The shocking, rude and offensive highlights of the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe
The controversial shows of Edinburgh Fringe 2011
This article is from 2011.
If boundary-pushing comedy is your thing, or if you just like smutty jokes, you’ll no doubt find a suitably impolite act at the Fringe. Jonny Ensall ranks 2011’s controversial shows by their level of offensiveness
The Glasgow jokesmith was once the Scottish Comedian of the Year, though he doesn’t need accolades like that now that his niche of sharp and rather rude observational comedy is so well-carved. Specialising in ‘you can’t say that’ pay-offs, the former ScottishPower employee has been described as the ‘sick man of Scottish comedy’, though we haven’t given him that accolade here (see Jerry Sadowitz, below). He’ll leave you giggling rather than gasping in disgust, but you probably wouldn’t want to take your granny to hear his musings on Britney Spears’ vagina.
Mark Nelson: Guilty Pleasure, Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 6–28 Aug (not 17), 7.10pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.
Lee has divided critics for the majority of his career, with his supporters (The List included) touting him as postmodern comedy’s genius, and his detractors claiming he’s just a grumpy old git who looks like a fat Terry Christian. His shows are more hard-hitting than offensive, but he did once base an entire act around the phrase, ‘And then I vomited into the gaping anus of Christ.’
Stewart Lee: Flickwerk 2011, The Stand, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–29 Aug (not 15), 5.15pm, £10. Previews 3 Aug, 8.05pm & 4 Aug, 4.10pm, £9.
The Two Wrongies
A cabaret show performed by two women that subverts expected norms about female sexuality as represented on stage. In other words an hour of costume changes (with nudity in between), simulated sex, general daftness, a few jokes and some beautiful dance-like sequences – all designed to cause a bit of a mind-opening riot. One of The Two Wrongies’ directors is the brilliant Kim Noble, who’s previously pushed the envelope of comedy to the point of urinating into his own mouth.
The Two Wrongies, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 6–28 Aug (not 15, 22), 10.30pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.
Kunt and the Gang
Like Depeche Mode, Kunt and the Gang is a synth-pop band from Basildon. Unlike Depeche Mode, Kunt and the Gang is not a wildly popular and epoch-defining act; it is, in fact, just a bloke who likes singing about willies and muffs. The humour never rises above the level of a back-of-the-school-bus conversation between 13-year-old boys – song titles like ‘My Erection’ and ‘Have a Wank’ will give you an impression of the key themes. It’s not big, and it’s certainly not clever, but KatG do have some unexpected rhymes for the word ‘quim’. Unrestrained immaturity.
Kunt and the Gang, The Hive, Niddry Street, 0131 556 0444, 5–28 Aug (not 7, 12), 9.15pm, free.
This troublingly weird Aussie slapstick comic produced a sleeper hit in 2010 with Doctor Brown: Because. The show combined Beckettian absurdity with the puerile fascinations of a monkey, featuring the Doctor (not a qualified medical professional) simulating oral sex, lunging at audience members and, at the show’s climax, exposing a single testicle. One for fans of the more extreme antics of Vic and Bob … and hairy men covered in baby oil.
Doctor Brown: Becaves, Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 7–28 Aug (not 15), 9.50pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 4–6 Aug, £6.
The archetypal ‘anti-comedian’, Neil Hamburger’s aggressive stage manner and litany of tasteless jokes (many of which survive in his act only because he can’t be bothered to write new ones) have split audiences across the globe. Death metal bands have taken to using him as a warm-up act to whip audiences into a frenzy of hatred. Expect him to scrape the barrel of sick jokes about the dearly departed King of Pop. Warning: if you sit in the front row, you could end up with a drink in the face.
Neil Hamburger: Discounted Entertainer, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 15–28 Aug, 10.40pm, £12 (£11).
Jerry Sadowitz holds an entertainment triple crown of sorts. Not only is he a world-renowned magician (his sleight-of-hand skills are second to none), he’s also one of the UK’s finest comedians, and the most offensive act that’s able to pack out a major Festival venue like Assembly Hall. Of course he had to be our number one sick stand-up. Watching Sadowitz – a man to whom swearing comes as easily as breathing in and out – is a dark journey into distinctly dubious territories. Racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, even anti-Semitic (Sadowitz is a Scottish Jew), his act is a cathartic purge that frankly ignores any lines of acceptability. Not for everyone then, but he does reaffirm comedy’s crucial status as the only public forum in which you can really say anything, and for that we applaud the cranky old bastard.
Jerry Sadowitz: Comedian, Magician, Psychopath, Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 6–14 Aug, 9pm, £16.50–£19.50 (£15.50–£18.50).