Punchline recommends the Pin: Backstage

15 Aug

 Photograph of The PinWords by Suzy Romer

And it’s another round of top-notch silliness from start to finish from The Pin comedy duo this year. I am going to allow myself a comparison to Webb and Mitchell in the days when they did their comedy apprenticeship over more than a decade Edinburgh. Why? Because if you LIKE their sort of comedy, then don’t wait until they get to TV. They are doing their brilliant thing right now and it would be a shame to miss seeing them from the front few rows of a cosy theatre. There’s is at least as much comedy in their expressions as in the tightly-packed script and when one of them goes out of his way to do something extra funny, it is a delight to watch the other one trying to maintain suitable comedy decorum. There’s a running narrative to keep things going, fun with two actors playing many characters simultaneously, surreal stage entries and exits, punchlines that make you go, “Ahhh!” and some surprises that show their joyous originality. Don’t be fooled by the natural, carefree delivery. This sort of daftness is very difficult to do well and these lads are dependably good.

Many of the shows getting praise at the moment have deep serious moments with tear-filled eyes and revelations which is great, but if you need a rest from all that and want to see some utterly professional nonsense then look up The Pin. THAT’S the badger.

P.S. There are a couple of adult references but it is recommended for 8+ and would be a good option for older children who are past kids’ shows but still not ready for main comedy events.

Catch The Pin: Backstage at the Pleasance Courtyard at 8pm througout August.

Read their answers to our questions here

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Punchline recommends Darren Harriott: Visceral

15 Aug

Photograph of Darren HarriottWords by Suzy Romer

Spending an hour with Darren Harriott is as relaxing and entertaining as a great conversation with friends. His warm, easy-going manner has the audience laughing from his first words and before we know it, we are threading in and out of stories about his childhood and his current life in London. He constantly surprises us into laughter with his original viewpoint and adds a refreshing dash of common sense to unexamined cultural norms.

His flow and engaging energy never falter, which is a stunning achievement for a comic who presented his first full-length show at the Fringe last year. He talks about his experiences with an open simplicity of emotion that I have rarely seen, or rather felt. He deals with the difficult subjects of absent fathers and teenage gangs so that everyone in the audience can live the stories with him rather than merely glimpse an unrecognisable Other Life. He keeps his audience with him all the time by explaining references that different age groups might not get and we laugh together and at ourselves, not at each other. Darren Harriott combines intelligence and depth with a lightness of touch and flawless professionalism. I couldn’t ask for more.

Catch Darren Harriott: Visceral at The Pleasance Courtyard at 9.30pm througout August.

Punchline recommends Lazy Susan: Forgive Me, Mother!

13 Aug

Photograph of Lazy SusanWords by Suzy Romer

If you haven’t seen Lazy Susan before then this is the year to go. Every year there’s one show I have to see twice and this is it. They perform high-energy, engaging comedy with a freaky dark edge that sweeps you up from the beginning and takes you over completely for an hour of hysterical fun.

Celeste Dring and Freya Parker move in and out of formal sketches and their stage personas with skilful ease and apply their wicked sense of humour to fashionable concepts and popular expressions. They are particularly funny as wide-eyed, high voiced sisters who are cute and unsettling in equal measures. They also impersonate bad men too well to forget. Like all the best horror writers, they vary their subject matter until something really gets under your skin. The sketch that did it for me was one where a Ginger Rogers-like character tells a Fred Astaire-like character that he is repellent while he cheerily brushes off her words LIKE A PSYCHOPATH as if she were flirting with him. I hardly dare go back to the originals now.

The structure and writing of this show are absolutely flawless and as an audience member, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. These two performers know exactly how to make us laugh and keep us guessing until the bloody end, but perhaps I’ve said too much.

Catch Lazy Susan: Forgive Me, Mother! at Assembly George Square at 4.20pm througout August.

Punchline recommends Lou Sanders: Shame Pig

13 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

You have to be in a room with Lou Sanders at least once in your life because a Lou Sanders show is one of the defining experiences of the Fringe. She deals swiftly with stragglers and her sparky one liners are a joy to behold. Once everyone is paying proper attention she relaxes into her unique style of delivery which has a meandering sway as she picks subjects from here, there and everywhere to examine for our delight and then moves on.

She has found peace on a lot of difficult subjects in her life and you know what? It has made her comedy the funniest yet. At Punchline we have always loved Lou but this year she is beginning to shine as the very best version of herself. Her material about sex is free of taboos and filters and she says some stuff I haven’t heard ANYone say out loud before. I know I am not the only one thinking this because there are very loud cackles of recognition from around the room while the rest are laughing and learning. Lou’s wisdom comes through hands-on trial and error and she shares her failures and successes with a candid cheeriness that enchants the room and tickles funny bones we didn’t know we had.

Catch Lou Sanders: Shame Pig at Monkey Barrel 1 at 12.30pm throughout August.

Punchline recommends Alex Edelman: Just for Us

12 Aug

Photograph of Alex EdelmanWords by Suzy Romer

When Alex Edelman introduces himself as a Jewish comedian who spends a lot of time in New York, I immediately think joyfully of comedy heroes like the Marx Brothers and Moss Hart. It’s a shock when it turns out that the abuse he gets online and in real life is as repulsive as it was in the 1930s. He opens with straight-down-the-line smart, funny jokes before introducing, with charming reluctance, the central thrust of this year’s show. Earlier this year, Bridget Christie firmly encouraged this non-political young comedian to confront the hatred of Trump’s world in his show.

This is where Alex’s comic genius comes into play. He does what many of us feel we should do and takes decisive action with civility and optimism. I don’t want to give much away but the particular way he goes about it is so funny, so true to his own unusual personality and so brave that by the end of the show you come out with a thrilling, not to say frightening, adventure behind you. The ending is so satisfying you can practically chew it.

Alex is an amazing story teller and shares delicious details about Stephen Fry, Prince William and the BAFTAs with wry generosity and a mischievous sparkle in his eye. His warmth and hard-won wisdom make it abundantly clear that he is going places quickly and that it would be a good idea to see him now while he is still in the delightful Cabaret Bar at the Pleasance.

Catch Alex Edelman: Just for Us at 8pm at the Pleasance Courtyard throughout August

Read Alex’s answers to Punchline’s questions here

Punchline Recommends Sara Barron: For Worse

8 Aug

Photograph of Sara BarronWords by Iain McLaren

Sara began with an apology because her voice was a bit croaky but she needn’t have bothered. She was brilliant.

Sara treated us to an hour of open honesty about how she feels as a wife, a mother and a woman in a way that opens eyes and minds to the simple facts of life. Sara’s perspective is one most can identify with, at least in some way, though would rarely admit openly. Just remember romance isn’t dead but there is definitely room for improvement.

Her inclusiveness and ability to cut through the crap, combined with some truly brilliant stories, including her own attempt at writing a sexy story when she was a teenager, will keep you laughing and entertained for longer than the hour of the show.

Women need to hear this and men need to pay attention.

 

Catch Sara Barron: For Worse at Just the Tonic at The Tron at 3.40pm, throughout August

Punchline’s 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Recommendations

7 Aug

Here they are! Our picks for this year’s Fringe. As usual, we advise you to see these acts live as YouTube just doesn’t do them justice.

Photograph of Alex EdelmanAlex Edelman: Just for Us

With sizzling stories ranging from Stephen Fry and Prince William to Nazis, this bright young comic sheds blazing light on current themes in Britain and the U.S.

8pm, Pleasance Courtyard

Tickets and information

Punchline Q&A

 

 

Photograph of Lazy SusanLazy Susan: Forgive Me, Mother!

An hour of comic perfection with a twist of horror that will stay with you long after the show. Who says sketch is harmless?

4.20pm, Assembly George Square

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Photograph of Darren HarriottDarren Harriott: Visceral

Easy going hour of top notch comedy from this incredibly assured comedian. Only in his second Fringe, he already has star quality. Get in there.

9.30pm, Pleasance Courtyard

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Lou Sanders: Shame Pig

An afternoon delight with material as fascinating as it is explicit. Lou has a charismatic charm that has to be experienced live.

12.30pm, Monkey Barrel

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Photograph of Rosie JonesRosie Jones: Fifteen Minutes

After years of comedy experience behind the scenes as a TV writer, Rosie Jones is making a killer start to her stand up career with an impressive supply of wicked one-liners.

8.30pm, Pleasance Courtyard

Tickets and information

Punchline Q&A

 

 

Photograph of Tim KeyTim Key: Wonderdate

Worshipped by many, Tim Key recently made a splendid short film, Wonderdate, for the BBC. This is the live show along the same lines.

11.15pm, Pleasance Courtyard from 16th August

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Photograph of Suzi RuffellSuzi Ruffell: Nocturnal

If you haven’t seen her on TV yet, you will soon. Suzi upped her game last year and this may be your last chance to see her in a smaller venue.

9.45pm, Pleasance Courtyard

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Photograph of Kieran HodgsonKieran Hodgson:’75

Kieran Hodgson reinvents himself yet again, this time with a new perspective on Brexit.

8.15pm, Pleasance Courtyard

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Photograph of Laura LexxLaura Lexx: Trying

Laura Lexx has reached a new level in life and comedy. She whetted our appetite with her fantastic Punchline Q&A and we can’t wait to see this year’s show.

5.15pm, Gilded Balloon

Tickets and information

Punchline Q&A

 

 

Photograph of Foil, Arms and HogFoil, Arms and Hog: Craicling

They have had a gazillion YouTube hits and deservedly so. High energy and polished sketches from this switched-on trio.

9pm, Underbelly

Tickets and information

 

 

 

Photograph of Felicity WardFelicity Ward: Busting A Nut

We’ve been banging on about her for years. If you have seen her you’ll know why; if you haven’t, get a wiggle on.

9pm, Pleasance Courtyard

Tickets and information

Punchline Q&A

 

 

Most shows are on every day until 26th August and some have a day off. Please double check details and availability with the venue.

Punchline Quizzes The Pin

19 Jul

Photograph of The PinWho puts your pants in the washing machine?

A man called Ian Wentworth who we honestly can’t recommend.

Which words make you giggle or give you an inner flip of amusement?

Cackling too hard to answer this properly – we’ll let you guess which word set us off. (it’s ‘make,’ uh oh, off we go again!)

Tell us about your favourite addictions.

The sitcom Frasier and cocaine.

What’s your favourite comedy routine of all time?

Always sharing a little hug before we go on.

Where is your favourite place to go for food during the Edinburgh Fringe?

The Savoy Grill in London – hell of a commute but wow what a menu.

What’s the weirdest thing an audience member has ever said to you?

“My name is Ezekiel Prendergast, and am I a sorcerer and tailor of fine repute.”

What have you learned about life through performing at the Fringe?

Exploit the weaknesses of others and make good use of your tech time.

If you could be in a sketch with any two living comedians, who would they be and what would the sketch be about?

Tim Key and a clone of Tim Key and the sketch would be about how much to tip the waiter and how has Key been cloned.

Tell us about a coincidence or piece of luck that led you to where you are today.

We definitely wouldn’t be writing this in a waiting room in Carlisle if we hadn’t unluckily got on the wrong train.

Who are you most excited about seeing this year?

Ian Wentworth – gonna finally tell the guy to get lost.

What can you definitely advise us against doing in Edinburgh?

Trying to galvanise the community into re-instating the title of ‘King of the Scots’ and nominating yourself for the role.

 

Catch The Pin: Backstage at Pleasance Courtyard at 8pm, 1 – 27 August (not 11 or 20)

After three multi award-winning series on BBC Radio 4, ‘the next Mitchell and Webb’ (Times) are back at the Fringe with a brand-new show that’s ‘hysterical’ (Independent), ‘masterful’ (Sunday Times), and ‘gorgeously skewed’ (Guardian). Expect a ‘very classy, very funny’ (Telegraph) hour from the creators of BBC Three’s Oi, Leonardo! and writers for Famalam (BBC Three) and Tracey Ullman’s Show (BBC One). As seen on W1A (BBC Two) and Wannabe (BBC Three). ‘The most exciting new comedy duo working today’ (David Walliams). **** (Times). **** (Guardian). **** (Telegraph). **** (Sunday Times). **** (Chortle.co.uk). ***** (Skinny). ***** (List).

Punchline Quizzes Rosie Jones

18 Jul

Photograph of Rosie JonesWho puts your pants in the washing machine?

I do – my pants are currently in the washing machine as we speak! Ooo there’s nothing quite like the smell of clean laundry, is there?

Which words make you giggle or give you an inner flip of amusement?

So many words! In my Northern accent any word with a ‘u’ in sounds funny. ‘Bubble’ is one of my favourites; I feel a tickle in my mouth when I say it.

Tell us about your favourite addictions.

God, it’s quite embarrassing, but do you remember Candy Crush, the game that everybody was addicted to, about five years ago? Well, I’m still playing it. Every day. I’m on level 3350. It makes me feel a little queasy when I think of all the hours I’ve wasted on that game. But it relaxes me, and sometimes I need to escape into my little Candy Crush world.

What’s your favourite comedy routine of all time?

It’s a stone cold classic… ‘Four Candles’. My favourite routines play with words, and The Two Ronnies were insanely talented at this. In my own routines, I agonise over wording for hours on end. A joke is a jigsaw, and it’s my job as a comedian to provide the exact amount of pieces the audience needs to see the whole picture.

Where is your favourite place to go for food during the Edinburgh Fringe?

Mosque Kitchen – Every. Single. Day. I can’t tell you how nice it is, and the portion sizes are crazy generous. It’s also great when you need a big intake of veggies, which I sometimes forget to consume during the Fringe!

What’s the weirdest thing an audience member has ever said to you?

Usually, the audience is great, and at the end of a gig they say nothing but lovely things. But the other week somebody did come up to me and spent ten minutes mansplaining my own joke back to me…I was like, “yeh, I know why it’s funny, I bloody wrote it!”

What have you learned about life through performing at the Fringe?

I learnt so much last year: don’t start every single gig with a rum and coke, don’t let all your friends stay in your room during the most stressful month of your life and don’t stay out past five in the morning every day for a month! But the biggest lesson I learnt was to go with my comedy gut; if you find it funny, chances are, somebody else will.

If you could be in a sketch with any two living comedians, who would they be and what would the sketch be about?

Great, great question. So many choices, but I think I would have to go with French and Saunders. They are living legends and I grew up on a healthy dose of their sketch shows, The Vicar of Dibley and Ab Fab. French, Saunders & Jones…do you think they’d be up for that?!

I’d love to do one of their film parodies with them – their Silence of the Lambs sketch still cracks me up!

Tell us about a coincidence or piece of luck that led you to where you are today.

That’s interesting, I don’t think I’m here because of any coincidence or piece of luck, this has been seven year journey… actually, more of a twenty eight year journey! I am quite ‘lucky’ to have worked in the media industry (as a researcher) since I was twenty one, so I know a lot a lot of people in the business on a personal level… but that’s not really luck, that’s hard work.

Who are you most excited about seeing this year?

I’m excited to see so many people this year, it’s going to be quite a female dominated Fringe and a lot of my friends are taking their debut hour. My top picks are Heidi Regan and Sindhu Vee.

What can you definitely advise us against doing in Edinburgh?

Going out without a jacket or umbrella! Even if it looks sunny, chances are it’ll chuck it down at some point during the day. God bless the Scottish summer!

 

Catch Rosie Jones: Fifteen Minutes at Pleasance at 8.30pm, 1 – 26 August (not 13)

Rosie Jones is a comedian with a penchant for being mischievous. Her cerebral palsy doesn’t slow her down in the slightest. Catch her before she wobbles her way to stardom! As seen on 8 Out of 10 Cats and Silent Witness. Finalist: Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2018, Amused Moose Comedy’s National New Comic Award 2017. ‘It’s rare to see a comedian who exudes such joy’ (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk).

Punchline Quizzes Micky Overman

17 Jul

Photograph of Micky OvermanWho puts your pants in the washing machine?

I do. What?

Which words make you giggle or give you an inner flip of amusement?

Anything old-timey, like when I hear ‘jolly good’ in the real life present. Also when someone uses the word ‘dumb’ for a compliment. That’s the best.

Tell us about your favourite addictions.

Sleep. I love sleep. I don’t get enough sleep. So, basically, coffee.

What’s your favourite comedy routine of all time?

Oh that would be one by Dutch comedian Bert Visscher, who did a routine about working in a flower shop that was so dumb (see?!) it made me cry laughing. I love it so much I made my friend watch it, and he has no Dutch so he was like: what fresh hell is this?

Where is your favourite place to go for food during the Edinburgh Fringe?

It’s boring but Mosque Kitchen.

What’s the weirdest thing an audience member has ever said to you?

No one’s said anything weird necessarily, but I did have a female audience member tell me they didn’t like female comics and I had to go: I’m on next. And you know what? I did not change her mind.

What have you learned about life through performing at the Fringe?

That it’s possible to feel all the feelings at the same time. And that I’m able to handle that, because I’ve got amazing people around me.

If you could be in a sketch with any two living comedians, who would they be and what would the sketch be about?

Hugh Laurie and Amy Schumer. I think. I have no suggestions what that would look like, because I’m sure that combination makes no sense. What’s Hugh doing there? I don’t know, I just really liked him in Blackadder.

Tell us about a coincidence or piece of luck that led you to where you are today.

My Canadian VISA expired which meant I had to leave the country resulting in me not knowing what to do with my life, and panicking decided to move to London to try stand up. That’s pretty lucky.

Who are you most excited about seeing this year?

All the amazing ladies who are debuting besides me this year. Off the top of my head it’s: Heidi Regan, Catherine Bohart, Sarah Keyworth, Sindhu Vee, Rosie Jones, Maisie Adam, Olga Koch. And that’s just the ones I can think of.

What can you definitely advise us against doing in Edinburgh?

Tell yourself you’re gonna be healthy and exercise and not drink too much. Come on.

 

Catch Micky Overman: Role Model at Pleasance Courtyard at 10.30pm, 1 – 26 August (not 13)

Rising star Micky Overman presents her highly anticipated debut show. Being a nanny and raising a teenage girl, Micky figures out how to set an example when she herself has made some pretty questionable choices. She’ll try and discover the best path to become a cool and collected human woman. Expect devastating honesty, a hint of silliness, a ton of good advice and some absolute filth. Nominee: Chortle Best Newcomer 2018. Finalist: Funny Women and Leicester Square New Comedian 2016. ‘A keen comic mind’ (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk). ‘Brutal and dark’ (Bruce Dessau, BeyondTheJoke.co.uk).

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