Tag Archives: Best comedy at Edinburgh Fringe

In the Hot Seat: Edd Hedges

7 Aug

Photograph of Edd HedgesClose your eyes and picture Edinburgh. What do you see?

The Gilded Balloon. It’s the best place in Edinburgh I think. It’s like sexy Hogwarts. For me it’s like the home of comedy during the Fringe and the team who work there are the coolest people in the world. I normally just run around it until an adult tells me off.

What is the last thing that made you snort with laughter?

I’ve just moved into my flat for this year’s Edinburgh with my friends and fellow comics Adam Rowe and Dimitri Bakanov. There was a skate board. I’ve never seen three grown adults have more fun with a bit of wood on wheels.

Tell us about this year’s show.

It’s a true story about the scariest night of my life. It happened last year and I kind of kept it to myself and didn’t tell anyone until this year. The first person I told was my best friend and comedy sister Sofie Hagen. When I told her she asked if she could direct it and it’s just snowballed from there. I’m really proud of it and I’ve had so much fun traveling up and down the country with Hagen trying it out and working in cafes late at night. I’m just super excited to start showing it to people!

Who do you want to see this year?

This year I’m really excited to see Sarah Kendall, Dane Baptiste and Sean McLoughlin. They are all amazing!

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions?

Every year I get a baked potato from the Tempting Tatti. Chicken tikka, cheese, and half a tub of butter. Followed by my second fringe tradition – chest pains.

What is your getting ready music?

I don’t really listen to music pre-show. I like to be talking to someone, it calms me down a bit more. It’s a real problem with me. I get too excited and then I spend the first 30 seconds onstage smiling and hyperventilating. It’s good to just be chatting about the weather then go on and calm and happy.

If you could have any guest in your show, who would it be?


What is the best backhanded compliment you have had?

I did gigs in Germany a year ago. In the show I said ‘this is the first time I’ve performed in Germany’ after the show someone said ‘it was actually ok considering this is the first time you’ve ever performed stand up’

Who made you howl with laughter when you were a child?

A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Billy Connolly and Father Ted.

What should Donald Trump know?

LOADS. Like. Ok. Have you seen House of Cards? I’ve been watching it and thinking there’s no way Donny-T knows all that stuff. There’s so much stuff to know!

What do you do in Edinburgh that your parents wouldn´t approve of?

You mean besides the stranglings?

Catch Edd Hedges: Wonderland at 4pm at the Gilded Balloon throughout August

In the Hot Seat: Abigoliah Schamaun

7 Aug

Photograph of Abigoliah SchamaunClose your eyes and picture Edinburgh. What do you see?

I picture dusk, crepes, and sunrise. My first solo show starts at 7:40pm and the late night show I host, Spank!, keeps me out till about 5am every night. I spend the entire month on third shift.

The Fringe is a festival done completely in the dark for me.

What is the last thing that made you snort with laughter?

This tweet I’m trying to read in this video

I sent it around to all my friends and family at the time. No one thought it was nearly as funny as I did.

Tell us about this year’s show.

My show is called Namaste, Bitches and it’s about being a yoga instructor who loves musicals and drugs. So basically it’s about the things I love and my unhealthy relationship with all three.

Who do you want to see this year?

Tomás Ford, 5pm at the Gilded Balloon. He’s an Australian cabaret act that’s weird, high energy and sweaty. He’s my hero. I want to be like him…except…not Australian.

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions?

Steaks at The Abattoir Restaurant with my buddy and fellow comedian, James Loveridge. Also dancing ’til the wee hours of the morning on Thursdays at the Doddy & Rave in Underbelly.

It’s a big dance party and a great way to blow off steam. Sometimes they even have face painting!!!

What is your getting ready music?

Slow Ride by Foghat is my go-to. It has a driving beat but the lyrics remind you to pace your self, “take it easy”. It’s the best song to play before a show, as the gun goes off at the start of a marathon, or even for morning sun salutations. It. Is. The. TITS!

If you could have any guest in your show, who would it be?

Barbra Streisand. I used to have the VHS of Hello Dolly! the musical and she is amazing in that film. I watched it at least once a week as a kid and I want to thank her for making such a great film and being such a fierce woman.

What is the best backhanded compliment you have had?

 Person: I really liked your show.

Me: Thank you!

Person: No, I mean I really, REALLY liked it. You’re, like, funny.

Me: Yeah, that’s what I aim for.

Person: I just can’t believe I laughed so much. You’re good!

Me:…you know this is my job, right?

Who made you howl with laughter when you were a child?

My dad. He used to tell me a story about having a pet catfish and would pretend to be the catfish.

Another time we made up our own Olympic diving team, just the two of us, and invented our own tricks. The big closer was when you bent over, touched your toes, and fell sideways in the water. It was called “Pocket Knife”.

What should Donald Trump know?

 Given that it looks like he doesn’t have a clue, I just wish he knew something. ANYTHING!!!

We could start with the little fact that he’s in way over his head, doesn’t have the best interests of the American people at all, and should resign. I wish he knew that.

What do you do in Edinburgh that your parents wouldn´t approve of?

My mom’s going to be up for the first half of the Fringe this year so not much. I’m lucky to have parents that have always been supportive of my creative endeavors, tolerant of my weirdness, and understand I’m an adult who can make her own decisions. I’m happy I have that.

Catch Abigoliah Schamaun: Namaste, Bitches at 9.40pm at Underbelly throughout August

In the Hot Seat: David Trent

21 Jul

Photo of David TrentIt’s two weeks until the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe! In the run up to the most exciting event on the planet, we will be asking our favourite acts some searching questions. Who better to start with than one of our all- time favourites, the mighty David Trent.

Close your eyes and picture Edinburgh. What do you see?

I see a massive fuck off mountain with city built into the side of it with a big bridge and a newsagent at the end of it where you can get a banana condom.

What is the last thing that made you snort with laughter?

I’ve not snorted with laughter at anything for a while, but I have snorted with pride and trying not to cry when I watch someone I like win at Wimbledon, or when I listened to McEnroe’s Desert Island Discs, oh my goodness, I love Johnny Mac.

Tell us about this year’s show.

I’ll tell you the truth, it’s my best one and it doesn’t have a single routine in it that I don’t love. Every other show I’ve done has had a bit in it that I’ve had to hold my breath and go “right, head down, you know this bit is shit but it’ll be over in ten minutes” whereas this one I love every single bit of it. It’s my funniest show. I always struggle with this question because I believe that it’s not a film, the narrative or the theme of the show isn’t so important to a comedy audience but if you need a theme it’s that there’s a lot of stupid things aren’t there and let’s laugh at those stupid things.

Who do you want to see this year?

What is the purpose of this question? Do you want me to recommend shows? I don’t have any particular ones I want to see, but I’m going to make an effort this year to try and spend my time in Edinburgh how I used to before I was a comedian, walking around and going to things as and when I stumbled across them. I used to love doing that so much and I’ve stopped doing it as much in my last few visits.

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions?

Yes. I have an Edinburgh tradition of avoiding developing any traditions. I feel like this answer is the worst answer I have ever given.

What is your getting ready music?

Usually my loyal tech Homebrew Hingley will play my guitar acoustically while we wait for the show before us to finish. He will play a bit of Smiths and I will think “shut up Homebrew, I’m trying to focus on getting into a high state of anxiety about how few people will be out there.”

If you could have any guest in your show, who would it be?

Johnny Marr. I would get him to teach a wider repertoire of songs to Homebrew Hingley for the pre show.

What is the best backhanded compliment you have had?

WOAH SHIT. I just got a show cancelled because “Basically, the company doing the show on the Saturday has vetoed the booking, as they think the audience won’t be comedy literate enough.” I’m so comedy, that I’m unsuitable to play a comedy gig.

Who made you howl with laughter when you were a child?

The Young Ones. Holy fuck. Changed the game. I was 11, it built me.

What should Donald Trump know?

Who the fuck is Donald Trump?

What do you do in Edinburgh that your parents wouldn´t approve of?

Nothing. My parents know who I am.

Thanks for having me Punchline. You are good people. x

See David Trent: Here’s Your Future at 10.35pm @ Just the Tonic at the Caves

Punchline’s 2017 Fringe Recommendations

9 Jul Photo of Sara Pascoe

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Last year we recommended Richard Gadd and Larry Dean who went onto win the Edinburgh Comedy Award and Amused Moose Award…

This year is set to be a belter. As ever, these are our shows we already know we´ll love, and we will continue to recommend shows throughout the Fringe. We’re not doing YouTube videos this year as these acts have to be experienced live to see just how brilliant they are.

Photo of Sara PascoeSara Pascoe: LadsLadsLads

7pm @ Pleasance Courtyard

Sara Pascoe has always had major talent but since her 2016 book Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body, she has unleashed a surge of confidence and insight as never before. She is showing a new stylistic freedom and incredible energy that make her 2017 show unmissable. Her time has come. @sarapascoe





Photo of David TrentDavid Trent: Here’s Your Future

10.35pm @ Just the Tonic at the Caves

Let David be your Virgil as he leads you through the circles of hell that exist in politics and popular culture. He´s got a great line in pumped up technology, which is put together as beautifully as his finely written material. Don´t let his stern demeanour stop you seeing the shrewd passion that drives his outstanding comedy. @mistertrent




Photo of Steen RaskopoulosSteen Raskopoulos: The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess

8pm @ Underbelly

We´ve always loved Steen´s mix of character comedy and non-confrontational audience participation with a just a touch of aching poignancy. If you liked him on TV´s Top Coppers, you´ll be crazy about him live. He shone in Edinburgh 2016 and this year he really will be one of the coolest kids in comedy. @steenrasko




Photo of Adam RichesThe Inane Chicanery of a Certain Adam GC Riches

9.45pm @ Pleasance Dome

The pulsing heart of total immersion Fringe comedy is back in Queen Dome to exhilarate, terrify and delight us with his unique combination of great writing and blasts of improvised chaos.  The suspense and surprise make every night deliciously different so go early in case you have to go back for more. @TigcoRiches




Photo of Tiernan DouiebTiernan Douieb: Miserably Happy

2.30pm @ Waverley Bar

Tiernan has a happy temperament and sparkling intelligence but life so often has a way of putting all that to the test. His perfect comic expression of the struggle to sift the sense from the nonsense is both daring and soothing. He takes an unflinching look at the current issues that worry us all but he´s just what the doctor ordered to bring out that sneaking optimism in us all. @TiernanDouieb




Photo of Kiri Prichard-McLeanKiri Pritchard-McLean: Appropriate Adult

8.15pm @ Pleasance Courtyard

We are twitching with anticipation to see Kiri´s new show.  She is the co-host of podcast All Killa No Filla and does a great line in rip-roaring stories that men don´t usually get to hear. She tells it like it is and gets shrieks of laughter in return. @kiripritchardmc





Photo of Spencer JonesSpencer Jones: The Audition

8.20pm @ Heroes @ Monkey Barrel

If you have ever felt that adult life seems to have forgotten to include the utterly joyous laughter of childhood, then this is the show for you. Spencer takes you with him from the beginning and the comic energy just builds and builds. Carefree belly laughs from a man who says, eyes twinkling, that he can´t believe he´s allowed to do this as a job. @spendals




Photo of Bilal ZafirBilal Zafar: Biscuit

3.40pm @ Just the Tonic at the Caves

The Edinburgh Newcomer award winner from last year returns to the city of dreams with a brand new show. Destined to become a firm Fringe favourite, catch him with the early birds. @Zafarcakes





Photo of Nick HelmNick Helm: Masterworks in Progress ’17

5.20pm @ The Pleasance Courtyard

He´s back! After a couple years away, the one man mega myth returns to an intimate setting. You may have seen him on BBC´s Uncle or Channel 4´s Loaded and now you can see the man himself trying out new material. Do exactly what he says and you will have a fantastic time. A special opportunity for a thrilling evening with a comedy legend. @TheNickHelm




Photo of Sofie HaganSofie Hagen: Dead Baby Frog

2pm @ Bedlam Theatre

Sophie Hagen is going from strength to strength with an ever-growing following of Guilty Feminist podcast fans. Her searing honesty, direct approach to delicate subjects and attentiveness to her audience´s needs make her a breath of fresh air and a stellar name for the future. @SofieHagen





Photo of Dane BaptisteDane Baptiste: G.O.D. (Gold.Oil.Drugs)

9pm @ The Pleasance Courtyard

You may have seen this politically and socially astute comedian on Frankie Boyle´s New World Order with his fearless, on-point comments. Dane is going to be one of the big stars of 2017 and with a title alone that promises diamond standard comedy, we just can´t wait to hear what he has to say. @DaneBaptweets



By Rosalind and Suzy Romer

Punchline Recommends James Acaster – Reset

16 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Photograph of James AcasterIs it worth recommending a run of sell out

shows? Yes, definitely when it comes to James Acaster, because it would be an absolute crime not to. This multi-award nominee has never put on a bad show, and is consistently the highlight of the Fringe.  James Acaster is an absolute genius when it comes to writing a Fringe show, and proves again that he doesn’t need just one year to be ‘at the top of his game’, he has, and always will be, right there up at the top.

James Acaster always runs with a theme (this year being ‘reset’), and comes back to this theme throughout the show when you are least expecting it. It’s these reoccurring jokes, and the masterful timing that makes his performance so special. ‘Reset’ is a personal insight to James’s make-believe life, a whimsical fantasy that is just as surreal as it is cleverly written. There is absolutely no doubt with this year’s performance, that James Acaster is a very funny man, and a real festival treasure.

As I starting writing this recommendation, there were seats left for one date within the festival run, but I believe it now to be completely sold out.  If you find any tickets to see this comedy royalty throughout your time at the Fringe, I highly recommend it.

James Acaster performs ‘Reset‘ at 7.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard until 28 August

Punchline Recommends: Rachel Parris – Best Laid Plans

11 Aug

Rachel ParrisWords by Iain McLaren

In “Best Laid Plans”, Rachel takes us for a walk through her adult life and discovers that it doesn’t quite add up to everything her six year old self thought it would be. She tells her story with a light touch, a few songs, and a lot of laughs.

Come for the laughs and leave a little wiser, lighter and with an understanding that help is never as far away as you think it is.

The show’s deeply personal story is one many people will recognise, and what’s more, it comes with the best message… No I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll just have to go and see it for yourself, and I thoroughly recommend you do!

Catch Rachel Parris at 6.50pm at Pleasance Dome throughout August. Click here for more information and tickets

Punchline Recommends:  “Help Us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope”

11 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Punchline recommends joining Tom Toal as part of the Free Fringe, as he saves the whole of Edinburgh with his new show ‘Help us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope’.  Tom Toal captivates his audience with a unique brand of narrative comedy, that is as delightful to listen to as it is superbly funny.

It would usually be unprofessional to mention a venue as part of a comedian’s set, but Ciao Roma is one of the nicest places to spend an hour of your Fringe, and a lovely setting for an excellent comedy show. Tom Toal’s new show is well-written, and jam-packed with jokes and stories from his life. Tom is charming with the audience, not just saving them from the inevitable end of Edinburgh, but entertaining them completely with his words.

Tom Toal is no stranger to the Edinburgh Festival (this year is his 3rd full solo show), but 2016 proves to portray Tom at his absolute best. Tom’s set has been magnificenly weaved into a fantastic hour of comedy, and with it being part of the free fringe, I genuinely can’t see why you wouldn’t go and see this beauty of a performance. Tom Toal performs ‘Help Us Tom Toal, You’re Our Only Hope‘ at Ciao Roma every day during the fringe at 16.35.

Steen Raskopoulos: You Know the Drill – Edinburgh 2016 Interview

5 Aug Photograph of Steen Raskopoulos

Photograph of Steen RaskopoulosWe loved his Steen’s show in 2014 and BBC’s “Top Coppers”. Now we’re super excited he’s back in Edinburgh! These are Steen’s answers to Punchline’s burning questions…


What is the best advice for a new performer in Edinburgh?
Lower your expectations and you’ll have the best time.

What is the best advice for a new festival goer?
Take a punt on someone you’ve never heard of before or go to a show where the flyerer/performer respected your physical space and wasn’t too intense.

What do you have to have in your fridge during August?
Pickles, self esteem and a half bottle of my own tears.

What is the weirdest after-show comment you have had from an audience member?
“My friend wants to have sex with you but I said no”

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

What is the best non-Fringe thing about the city of Edinburgh?
The lush grass and trees. Love dem trees.

How do you relieve Fringe cabin fever?
Burn the cabin to the ground.

Who or what last made you laugh like a hyena at the Fringe?
Lou Sanders. She is bat shit crazy and I think she’s one of the funniest performers going around.

Tell us about your 2016 show.
It’s a solo sketch show with an abundance of characters, improv and a bit of cheeky audience participation.

What are the best shows at the Fringe apart from yours?
Susie Youssef, Lou Sanders, Lolly Adefope, Joel Dommett, James Acaster, Sam Campbell, Tom Walker, Austentatious and Rhys Nicholson.

When you go home and your friends say “How was Edinburgh?”, what will you say?
The best of times and the worst of Tims. I’ve already met a few bad Tims.

See Steen Raskolpoulos at the Underbelly Cowgate at 7.40pm throughout August. Click here for more information and tickets

Punchline recommends Tom Parry: Yellow T-shirt

26 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

Imagine a long hug from a best friend you haven’t seen for ages. Now put Beethoven’s Ode to Joy on in the background. That’s how joyous Tom Parry’s show is – for a whole hour! It’s stand-up, but not as you know it. In fact, there are so many interesting things happening that I leave with the distinct impression that there was more than one person on stage.

Photograph of Tom ParryYou know how you can usually tell whether the comedian wants to be there or not? Well, Tom Parry really wants to be there, like this show is especially for us. His unconditional love creates a party atmosphere before he’s uttered a word of his official set. There are two levels of genius at play here. Firstly, Parry is multi-talented as he knows how to stage a show; write positive, meaningful material; engage the audience’s hearts, minds and bodies and maintain an ever-varying menu of events. Secondly, he makes all these things look EASY with his cheery, bounding energy and down-to-earth sociability. There are very few people with the talent and sheer likeability to create such comedy alchemy.

As for audience participation, the very term sounds artificial when applied here. We are literally all together in the pub with Tom and some or all of us join in with the main events depending on his suggestions. He shares life stories, observations and curious ideas which are all linked in to the central theme of fancy dress but we don’t really notice because his vitality radiates through the whole room and we are in-the-moment with him. If you want an hour of brio in your life, be there and get the t-shirt.

You can see Tom Parry: Yellow T-shirt at 6.20pm at Just the Tonic at the Tron until 30 August

Punchline recommends Pappy’s Presents… The Secret Dudes Society

23 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

Who needs to visit Hollywood when you’ve got Pappy’s Secret Dudes Society right here in Edinburgh? It’s a late show for sure, running from midnight to 2am but my goodness it’s worth it. Cinderella would kick herself for missing it. This is the hottest spot in town and they’ve got everything: Pappy’s themselves as multi-talented hosts, a resident band with matching kitsch shirts (half of The Spook School), marvellous resident sketch group Lazy Susan and an all-star line-up.

The Masters of Sketch

The Masters of Sketch and Friends

The wild atmosphere kicks in even before the show begins as Pappy’s chat to the audience from off-stage. Once we get started, we are asked if we want to know who’s in the line-up or if we want a surprise. One poor chap in the audience loses out to the almighty vote for SURPRISE. And this is a fascinating option because the audience is so star-studded that there is a genuine air of mystery about who we will be privileged enough to see tonight. On Monday 17th, this included Joel Dommett, Nish Kumar, Max and Ivan and the royal Katherine Ryan.

Were we sitting behind Joel Dommett’s parents? Isn’t Nish Kumar delightful and spot-on even when he’s a little bit more boisterous than usual? How cool was Max and Ivan’s fight? (THAT’S the Wrestling I LONG to see by the way – a big silly fight with all the best comedians… anyone?) Could Katherine Ryan publish her set so I can keep a copy of it on me to deal with dreadful people? Have all thirty-something British men seen Frozen? These are some of the questions that I have.

If you haven’t seen this show yet, it’s where you need to be. This isn’t cool like the conventional rebels at school who got wasted at school discos (what is cool about THAT?). This is proper cool and it’s the holy grail of Fringe experiences.

You can see Pappy’s Presents… The Secret Dudes Society at 23.55 at the Pleasance Dome on Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th August

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