nish Kumar: It's in Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves

Phil McIntyre Entertainments Ltd present Double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Nish Kumar is back at the Fringe. The title is a quote from Terminator 2. There will be jokes about politics, mankind's capacity for self-destruction and whether it will lead to the end of days. Good fun stuff. He's the host of The Mash Report…

Desiree Burch: Desiree's Coming Early

Have you ever been caught in a loop? Like, how many times do we have to try and fix this trash only to have to fix it again? Desiree generally has difficulty in the present moment. At a point in history where decades of societal progress have swung right back around to authoritarianism and regression Desiree embarks on a…