Tag Archives: Best Comedy 2016

The Birthday Girls answer Punchline’s Burning Questions

15 Aug

wp-1471333881847.jpgWhat is the best advice for a new performer in Edinburgh?

LOVE YOUR SHOW. You are the only person who has to do it every day. Only worry about the things you can control, which at the Edinburgh Fringe is next to nothing, so just try and have a nice time. Remember to pack vegetables and eat them every day or you will die half way through (wine is not a vegetable).

What is the best advice for a new festival goer?

Layers are your friend, Edinburgh is freezing on the outside but boiling hot whenever you step inside any venue. Check out the free fringe, there are some brilliant (and also some terrible shows) but they’re all worth seeing ‘cos they’re free! And obviously check out Birthday Girls, we’ll be here every year until we die and when we die visit our graves, we’ll be buried in the Pleasance Courtyard.

What do you have to have in your fridge during August?

Apart from vegetables our faves are: lemon and ginger too soothe our voices from all the hilarious shouting we do, Lucozade Sport because sketch comedy is technically a form of sport (and also it’s one of your five a day) and crisps. Cos we like our crisps ice cold.

What is the weirdest after-show comment you have had from an audience member?

A guy in the courtyard the other day told us that he HATES sketch comedy but he LOVED our show. We’re taking down the sketco haters one at a time.

Which living person would you like to spot in your audience?

Our Mums. We just want them to be proud of our life choices.

What is the best non-Fringe thing about the city of Edinburgh?

The Scottish breakfasts. So many great items you don’t get in an English breakfast. Tattie scones yes please.

How do you relieve Fringe cabin fever?

Walk up Arthurs seat and breathe that sweet Scottish air.

Who or what last made you laugh like a hyena at the Fringe?

Our Fringe Flatmate, Emma Sidi. She did a great performance piece in the kitchen with a mackerel and some lentils called ‘What Am I Gonna Have for Lunch?’.

Tell us about your 2016 show.

It’s called SH!T HOT PARTY LEGENDS! There’s sketches, dancing and shots. It’s raucous, it’s fun, it’s a party show!

What are the best shows at the Fringe apart from yours?

Mae Martin is doing a work in progress, Daniel Cook on the Free Fringe, Emma Sidi, Beasts in Mr. Edinburgh, Suzi Ruffell, Lolly Adefope.

When you go home and your friends say “How was Edinburgh?”, what will you say?

We usually need two weeks to recover the power of speech but when we do we will make very enthusiastic sounds.

Catch The Birthday Girls: Sh!t Hot Party Legends at 9.45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard until 28 August, and as part of Massive Lazy Girls at 11.30pm 24 – 26 August only

Punchline Recommends Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely to Die

12 Aug

Photograph of Felicity Ward

Words by Suzy Romer

Felicity Ward treats us to an hour of polished, friendly stand-up with steady laughs from beginning to end. The overall show is structured around an eventful day in London but she packs in all sorts of treats along the way.

She shares personal stories and wider truths, but crucially covers some topics that are rarely discussed in a kind, accessible way. Mental health and social relationships are explored with cheerful curiosity and there is no place for taboos or negativity. She provides laughs for everyone but she also creates a phenomenon where individual audience members go into special peels of giggles as they recognise ideas and feelings that Felicity has put into words for the first time.

I saw this show with a mixed-aged audience who had been utterly drenched in the queue beforehand. Right from the start, everyone was welcomed and brought into the comedy zone and this atmosphere of fun and funny was the perfect antidote.

Catch Felicity Ward: 50% More Likely to Die at 9pm at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August

Punchline Recommends: Nish Kumar- Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud

9 Aug

Photograph of Nish Kumar

Words by Suzy Romer

Nish Kumar’s show is a joyous reunion with his Edinburgh audience; we have missed each other! It’s almost a rush of relief to hear someone talk sensibly about Brexit with unfettered intelligence. His enquiring mind and thorough research (think of Bridget Christie or Paul Sinha on History Revision, R4) combine to produce laughs, squeaks, winces and chuckles of recognition and revelation as he re-examines things we thought we knew from the media. How does he do it? Often by rephrasing ideas and recent events with sparkling wit and common sense, but this combination feels like some sort of prohibition cocktail in a “post factual age”. On several occasions, the audience breaks into spontaneous applause for his perfectly poised jokes with truth in their belly, and as anyone who knows classic Edinburgh audiences, that is the equivalent of a standing ovation anywhere else.

If you like programmes like Dead Ringers and The News Quiz (oh Sandi I miss you so much…), Nish Kumar is the next level. He explores the tricky topic of being happy to be British and trying to reconcile that with having any sort of knowledge of Britain’s dirty history of grabbing anything it can get its hands on from the rest of the world. (Have you ever noticed that the only British part of the British Museum is its name?)  It’s no easy task to make some of the material funny but Nish somehow brings a light touch even to tragedies which affected members of his own family. He leads us into difficult subjects using humour to enlighten us on our own censored history. He also gets his teeth into the “lad culture” of the ‘90s (does anyone apart from me remember Robert Newman and David Baddiel being dragged into it?) It is the first time I have heard anyone go back to analyse what was really going on and Nish’s elegant survey of what was essentially re-packaged old sexual stereotypes helped me to realise that the proponents of new laddism smelt like rats because because they were rats. THANK YOU Nish.

He tells us his show has a message for the first time which is to be angry with the right people. When it comes to explaining society’s ills, it’s so much easier to blame hipsters and immigrant neighbours (who are right beside us) for problems which are almost always caused by those ever-forgiven people, rich white men. The crucial follow-up message is that effective dialogue requires respect, and Nish Kumar is the champion of comedy with respect. Watch him as he leaves the prejudiced, self-titled “edgy” brigade in the shadows by simply shining more.  Perhaps his greatest gift to the audience is to get our intellectual cogs turning. They stay turning long after the show.  You will be hard-put to find a fuller exploration of subjects that we need to discuss right now, and there is no one who makes it more enjoyable than Nish Kumar.

Nish Kumar is on at 8pm at the Pleasance Courtyard throughout August. Click here for more information and tickets

The Best Shows at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe

28 Jul

The magic is about to start again and it’s time for your annual menu of events from Punchline. It includes some discoveries since last year as well as some classics. No doubt this year’s discoveries will become classics by next year…

 

Larry Dean: Farcissist

Pleasance Courtyard, 7.15pm

Remember the ice challenge on Facebook? Larry Dean is like that on stage; refreshing, surprising and occasionally shriek-inducing. He’s also as soft as a teddy and hard as nails. Larry will be the next comedy superstar. @larrydeancomedy

 

Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do

Banshee Labyrinth, 9.45pm

This is a tricky one to recommend because it’s not your normal comedy show. We don’t often use the word edgy but we will for this boundary-smashing comic. We can’t tell you what it’s about as it will spoil the show but as the man himself said, there will be walk outs. @MrRichardGadd

 

Sofie Hagen: Shimmer Shatter

Liquid Room Annexe, 7.50pm

Go and see the “Guilty Feminist” presenter whose podcasts might change your life. She keeps it real and gives you a new angle, reminding you that there’s another way to see the world. If you want to enjoy her wry intelligence ahead of the show, follow her on Twitter @SofieHagen.

 

Adam Hess

Heroes @ The Hive, 4.10pm

Adam Hess is the best supplier of free jokes on Twitter. With his bouncing energy, he is one of the main players in the much needed upcoming comedy yoof. His star is rising, so see him now if you want to show off about it in a few years’ time. @adamhess1

 

Jack Barry

Just the Tonic at The Mash House, 6.40pm

Jack’s self-depreciating, friendly manner belies his clever, occasionally twisted mind. He gives the impression of being your mate as he shares his personal view of the world and you’ll be reminded of what he said for days after the show. If you like a bit of sneaky profundity, he’s your man. @JBazzler

 

Fern Brady: Male Comedienne

The Stand, 12:10pm

We wouldn’t like to get into a fight with Fern Brady but we would kind of enjoy being defended by her. Sharp as a knife, with a style that’s different from other comics, you can’t categorise her in any of the comedy ratpacks. Surf on a new comedy wave with Fern Brady. @FernBrady

 

Casting Call Woe

Gilded Balloon at the Museum, 4.30pm

A privileged glimpse into the crazy world of minor acting roles where lazy scriptwriters let loose all their prejudices at once. The show is based on twitter account and viral blog sensation @ProResting. You’ve got to see it to believe it, and even then you won’t believe it. Each day, a different guest attends to share their most outrageous audition stories, so if you think you’ve had a bad day at work …

 

Burnistoun Live at the Fringe

Gilded Balloon, 9pm (4 – 16 August only)

Get along to this sketch group which pokes fun at the dodgier side of Scottish life. Don’t worry about how to pronounce Bunistonoun – it doesnae exist. A fairly rare opportunity to see these TV guys in an intimate setting. @Burnistoun

 

Then there are Punchline’s ALL TIME favourites:

 

Katherine Ryan (work in progress)

The Stand, 6.05pm (4-13 Aug only)

If you like the thrill of a fairground death-swoop ride and your laughs ripped out of you, Katherine Ryan will give you comedy that is as sharp and as terrifying as her heels. Be among the first to see her brand new material here. @Kathbum

 

Nish Kumar: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud

Pleasance Courtyard, 8pm

Tolkein said that “The most improper job of any man… is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.” Nish Kumar argues that comedians should not be politicians but with sparkling charm and wit, he gives you a better commentary on life in the UK than anything on BBC news. He’s also fucking funny. @MrNishKumar

 

Cardinal Burns

Pleasance Courtyard, midnight (23 – 26 August only)

Of course they’ve been on TV, but these guys have hysteria-inducing charisma onstage. Expect high energy comedy from performers who just morph into each new character and blow you away again and again. But remember, don’t try these jokes at home. @CardinalBurns

 

Bridget Christie: Mortal

The Stand, 11am

Beloved Bridget is back, a sort of brisk-mannered guru whose guide to life has audiences of all descriptions in thrall. She’s silly, she’s profound… she’s just what you need to make your morning scintillate. Don’t miss the best part of the day. Originally this was supposed to be work in progress about death ‘but then we voted to leave the EU, which is worse than death, and so I’ve re-written it.’ @BridgetChristie

 

Birthday Girls: Sh!t Hot Party Legends

Pleasance Courtyard, 9.45pm

If you don’t know these gals yet then GET A WIGGLE ON because they are a Fringe fun one stop shop. The title of the show could be a list of word associations to describe their comedy – hot comedy in a party atmosphere with a surprising quantity of jokes about poo. Three legends for the price of one! @BdayGirlsComedy

 

BEASTS Present Mr Edinburgh 2016

Pleasance Dome, 7pm

Oh the delicious anticipation of ruthless competition and monumental, messy arguments as the three lads we know and love tussle to become Mr Edinburgh. Scientific research and anecdotal evidence concur on this; Beasts prove that nice boys are the biggest beasts of all. @BEASTScomedy

 

Luisa Omielan

EICC, 9.30pm (26 & 27 August only)

This show is a rally to joy and a celebration of wanting what we’ve got as well as getting what we want. We want Luisa and we’ve got her right here in Edinburgh, for two nights only! Catch hit shows ‘What Would Beyoncé Do?!’ and ‘Am I Right Ladies?!’ at the EICC @luisaomielan

 

Tom Binns

Assembly George Square, 8pm

Tom Binns is like a bottle of Bollinger. Actually, he IS dry and bubbly, but what we mean is it doesn’t matter how often you go back because you know you’re getting the best. He makes it look effortless but this is world class character comedy. @tombinns

 

Lou Sanders

Pleasance Dome, 8.10pm

Another corker of a title from our favourite meandering meditator. Don’t be deceived by the dippy demeanor. She can and does do whatever she wants and doesn’t give two hoots about what anyone thinks. Happiness is an hour with Lou. @lousanders

 

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