Two shows this year from the beloved man of lo-fi musical comedy with the high-laugh quotient. His usual brilliant sit-down/stand-up fare, David O’Doherty is Looking Up, is augmented by his debut on the one-man comic play scene. Rory Sheridan’s Tales of the Antarctica is set in 1917 and features the pitfalls and perils experienced by Ireland’s legendary snowy explorer.
David O’Doherty is Looking Up, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug (not 15), 7.20pm, £14–£15 (£12–£13). Previews 3–5 Aug, £6; Rory Sheridan’s Tales of the Antarctica, Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 3.20pm, £9.50–£10 (£8.50–£9). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.
As the ticket-price end of the Fringe gets ever wider and, occasionally, a wee bit on the riskily expensive side for an hour’s entertainment, thank heavens for free fun. But, you’ll cry, free means rubbish doesn’t it? No, actually, it doesn’t. There is an increasing number of comics getting their August fix in buildings putting on free gigs such as the Laughing Horse venues, the Banshee Labyrinth, The Street, the Voodoo Rooms and Dragonfly. Established names such as Robin Ince, Aisle16, Norman Lovett, Tara Flynn and Lewis Schaffer will all simply be looking for cash to be chucked in a bucket at the end of their gigs. Fair play to them.
See freefringe.org.uk and www.edfringe.com for full details.
Mr Braunohler and Ms Schaal team up once more for a different kind of off-kilter comedy show as they do their own thing as well as inviting some other funny folks and music acts on for a bit of good old-fashioned ‘variety’. And if you simply can’t get enough of king Kurt, get along to his solo show which bears the not-contentious-at-all title of The Amish Guide to Fucking.
Hot Tub, Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 12–27 Aug, 7.35pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15)
The Amish Guide to Fucking, Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 6–28 Aug (not 16), 9.15pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7–£8). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £5.
Releasing himself from the shackles of his buddy Joe, Mr Buxton makes a bold return to the Fringe with his hugely popular London night, BUG, in which he does his irreverent thing while some new, hot and dangerous music videos play to the throng.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 25–29 Aug, 10.30pm, £15.
One of the breakthrough hits from last August, quiet Kiwi Sam Wills returns on the back of his Best Newcomer nomination. Expect little in the way of audience banter (of the spoken kind anyway) but much tittyfalarious physical jesting.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 15–28 Aug, 9.10pm, £10.50–£12.50 (£9.50–£11.50).
Promising his most serious show to date, the ex-Aisle16 performance poet gives us some Cynical Ballads, a forthright travelogue across the state of Britain today.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 6–28 Aug (not 16), 4.15pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.
Stand Down is the Buzzcocks chap’s first Fringe show in absolute ages (though he was spotted laughing like a happy drain at a Sean Lock Pleasance show a few years back), which he will couple with an improv thing at the Gilded Balloon.
The Stand, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–28 Aug (not 15, 22), 8.25pm, £12. Previews 3 Aug, 10pm & 4 Aug, 7.40pm, £11.
Another sketch group that came right out of the blue to tickle us pink in 2010 aims to capitalise on that glory with more exquisite broken comedy.
The Caves, Cowgate, 0131 556 5375, 6–28 Aug (not 17), 4pm, £8–£9 (£7–£8). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £5.
Back after a lengthy absence, the US guy you may well have seen in The Wrestler and/or Flight of the Conchords is here for some low-key banter and tossing off an endless stream of seemingly effortless one-liners.
The Stand III & IV, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 16–28 Aug, 3pm, £10.
Musical comedy has been dying on its flat-noted behind of late, but Helm could be the Alice Cooper-obsessed man to save the day. Bring some cough sweeties along in case his voice packs in with all that shouting.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug (not 10, 17), 4pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£11). Previews 3–5 Aug, £6.
One of the undoubted quirky treats of last year, the antipodean who is no relation whatsoever to David (even though they’ve written a book together: weird?) blasts back with the big questions of today. This time it’s What is Soil Erosion?
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 6–28 Aug (not 16), 8.45pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.
A big national tour is penned in for the autumn, so the Godzilla impersonator is returning to the Fringe with a series of warm-up gigs. See him up close and personal before all you can spot is a speck of Omid from the back row of a massive hall.
The Stand III & IV, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 18–28 Aug, 7.50pm, £10.
The finest physical duo in the funny business do more of their buttoned-up cotton comedy thing by charging around In the Middle of No One.
Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 6–29 Aug (not 15), 9pm, £13–£14 (£12–£13). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £5.
She went fully on the attack last year with a show that platformed her tougher side and it earned her a shiny award nomination. Which Josie will be in town this year?
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 6–28 Aug (not 15, 22), 7pm, £10–£12. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £7.
One of the sure-fire safe bets of the Fringe as the man they call Alun brings us some affable fare. Whether any double denim will be on display is a matter for his own conscience.
The Stand, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–29 Aug (not 15), 6.50pm, £10.
The 2009 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner is here with yet another ‘slut’-entitled show. This time it’s Masterslut. Poems, films and a little bit of non-threatening audience touching are on the agenda.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug (not 15), 9.45pm, £12–£14 (£11–£13). Previews 3–5 Aug, £6.50.
A contemplative Capurro is in town to recall his late mother, the life and soul of many a party, in a show that you probably still won’t be able to take your own parents to.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 8pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8–£9). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.
Everyone’s favourite not-Welsh stand-up uses this year’s Fringe to showcase some new material he fancies trying out. It will, of course, be a million times better than many of the programme’s ‘fully-developed’ hours.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 19–27 Aug, 7.45pm, £15 (£12.50).
The thorn in the side of ‘authority’ gives us a two-hour show related to his journey to the Middle East as he considers what makes an effective separation barrier.
The Bongo Club, Holyrood Road, 0131 557 2827, 8–20 Aug, 7.30pm, £14.50 (£10).
The man who will go down in the history books as the first Free Fringe act to get a spot on an Edinburgh Comedy Award shortlist returns with the fully-paid big boys to do more of his jovial physical schtick.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 6–28 Aug, 7pm, £11–£12 (£9.50–£11). Previews 3–5 Aug, £6.
Another one who’s been away from the Fringe for too long is the comic actress who played the nervy Judith in Ideal. Here she drops into a Youth Club with another potpourri of carefully crafted characters.
The Stand V, Picardy Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–28 Aug (not 15), 3.50pm, £9 (£8). Preview 3 Aug, 5.50pm, £8 (£7).
Having scooped the big prize last year after being nominated for the umpteenth time, Kano could easily have wielded the winner’s prerogative and not bothered coming back. Gratifyingly, he’s here for the bulk of August indulging in a hearty bit of Manscaping.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 12–26 Aug (not 22), 8.50pm, £17.50 (£15.50).
It only feels like yesterday that the Fife lad was doing open spots at local comedy clubs but now he has a BBC3 sitcom pilot under his belt, is playing the Glasgow Pavilion in the autumn and is back at the Fringe for his third solo show.
Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 7.35pm, £11.50–£13.50 (£10–£11). Preview 3 Aug, £7.50.
He insists that he’s not a twat or a cock or a prick. But Josh Howie is fully aware that he’s a dick. After all, his show is called I Am a Dick and features a series of socially awkward scenarios that have allowed him to reach that painful conclusion.
The Stand V, Picardy Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–28 Aug (not 15), 6.20pm, £9 (£8). Previews 3 Aug, 8.25pm & 4 Aug, 1.40pm, £8 (£7).
Since last year’s triumphant run of My Dad Was Nearly James Bond, Bishop Snr has sadly passed away. This revisit will have an added poignancy.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 5–14 Aug, 9.10pm, £14 (£12.50). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £11.
The self-proclaimed Housewife Surrealist has dressed up as Charles II on stage and accidentally worked for five years at the Daily Mail. What insanities await this year?
The Stand II, North St Andrew Street, 0131 558 7272, 5-28 Aug (not 15), 4.40pm, £8 (£7). Preview 4 Aug, 5pm, £7 (£6).
One of the country’s most fluid and naturally funny comics with a natty line in 70s shaded specs might have an eye on a prize or two with his latest stand-up affair, Carl Donnelly 3: Carl Donnelier! Don’t think he’ll win anything for easy on the eye/tongue show title though.
Udderbelly’s Pasture, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 6–29 Aug (not 15), 7.50pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11). Previews 3–5 Aug, £7.
Two comics whose tastes were too bold for a national TV channel that had asked them to write some sketches. Sticking Sarah Campbell and Amy Hoggart into a cave might well be the only answer.
The Caves, Cowgate, 0131 556 5375, 6–28 Aug (not 17), 4.55pm, £6.50. Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £5.
Pescatarian comic Sparks was in the US version of Queer as Folk and performed CPR on an elderly chap at LA International Airport. Evolution Overdrive is his Edinburgh debut featuring a very specific take on pop culture.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 10.45pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.
Whether he’s talking at length about racist shire horses or conducting elongated one-sided phone calls, you know you’ll have to strap yourself in for an evening with Mr Foot.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 6-28 Aug (not 16), 7.40pm, £6.50–£11 (£6-£10.50). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.
The Behemothers are back after not being here for a bit, promising (though they haven’t actually said as much) weird impersonations, actual audience involvement and jolly off-kilter set-ups and smackdowns.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 4.45pm, £9–£11 (£7.50–£9.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.
He described our review of last year’s Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming as ‘slightly pissy’ but we believe much kissing and making-up will occur when he asks, What is Love Anyway?
Udderbelly’s Pasture, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 6–29 Aug, 8.50pm, £12.50–£14.50 (£10.50–£12.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £8.
Using video lecture, stand-up, song and verse, this is Aisle16er Clare’s guide on How to be a Leader, in which he explains how he escaped a tooled-up heckler, reveals the Rules of Leadership and pays tribute to some of history’s most influential women.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 6–28 Aug (not 15), 8.55pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £6.