Best comedy shows at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016
What to find the biggest laughs, from Daniel Kitson at The Stand to James Acaster at Pleasance Courtyard
This article is from 2016.
**UPDATE 18 Aug 2016**
The Fringe is well underway now and the reviews have been rolling in. Some shows from our preview turned out to be the hits they were expected to be, some shows not so much. The best place for you to find recommendations is at our Comedy Reviews page, which lists all the shows we've rated so far to help you navigate the programme and enjoy the best the Festival has to offer. We also have a number of Hitlisted Comedy shows in the listings section of the website.
We pick out some of the comedy shows that are already exciting us, from rude Aussies to off-kilter Scots and posh lefties to sitcom legends. This year, some old Fringe favourites are returning (hi there, Fern Brady and Bridget Christie), Daphne are back with a second show after slaying their debut year in 2015, and we predict the winner of this year's Edinburgh Comedy Award! Kind of …
Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do
With his underground hit from last year's Fringe, the Scottish comic is back with a show that will undoubtedly be both scary and scintillating.
Banshee Labyrinth, 6–28 Aug, 9.45pm
Just popping in to play two sell-out shows at the biggest venue in the Courtyard is the acclaimed US comic who is likely to amuse and appal you.
Pleasance Courtyard, 8 Aug, 3.45pm & 11.40pm
Daniel Kitson Presents an Insufficient Number of Undeveloped Idea Over Ninety Testing Minutes Starting at Noon
A rare appearance in the comedy section from the former Perrier winner who is taking time out from his theatrical duties to do precisely what it says in the title.
The Stand 3, 4–28 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), noon
Ahir Shah: Machines
He may be cut-glass of voice but his social leanings produce devastatingly sharp and potently vital stand-up as this 'new generation leftie polemicist' lets rip on all things nasty and mean.
Cabaret Voltaire, 4–28 Aug, 1.30pm
Daphne's Second Show
The innovative and downright hilarious sketch trio of Wang, Forbes and Fouracres deliver that (hopefully not) difficult second show after a whipcracking debut last Fringe.
Pleasance Courtyard, 3–28 Aug (not 15), 5.45pm
Tommy Tiernan: Out of the Whirlwind
After the Navan lad's improvisational experiment from last year, he makes his first-ever immediate return to the Fringe since scooping the Perrier in '98.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 5–28 Aug (not 12), 7.30pm
James Acaster: Reset
Nominated for the last four Edinburgh Comedy Awards, the Kettering wag is our early tip for glory this year having already given the Melbourne festival audiences an acclaimed version of this show.
Pleasance Courtyard, 3–28 Aug, 7.30pm
Sally Phillips & Lily Bevan: Talking to Strangers
Fringe comedy doesn't get much more Radio 4 than this as this talented pair, who deliver a series of comic monologues. You may recall Phillips from such things as Smack the Pony and Miranda.
Assembly George Square Studios, 15–21 Aug, 8pm
The Doug Anthony All Stars
The bawdy Australian musical comedy trio return to the Fringe after a lifetime away. Expect songs of a rudeness almost beyond measure.
Pleasance Courtyard, 3–14 Aug (not 8 & 9), 10pm
Bridget Christie: Mortal
Our Bridget is getting all gloomy as she ponders death. There will be jokes aplenty of course, don't fret.
The Stand, 5–29 Aug (not 15 & 16), 11am
I Don't Believe It! An Evening With Victor Meldrew
You may have thought he'd been put out to pasture, but the grumpiest man ever to be handed a BBC sitcom is back in the capable hands of Richard Wilson.
Assembly Roxy, 16–28 Aug (not 22), 5.30pm
Sean McLoughlin: Kamikaze
Expect a tsunami of opinions and jokes from a comic who deserves to be way bigger than he is right now.
Pleasance Courtyard, 3–28 Aug, 8.30pm
Sarah Kendall: Shaken
Back at the Fringe after her comedy award nomination last August, the Aussie spins a tale around the earthquake that hit her hometown in 1989.
Assembly George Square Studios, 3–28 Aug, 6.45pm
Spencer Jones is the Herbert in Proper Job / Spencer Jones Presents the Herbert in Eggy Bagel
Many people's favourite act from 2015, the clowny fellow brings us last year's show (Proper Job) for anyone who missed it as well as a brand new hour of anarchy.
Underbelly, 4–28 Aug (not 15), 5.20pm / The Hive, 4–28 Aug (not 15), 8.50pm
Mr Swallow: Houdini
Nick Mohammed's screeching, whining and truly annoying character act shouldn't really work, but does to wantonly hysterical effect. After his Dracula show, he now gets all escapological.
Pleasance Courtyard, 3–28 Aug, 7pm
Douglas Walker: Komischer
The Scottish guy from improv gang Racing Minds delivered a thoroughly unique and wildly off-kilter one-man sketchy debut and this one is likely to be even more, well, Komischer.
The Caves, 4–28 Aug (not 15), 5pm
Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud
The terribly clever stand-up is another 15 comedy award nominee who is set to shake the rafters off the Fringe. And he's playing the iconic Cabaret Bar which has produced a number of award winners in its time. Just saying …
Pleasance Courtyard, 3–28 Aug, 8pm
Fern Brady: Male Comedienne
One of the breakthrough Scottish acts from last Fringe, Brady's bunch of jokes should warrant further positive attention.
The Stand 2, 4–28 Aug (not 15), 12.10pm
Rab Florence and Iain Connell have entertained the Glasgow Comedy Festival lot with their entertaining slew of sketches and characters and now it's Embra's turn.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 4–14 Aug, 9pm