Tag Archives: Comedy Recommendations

Punchline Recommends BEASTS: Live DVD

9 Aug

photograph of Beasts

Words by Suzy Romer

Beasts by name and beasts by nature, these boys are THE FRINGE in a box. Goodness only knows how they have managed to take their silliness and mayhem up a level since last year. I went into this show with high expectations of rampant nonsense and was lulled into the false security of sense by their rational sounding introduction. The lads want to film a DVD for a Hollywood producer and they ask for a bit of co-operation from the audience. So far, so good.

But then things start to go wrong. Or is it right? The audience becomes more involved in the project and our inhibitions gradually evaporate to allow us to whoop and cheer as much as our hearts desire. We are ON FIRE. Why? Perhaps because Owen tries so hard to maintain a modicum of decorum while James dreams of falconry and Ciaran just wants to… run around naked, really. Witnessing massive arguments has never been so much fun, and they are very rude but somehow it doesn’t matter because they are just so NICE. The musical content is so absurd and moving it will leave you as high as Mary Poppins after the wind changes direction.

This show is what people should mean when they say “legal high”. Don’t do drugs kids; do Beasts.

You can see Beasts in the Pleasance Courtyard at 16:45 throughout August.

Punchline Recommends Aisling Bea: Plan Bea

8 Aug

photograph of Aisling Bea

Words by Suzy Romer

This is it. This is Aisling’s year. It’s hardly fair to judge anyone on the wet first night of the Fringe but she owned the audience as soon as they walked through the door.

This “gurl” takes us from a back yard in Kildare with her little sister to the bright lights of Hollywood. The Irish-American attitude to confidence and success underpins the show so neatly that you are carried along effortlessly on her stories about ambition and romance, shame and miming.

She makes the whole stand-up comedy thing look easy as she cuts through pretension and nostalgia, delighting us with personal stories as if she’s sitting telling them in your kitchen. But the joyful energy and fun of this show is the real thrill and I’ll wager she won’t get through the Festival without a standing ovation.

You can catch Aisling Bea: Plan Bea in the Gilded Balloon every night at 21:30.

Punchline’s Top 10 Shows at the 2015 Fringe

4 Aug

Bridget Christie: A Book For Her

Bridget presents a wake-up show in every sense of the term. Grab your coffee and start your day with one of the brightest talents on the Fringe.

11am at the Stand. Info and tickets here

Nish Kumar: Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m so Clever

Nish IS very clever but don’t let that put you off. His material is bang up to date and he politely challenges your assumptions with unforgettable charm.

7.15pm at Pleasance Courtyard. Info and tickets here

Katherine Ryan: Kathbum

Punchline reckons this is your last chance to see Katherine before she hits the big time. This gal is going places so catch her while you can.

4.25pm at the Stand 3 & 4 (across the road and down from the main venue). Info and tickets here

Aisling Bea: Plan Bea

Have you seen her before? Probably. She’s on the TV more than you think. If you’re after a an hour of solid laughs and feel-good comedy, make Plan Bea your Plan A.

9.30pm at Gilded Balloon. Info and tickets here

Beasts: Live DVD

 young men who will make you shriek with laughter.  One of the best  legal highs this Fringe.

4.45pm at Pleasance Courtyard. Info and tickets here

The Pin: 10 Minutes with The Pin

This duo have earned their stripes over the last few years at the Fringe and this year it’s going to be a tiger of a show.

7.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Info and tickets here

The Birthday Girls: Party Vibes

Another chance to see the show that makes any night feel like a Saturday night. Very funny. Very rude. High energy. Everything you want from a party. Lovely.

12.10am at the Pleasance Courtyard. Info here

Spencer Jones Presents: The Herbert in Proper Job

This man had the Machynlleth Comedy Festival audience in uproar and made the compere laugh so much he missed his cue. Now Spencer brings the show to Edinburgh to make you laugh like you did when you were a child. It’s so funny you might be sick.

9pm at Heroes @ The Hive. Info here

Lou Sanders: Excuse Me, You’re Sitting on my Penis, Again

This is literally a gift of a show. She’s one of the highlights of the free fringe so you will want to give her lots of money at the end. For an hour of silliness, borderline hysteria and stealth thought provocation, see Lou.

7.30pm at Laughing Horse @ City Cafe. Info here

Angela Barnes: Come As You Are

Comedy Nirvana (sorry, it had to be done) from someone who makes sharp, unpretentious comedy seem like the most natural thing in the world. Think of a cold beer just when you need it; that’s this show.

8.15 at Pleasance Courtyard. Tickets and info here

Chris Turner: An EdFringe 2015 Interview

17 Jul

Words by Susan Ford

Chris Turner recently gained recognition as runner up at the English Comedian of the Year Awards last month, and also during last year’s Fringe when he won Amused Moose Laughter Award’s Best Show (People’s Champion), and The Arts Desk’s Best Comedy of 2014. Chris Turner is not only a very witty and unique joke-writer, but is also a rapper, musician, actor and extremely clever young man who is preparing to take on 3 big performances at this year’s Fringe. I caught up with Chris recently to see how he plans to cope with being one of the busiest men at the festival.
image Hello Chris, how are you?
Hi! I’m rather relaxed, thank you – it’s a sunny day, I’ve not got a gig to drive off to, someone just bought 8 tickets to my Fringe show on Black Wednesday, and I’ve found some tapestries that I want on my office wall.

Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
I’m always excited about Edinburgh. I’m incredibly proud of my shows, and lucky to be performing and living with my best friends for the fifth year in a row.

What have you been doing since last year’s Festival?
Overall, writing a new hour of stand up, which has been simultaneously terrifying and electrifying. Chronologically: relaxing, Christmas shopping, Christmas gigs, busking in New Zealand, applying aftersun, telling jokes in Australia, slogging it out on the circuit, previewing the new show.

imageTell us about all the shows you are involved with/performing at the Festival?
‘Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised’ is an hour of family friendly long-form improv with my best mates (though we go under the name Racing Minds). Each year we’ve stepped up to larger and larger venues, and this time we’re in the Pleasance Queen Dome, which as far as improv goes, is one of the best rooms on the Fringe.

‘AAA Batteries (Not Included)’ is a three hander stand up show that’s suitable for kids, though aimed at adults. I started it in 2011 with Liam Williams and Adam Hess, and since then David Elms, Jon Bennett and Daniel Roberts have variously made up two thirds of the trio. It’s free, and is becoming a bit of an institution with families – we’ve had to turn people away for every show for the last three years. This year I can’t say who the other two are, because they’re too funny, so you’ll have to come and see.

‘Chris Turner: XXV’ is my second stand up show, and I’m so happy with how it’s turned out. I performed it at the Perth Fringe in February, where it was nominated for Best Comedy, and since then it’s got so much funnier. It’s about being told I had 10 years left to live, which is an utter goldmine of jokes. I rap my little socks off in it.

What preparations are in place for you to be the busiest man at the Fringe this year?
The usual tricks of lemon & ginger tea, VocalZones, and blood sacrifices/mousetraps in the kitchen. My stand up and improv are unamplified, so it’ll be interesting to see how long I can go before resorting to microphones and claiming if I’m less funny without both hands free. Last year I didn’t drink for the month which allowed me to keep my voice but did diminish the opportunities for reckless fun. This year I’ll trade that for a slightly hoarse final week.

Do you prefer performing solo shows or as part of a team?
They won’t read this, so I can answer honestly – team shows, because it’s different every day, and if I’m not funny, they will be and the show’s still good. If I’m not funny in my solo show then it’s all on me, and I take that pretty hard.

imageHow many years have you performed in Edinburgh, and what does the Festival mean to you?
It’s my ninth Fringe, and after my first one, 16 year old me said ‘I don’t see why I’d ever not be here in August’. It was a combination of messed-up shows I attended, underage drinking, and the fact that I could eat haggis suppers every night without parental supervision. I’m doing my best to prove my youthful self right, and I still believe that the Fringe is one of the most important things in my development as a comedian.

What’s the best audience reaction that you have experienced whilst performing at the Edinburgh Fringe? How important is audience interaction to your show?
There’s a lot of audience input for my freestyles – please come prepared with the most challenging words and topic you can think of – my favourite suggestions from last year were 9th Century Crop Rotation and Afghani Irrigation Ditches. I like the crowd at Spank! – you drop a good freestyle there and they’ll let you know how they feel about it. I step off stage feeling more Rockstar than Comedian.

What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
This is going to be incredibly incestuous, but they’re all very funny:
Asp – Daniel Roberts
Foolball – Tom Skelton
Möglich – Douglas Walker
Adventures of the Improvised Sherlock Holmes – Ghostwriters
And this one will probably be the best show up there, from the funniest person:
Joseph Morpurgo: Soothing Sounds for Baby

AAA Batteries (Not Included) is on at Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88), 15:25 Aug 6-17, 19-29
Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised is on at Pleasance Dome (Venue 23) 12:00
Chris Turner: XXV is on at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) at 21.45

Punchline’s Comedy Recommendations for April

16 Apr

How is it the middle of April already? Before we hurtle towards the summer, here are a few of comedic treats to tempt you this month:

Photograph of Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

If you missed Mark Thomas’ Cuckooed during the Edinburgh Fringe, you can catch him at Traverse until 18 April. More info here

Here’s what the Guardian had to say:

“I am a very good liar, but everything I’m telling you today is true,” says Mark Thomas. It’s a smart start to a clever, funny and angry show. One that is imbued with genuine sadness too. How could you not trust the man after an admission like that? But then liars are often very plausible; they behave in a way that gets us on side, makes us like and trust them. So it’s all the more devastating when we discover that our trust has been misplaced and abused. Full article here

Monday 20 & Wednesday 22 April – Punchline favourite Andrew Lawrence: Reasons to Kill Yourself at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen & The Stand, Edinburgh. Go and see the comic who has the balls to talk about subjects most won’t go near. You may or may not agree with him but he’ll make you think and laugh a lot. More info here

Friday 24 April Romesh Ranganathan & Suzi Ruffell at Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh. Romesh is going to be a household name very soon. Catch him along with the talented Suzi Ruffell at the Roxy before he gets super famous… More info here

Photograph of Andrew Lawrence

Andrew Lawrence

 

Photograph of Romesh Ranganathan & Suzi Ruffell

Romesh Ranganathan & Suzi Ruffell

 

Punchline’s Comedy Recommendations March 2015

3 Mar
Photograph of Funz and Gamez

Funz and Gamez

There are some really exciting acts this month! Here are our favourites:

Photograph of Susan Calman

Susan Calman

Susan Calman is on tour, kicking off at the Traverse in Edinburgh tomorrow, followed by various dates in Scotland throughout March. More info here

Photograph of Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee is touring Scotland from 15 March, in Edinburgh, Dundee (sold out), Inverness, Perth and Glasgow. More info here

Iain Stirling is coming to the Stand in Edinburgh on 24 March and Glasgow in 25 March. More info here

Josie Long is also on tour, heading to Scotland on 13 March for tour dates in Mull, Skye, Edinburgh and Glasgow. More info here

And of course The Glasgow International Comedy Festival is 12 – 29 March in various venues across Glasgow. We recommend the family friendly Funz and Gamez (Foster’s Panel Prize 2014) on 21 March, Anna Devitt on 21 March, Robin Grainger on 19 March, and the wonderful Bridget Christie on 24 March. More info here

Photograph of Iain Stirling

Iain Stirling

Josie Long

Josie Long

Photograph of Anna Devitt

Anna Devitt

Photograph of Robin Grainger

Robin Grainger

Photograph of Bridget Christie

Bridget Christie

Punchline recommends Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

23 Aug
Photograph of Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Words by Suzy Romer

Harvey, Garvey and Kane are a smart sketch group who allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. It’s always nice to see three chaps take to the stage in suits but these men can become anyone and anything with no costume changes and virtually no props.

We are taken through a range of sketches with seamless style. A little boy asks his mummy and daddy what sex is and the answer goes far beyond the comic possibilities explored by anyone I’ve seen before. A deliciously silly press launch with a grown-up boy band neatly exposes the less media-friendly aspects of reunion after twenty years. Amid the virtuosity of the performances we get a really generous dose of classic material, the stuff we quote at each other long after the show.

In an age where the boundaries between genres are constantly being poked and prodded, it’s immensely reassuring to be entertained by a group who can follow the great old traditions with freshness and vigour. There is a caper ability about these guys that will see them go far. That’s pure sketch, that is.

Catch the last performance of Harvey, Garvey and The Kane at 4.55pm at the Underbelly (Bristo Square) on Sunday 24th August. Buy tickets here

Photograph of Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Harvey, Garvey and The Kane

Punchline recommends Ian D Montfort’s Midday Séance

23 Aug
Photograph of Ian D Montfort

Ian D Montfort

Words by Suzy Romer

Here’s some unusual advice for a comedy show: when you go to see Ian D Montfort, try to sit near the front. This comic creation is a walking, talking spectacle in himself, to the extent that it’s difficult to believe he’s not real. Every smirk, grimace, raised eyebrow and self-conscious flick of the hair is crafted to perfection by the performer Tom Binns.

Ian presents himself to us as a middling to successful clairvoyant and mind reader but Tom provides us with a first-rate collection of conjuring tricks. Ian himself points out that Fringe budgets are simply not high enough for the technology required to cheat. How does he do it? In fact you stop asking yourself because you are too busy laughing at the secrets of audience members which are revealed periodically through the show. Ian reveals a tip-top selection of the sauciest secrets in tones of teasing concern with eyes that sparkle with mischief. He also nominates a sceptic who – entirely coincidentally – has a dark future ahead of him, predicted by our charming and calculating host.

This genuine charlatan is a delightful cure for anyone exasperated (or fascinated) by the “real” thing and he outperforms the competition at every level.

You can catch Ian D Montfort’s last séance of the Fringe at midday on Sunday 24th August at Bob’s Bookshop. More info here

Punchline Recommends: Lucy Beaumont ‘We Can Twerk it Out’

22 Aug
Photograph of Lucy Beaumont

Lucy Beaumont

Words by Suzy Romer

Lucy Beaumont opens her show by kindly introducing us to her Hull accent, but you know what? She had us at “hullo”. Right from the start, we find ourselves in a conversational relationship where we are literally expected to say yes and no, and we thoroughly enjoy doing so.

This is her first full-length show at the Fringe but you wouldn’t know it. She glows as she tells us about her experiences, observations and ideas. Her friend Jackie is having difficulty meeting the right man and the stories about her are a perfect balance of poignancy and twinkling cheekiness. Lucy’s mum worries about her safety when she is out alone and comes up with a highly original way to fend off potential attackers. Lucy Beaumont’s world is very real, yet every cloud has a comic lining.

For the duration of the show we are gently lifted out of our own existence and forget ourselves. Lucy Beaumont is warm and wry and enjoys springing an occasional surprise on her captivated audience. I leave the venue having already adopted her lilting “I know…” when I agree with something. She may still be taking off but she is going to be one high flier in comedy and she leaves diamonds in her wake.

Lucy Beaumont is at Pleasance Courtyard at 5.45pm until Sunday if you can get your hands on a ticket. But of course you will have if you took our Top 10 recommendations at the start of the fringe!

An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview with Nish Kumar

12 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Nish Kumar

Nish Kumar

The festival is still going strong, and I’ve had the delightful opportunity to speak to some of my favourite comedians for Punchline. Today I’m with Nish Kumar, the “veteran underdog” of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Hello Nish Kumar how are you?
Pretty good thanks friend – how are you? (Bit cold but in love with the Fringe – SF)

Are you enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
Yeah it’s been pretty fun. I’m eating a lot of noodles. Is that weird? (Who doesn’t love noodles? – SF)

Is this your first time at the Festival?
Nope – it’s actually my ninth consecutive year here. They call me the “veteran underdog”.

What have been your highlights so far?
The noodles have been pretty great. Also David Trent has been constantly photographing my every move on his twitter feed.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
Opinions – how they are formed and how we express them. It does have jokes in it though.

What have the audience reactions been like so far?
Pretty good. I’m expecting a terrible one any day now.

What other shows do you recommend this year?
Nat Metcalfe, Tom Neenan, Stu Goldsmith, David Trent and Massive Dad.

See Nish Kumar’s act ‘Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity’ at the Edinburgh Festival, 7.15pm in Pleasance Courtyard (Beside) until 24th August. Buy tickets here

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