Tag Archives: Comedy Recommendations

Felicity Ward answers Punchline’s Burning Questions

19 Aug

Photograph of Felicity WardWhat is the best advice for a new performer in Edinburgh?

You will cry. It’s just a matter of when.

What is the best advice for a new festival goer?

You will cry. It’s a matter of when.

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

The illusion that I will eat salad.

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

That was the first boob my son has ever seen.

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

A dying, philanthropist billionaire.

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

Everything. This city is in my bones.

How do you relieve Fringe cabin fever?

Swim in the pool. The rage of people using the lanes incorrectly really transports me from my fringe self-obsession.

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

I saw Rose Matafaeo and Joel Dommett’s shows and I laugh so so hard. Honestly.

Tell us about your 2016 show.

It’s about a lady with control issues who loses her bag… mixed in with some jokes about mental health statistics, suicidal construction workers, women’s pockets and swimming.

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

Shows I saw in Australia that are here that I loved were: Zoe Coombs Marr, Susie Yousseff, Nick Cody, Rhys Nicholson, Tom Ballard, Naht Valvo, The Blind Date Project. There are so many. I don’t know how anyone chooses.

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

A lot less crying than usual. Which is all anyone can truly hope for. #blessed

 

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

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.

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

Punchline recommends Tom Binns: The Club Sets

23 Aug

Words by Iain McLaren

If you are looking for a show with a bit of everything then look no further than Tom Binns : The Club Sets. Opening with his unique psychic, Ian D Montfort, he gives us a comical and up-close insight into the spiritual world. You may not believe in psychics but you will believe in the comedy of Ian.

Next Tom returns as himself with a whole cast of family puppets with his new ventriloquism act. This new found skill is explored and presented to you with all the dedication we have come to expect from Tom.

Tom Binns

Finally he brings out the crowd favourite in the awkward and somewhat naïve Ivan Brackenbury with his array of ironic songs. This character never gets old as the audience’s eye-watering laughter shows.

This brilliant comedian and entertainer is constantly expanding his skills and bringing them to the stage to thrill and delight his audiences and this show is no exception. Go and see this genius at work!

You can see Tom Binns: The Club Sets at Assembly George Square Gardens at 12.40pm until 31 August

Punchline recommends Mike Wozniak: One Man Dad Cat Band

23 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

I LOVE that Mike Wozniak is a husband who is grumpy in the morning, a dad who does his best with domestic animals and a son who glows when his mum calls him a good boy. The whole audience loves him too. The fact that he is happy to be normal makes him almost revolutionary in a comedy world where so many comedians are busting themselves to provoke us with tired, creepy jokes about porn, paedophiles and “ironic” racism (it’s just racism).

Mike Wozniak 2015

Wozniak wants us to know that he is an ethical man, if only so that we are terribly impressed. Why else do we act ethically if not to be seen? We are impressed, especially by his ingenious fly-away comments that make us tip forward with laughter. He is also a very factual man, although many of his facts are fictional. He steers a steady line between real life and impossible nonsense without burdening us with pedantic surrealism. His talents for story-telling are prodigious and he weaves in and out of themes with consummate ease. One minute he’s telling us about an infuriating experience; the next minute he’s calming us down with ticklishly funny facts. The effect is cumulative, like sauna sessions followed by cold splashes, and it is as invigorating as it is relaxing.

Wozniak warns us from the start that the room is going to get very hot, but it doesn’t matter because he shares his world with us so generously. And did I mention he’s very funny? He’s VERY funny.

You can see Mike Wozniak: One Man Dad Cat Band at 13.15 at Laughing Horse@The Free Sisters until 30 August

Punchline recommends In Cahoots: Two White Guys

20 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

In Cahoots are a sketch duo (Paul G Raymond and Luke Manning) who provide an easy hour of comedy and a few things to think about afterwards. Their energy is uplifting and takes us on a dazzling tour of worldwide locations including a TV studio in India, a palace in Nigeria and a desert in North Africa. Thematically speaking, some of the sketches are set in traditional funny-land but there are all sorts of sketches which take the audience just a little bit out of their comfort zone – we like that! Their lightness of touch manages to combine thrusting intelligence with endearing silliness.

Paul and Luke

Paul and Luke

The stand-out piece for me is the scene where a drunk young buck takes a taxi with a Muslim taxi driver. They strike up a delightful friendship while talking about their dramatically different lives. The high comedy of the scene provides classic belly laughs yet virtually no one else is doing material like this. Paul and Luke simply ignore 21st century social taboos and perform unfettered universal human comedy.

The overall writing is strong but with more experience, they will crack the tipping point between clever and funny to perfection. This makes for an act to watch now and in the future. We’ll be back.

You can see In Cahoots: Two White Guys at the Pleasance Courtyard at 19:15 until 31 August

Punchline recommends Adam Riches is Coach Coach

14 Aug

Adam Riches 2015

Words by Suzy Romer

Adam Riches is a magnetic, dangerous life force and this year he takes us up a league with a fresh kind of total comedy experience. Coach Coach has all the thrills of classic (or at least old and beloved) big budget American movies that flood us with teenage rushes of ambition, rage, arousal and pure adrenaline.

Even before the show starts, the audience is prepared for what they are in for with colourful flags and pumped up music. The cinematic experience is achieved with a surprisingly big cast who enact proper goodies and baddies, a couple of timeless love stories at different stages of life and, of course, a BIG GAME where everyone is rooting for the heroes. But here comes one of Adam Riches’ magic touches; the outcome will be decided by a member of the audience so we are all in a state of whooping, feverish suspense as the finale approaches.

For those who have experienced the joy and knife-edge fear of past shows, there is comparatively little audience participation and the format is more formal. I caught myself hoping that some things would go (slightly) wrong, just to see how he would react. They did, and his on-the-spot improvisations sparkled with the essence of Fringe fun. The character of Eric Coach is more complex than Riches’ previous incarnations as he sheds some of his alpha male dominance now that he has a wife and boss to contend with. Stevie Martin (from the sketch group Massive Dad), plays Mrs Coach with wry nonchalance and a delightfully mobile baby bump which she wields and yields, depending on the needs of the moment. Richard Gadd is chillingly silly as the big bad boss while David Elms champions the characters of the younger generation with winning charm, despite not winning any baskets on the night I saw him. Didn’t stop me shouting myself hoarse though.

There are a lot of things going on in this bold new format which is tamer on audience participation but more audacious in its engagement with wide-reaching themes. This is an expertly finished product, but there is also an underlying sense of artistic development in progress and the sequel (whatever form it may take) is going to be very interesting indeed…

 You can see Adam Riches is Coach Coach at the Pleasance Dome at 21.45 until 30 August.

Punchline recommends Lazy Susan: Double Act

13 Aug

Lazy Susan 2015

Words by Suzy Romer

The first sensation of watching Celeste Dring and Freya Parker’s spectacular show is one of being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and whisked into their own parallel universe. It’s initially rather frightening, what with all the psychopaths and criminals, but then you laugh so much you don’t want to come out again.

Their range of characters knows no bounds yet they all fit into a general backdrop of eerie unpredictability and charismatic menace. Ducks, dogs and rabbits all get the funny-scary treatment. The most astonishing change of character is when Freya comes on as Jackie Sanchez, the Scottish business mogul, and tells us how she built her empire. Her accent is absolutely on the money but it is her approach to success which makes us crack up en masse. Sanchez’s assistant Big T (Celeste) makes the audience collapse into giggles by uttering single words. We’re talking Rowan Atkinson territory here. I promise you, the word “Frothy” will never be the same.

This pair were nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomers last year but even so, it is amazing to think this is only their second time round. This is a show of thrilling, unhinged comedy from a pair of ferociously funny dare devils.

You can see Lazy Susan: Double Act at the Pleasance Dome at 20:10 until 30 August

Punchline recommends Mae Martin: Us

10 Aug

Mae Martin 2015

Words by Suzy Romer

Mae Martin is an instant hit with the audience and creates an open, feel-good atmosphere right from the start. Her style of delivery is dreamy but her comedy is spot on. She talks to us about family dynamics, adolescent crushes and nights out. Sound familiar? WRONG, she is a complete original and as you listen, you can feel your brain becoming more supple as it stretches out from its habitual little pathways. There are some great moments in her stories of outrageous slapstick which have the audience laughing and wincing in equal measures. There are also plenty of “Meet the Fockers” moments of in-family taboo-busting. Oh my God, did she just say that? Yes, she did.

She was brought up in a family where gender behaviour and sexuality was never limited by narrow definitions. I like to think of myself as being pretty open-minded but I learned with Mae that I have a whole lot of casual prejudices about sexuality which I rarely bother to question because I don’t have to. Really, I mean, what have I been playing at?

The audience is amused and rapt by her more thought-provoking sections and once or twice she asks if we are with her. Yes! We’re thinking! I know comedians aim for belly laughs, but Mae is aiming higher than that and she is hitting the bull’s eye more often than she thinks. Her manner is searching, searching for understanding and recognition of ideas that are common sense of the most uncommon kind. If you want fearless, down-to-earth laughs and a fresh outlook, she’s the one to see.

You can see Mae Martin: Us at 21:15 in the Laughing Horse @ City Cafe until 30 August.

Punchline recommends Phil Jerrod: Neanderthal

9 Aug

Phil Jerrod 2015

Words by Suzy Romer

Phil Jerrod presents a good solid set with some insights into life when you are least expecting them. He sets up an immediate, comfortable rapport with the audience and wastes no time before getting on to the good stuff.

Starting with his beard and his country upbringing, he takes us on a gentle mosey around the preoccupations and distractions of the British middle-classes. His meandering themes are shot through with shrewd observations which allow us to giggle at our own weaknesses and take comfort as he dispatches some of our more ridiculous worries. He teases out universal human themes from baking and Facebook with the profundity and elegance of a novelist.

He helps us to see that we are not to be congratulated too much for our achievements, nor berated if those achievements are of a lesser sort. There is a lot of laughter in this show and while he’s one to watch, he provides a great evening’s entertainment right now. Other than a couple of Neanderthal comments about women (just take them OUT) this is a splendid Edinburgh debut.

You can see Phil Jerrod: Neanderthal in the Pleasance Courtyard at 19:00 throughout August.

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