2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Comedy highlights

This article is from 2012

Fringe comedy highlights

Tim Key

Tim Key, Andrew Doyle, Andrew Maxwell, Dylan Moran and more

Tim Key

Reprising his monumental Masterslut from last year, the former Coward delivers what can quite literally be described as a clean show. If you were there in 2011 and know someone who’s going afresh this time, don’t spoil it for them, yeah? And in a twist that evokes his sidekicking past, he hooks up with Alex Horne for some sort-of chat show doings.
Masterslut: Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 16–21 Aug, 11.30pm, £14 (£12); Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 23–25 Aug, 11.15pm, £14 (£12); Horne and Key and … , Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 14 Aug, 7.30pm, £12 (£11.90). For all shows, call 0131 556 6550.

Andrew Doyle

Last year, Doyle’s show featured some pretty ripe comedy bravado during a Crash Course in Depravity, while for this August he’s doing Whatever it Takes. Bold words from a daring comic.
The Caves, Cowgate, 0131 556 5375, 5–26 Aug (not 14), 8pm, £6.50–£7.50 (£6.50). Previews 2–4 Aug, £5.

Andrew Maxwell

One of the most reliably gifted comedians of this generation storms the Assembly George Square stage with That’s the Spirit after laying some brilliant and swiftly-written chatter about the 2011 riots there last year. And he still does a mean Leith accent.
Assembly George Square, 0131 623 3030, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 9.05pm, £15–£16 (£14–£15). Previews 1–3 Aug, £9.

The Beta Males

If a lightning-sharp narrative comedy tale is your preferred bag of laughs, then you won’t find much better than these chaps. Last year’s train-based fun is sequeled by a space race lark.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 5.45pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

Cardinal Burns

You might have seen this duo on telly with their eponymous E4 show and such glorious heights of fame mean they can only squeeze us in for less than a week. Get those tickets quick as Seb and Dustin prepare to blow some minds.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 20–25 Aug, 8.20pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9).

Dylan Moran

One of several Perrier winners treading boards at the 2012 Fringe, the Navan-born Edinburgher says Yeah, Yeah to life’s daftness with his trademark surreal wit. Even after all these years (and all those films and TV comedies), he’s still top of the class when it comes to an uncompromising vision about what stand-up should really be about.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, 0844 871 3014, 15, 23 Aug, 8pm, £24.

George Ryegold’s God-in-a-Bag

Having swiftly spotted that it could be rather career-limiting to continually play the character of a gore-obsessed medic on a stand-up stage, Toby Williams has shoved his creation into a comedy-play scenario. This one also features Hattie Hayridge (formerly of Red Dwarf fame) and Milo McCabe (who was previously a Portuguese reality TV star at the Fringe who wrestled wild cats and went by the name of Philberto).
Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 1.45pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6.

The Horne Section

Upset that Alex Horne isn’t doing a solo show at this year’s Fringe? Try not to be too down as he’ll be floating around doing various other funny things, including his now staple music/comedy bonanza that was simply made for his name. He’s also doing something with former protégé Timothy Key, so keep your eyes peeled open for that.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 9–22 Aug, 11.15pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).

James Acaster

Definitely one to watch this year after a delightfully off-kilter debut in 2011 with Amongst Other Things. This time around, the rising star of the Kettering stand-up scene (we assume there must be such a thing) will be quite Prompt. And so should you be with your ticket-purchasing.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–26 Aug, 8.15pm, £10–£12 (£8.50–£10.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

Jim Jefferies

He’s gone from being punched in the head on a Manchester stage to making a proper splash in Hollywood and with news that he’s just been awarded a sitcom in the States, the sky appears to be the limit for this very few-holds-barred Aussie comic. Still, rumour has it that young Jim has slowed up on the old booze intake which puts some of his earlier routines into a bit of a different light.
Assembly Hall, Mound Place, 0131 623 3030, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 9pm, £16–£17.50 (£15–£16). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £10.

The Joy of Sketch

Love sketch comedy but not sure quite who to see? That’s pretty lazy thinking, really. But for you layabouts, here is the ideal pair of shows as some of the festival’s prime exponents of said form do some bits and bobs for your sloth-induced pleasures.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 10, 17 Aug, 10.30pm, £12 (£10).

Late ‘n’ Live

Still the most notorious late night comedy platform in the western world, the legendary Late ‘n’ Live even had its own TV show this year, celebrating the crazy goings-on down the years. See relative newcomers and established comics alike fill their breeks in front of comedy’s version of the coliseum.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square, 0131 622 6552, 4–27 Aug, 1am, £13–£15 (£12–£14). Preview 3 Aug, £10.

Magnus Betnér

This Swedish comedy master made his debut here two Fringes ago and it’s a treat to have him back as he discusses more of the difficult subjects which resulted in him receiving death threats from those nasty far right-wing types.
Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13, 16), 8.45pm, £10 (£9). Preview 2 Aug, 9.30pm, £9 (£8).

Mick Miller & Jimmy Cricket

Now this is what we call old school comedy. Two veterans of the British game team up for a single night of light entertainment, with Miller in particular capitalising on newfound fame having played Johnny Vegas’ sly dad in Ideal. And will JC do his left/right shoe thing? Surely there’s more to him than that?
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 18 Aug, 8.20pm, £12 (£10).

Nick Helm

With a couple of very successful Fringes under his belt, the shouty musical comic will look to consolidate on his cultish glory by declaring This Means War! And will he be able to match his 2011 achievement of officially telling the Funniest Joke of the Fringe? If you see him in the street, don’t talk to him: he’ll be trying to rest his voice from all that bellowing.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 8, 14), 5.30pm, £12.50–£13.50 (£11–£12.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £7.

Nina Conti

For those who think ventriloquism is a clapped-out theatrical form, cop a load of this as Conti masks some dark undertones with a giggly stage persona to stirring effect. Dolly Mixtures features her daughter, a handyman and a stray dog. Sort of.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13, 20), 8.30pm, £13–£14 (£11.50–£12.50). Previews 1–3 Aug, £6.


The pranksterish trio claim that this is their Last Show Ever! Suppose we should take them at their word, but where would the Fringe be without their jovial brand of sketches, songs and downright silliness? In addition, they’ll also be embarking on a Flatshare Slamdown which, you’d have to confess, sounds very Pappy’s.
Pleasance Dome, Bristo Square, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 8.20pm, £12.50–£14 (£11–£12.50). Previews 1 & 2 Aug, £6.

Paul Foot

The arch surrealist rambler will drip more liquid comedy onto his fanbase-connoisseurs with the stirringly entitled Kenny Larch is Dead. Whether we will find out who Mr Larch was and how he came to be deceased is probably unlikely. For those who unreasonably demand it, this will stridently not be a greatest hits show, so there’ll be no chat here about moist homemade cake and bigoted Shire horses.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 15), 7.30pm, £10.50–£12 (£9.50–£11). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.

Reginald D Hunter

The dreaded phrase ‘work-in-progress’ is not to be feared here. If you’ve seen Reg D in his pomp, even the tightest show features him almost questioning his material along the way and continually gauging his audience to veer off into exciting new terrain. We trust he’ll be back to his barnstorming best. Joining him for a bit of a warm-up in the venue’s Cabaret Bar is the director of Eddie Izzard’s early, funny DVDs and Reg’s former flatmate, John Gordillo.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 1–27 Aug (not 13), 9.20pm, £13.

Return of the Lumberjacks

A decade and a half ago (or 15 years, in stand-up parlance), three Canadians played a broom cupboard at The Stand. Craig Campbell, Glenn Wool and Stewart Francis were the funny gents involved and they’ve decided to get back together on a slightly roomier stage. They are down to do half an hour each, which makes this one of the most quality-filled bargains of the month.
Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 8.10pm, £15 (£12). Preview 2 Aug, £14 (£11).

Sarah Kendall

The UK-based Aussie 2004 Perrier nominee has been a little quiet on the Edinburgh front of late, not having performed here since 2007. But then she’s been away on serious business having a baby. With Get Up, Stand Up, Kendall will aim to get her Fringe mojo right back on track.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 8.30pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

Stephen K Amos

If you like your comedy to be riddled with the feelgood factor, this man will have you smiling all the way home. Even if it is a ‘work-in-progress’, it will still be around 37% happier than most Fringe shows. The Stand III & IV, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 2–25 Aug (not 8, 13 & 14, 20 & 21), 9.15pm, £10.

Stewart Lee

In recent years, Mr Lee has been doing the whole ‘work-in-progress’ thing at The Stand but this time around he’s well into a proper theatre stride of his Carpet Remnant World, as he wonders aloud what life has left to offer him and, just as pertinently, what he has to offer it.
Assembly Rooms, George Street, 0844 693 3008, 3–26 Aug (not 13, 20), 6.05pm, £15 (£12). Preview 2 Aug, £14 (£11).

Through the Looking Screen

A one-woman operetta about internet stalking might not seem like an obvious comedic form or topic, but this story of our times is given a powerhouse treatment by English National Opera’s Claire Pressland with Anne Chmelewsky on penning duties. She previously worked with the lad Gervais on an opera version of The Office if that’s something that floats your pipe.
Underbelly, Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, 4–26 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 3.35pm, £10–£11 (£8.50–£9.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £6.

Trevor Noah

Arriving with the full backing of one Edward Izzard, this rising South African stand-up star has gone for a mildly contentious title with his full Fringe debut. With The Racist, (see?), Noah gives us a coming-of-age tale like no other as he ponders growing up in a post-apartheid nation.
Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 4–27 Aug (not 13), 7.15pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 1–3 Aug, £5.

Where Once Was Wonder

Daniel Kitson hasn’t done a straight Fringe stand-up show for a while now, concentrating on all that intriguing theatre-based stuff, but the sensitive 2002 Perrier winner will no doubt have plenty to say for himself on his return. Just don’t get squiffy and sit in the front row.
The Stand, York Place, 0131 558 7272, 5–26 Aug (not 10 & 11, 17 & 18, 24 & 25), 11.59pm, £10 (£9).