Tag Archives: comedy

In the Hot Seat: Richard Gadd

3 Aug

Photograph of Richard Gadd

If you missed last year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd, here is your chance to see it.

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

The meadows. Green, wet grass. Giant billboards everywhere. Oh, and it’s raining. Always fucking raining.

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

I am dead inside.

Tell us about this year’s show.

It is a comedy/theatre show which takes place entirely in my head while I run on a treadmill. It won the Edinburgh Comedy Award last year and is returning for ten days only.

Who do you want to see this year?

Hannah Gadsby. She arrives having won the Barry Award in a show I have only heard incredible things about.

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions?

A kebab and a cry in the Elfalafel Kebab House in Bristo Place.

What is your getting ready music?

Travelling Wilburys – Tweeter and the Monkey Man.

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

Peter Hitchens. Just to see the look on his face.

What is the best backhanded compliment you have had?

‘I can really see your comedy working in a completely different setting.’

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

Laurel & Hardy.

What should Donald Trump know?

That he is making art tedious.

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

My comedy.

Catch Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do at 11pm at Summerhall 18-27 August only.

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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:  “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: 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

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: Max & Ivan – Our Story

5 Aug

Photograph of Max and IvanWords by Iain McLaren

Come one, come all and hear the tale of how our heroes met all those many years ago. Max and Ivan deliver an hour of perfect storytelling and comedic genius, with a bit of improv thrown in for good measure. Taking us back to their very early years at wrestling school and scout jamboree, we discover how these two incredibly funny guys happened to meet and eventually form the awesome sketch group they are today. But it isn’t all plain sailing as they face their own challenges to be the best wrestlers and scouts they can be. There is pain, sweat, shouting, laughing and all other manner of ridiculousness that we have come to expect from this high energy pair. Is this their last show?! Probably not, but still I wouldn’t take the chance, go and see them NOW!

Catch Max & Ivan at 8.20pm the Pleasance Dome 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

 

Share & enjoy!

Funny Women Awards 2016 Opens

17 Apr

Are you the next Sarah Millican or Bridget Christie? Here’s your chance to show the world!

The Funny Women Awards began in 2003, and have helped to shape successful careers for many brilliant comedians, writers and filmmakers, such as Bridget Christie, Susan Calman, Katherine Ryan, Sara Pascoe, Zoe Lyons and Sarah Millican.

The awards answer the tired question of ‘are women funny?’ and continue to prove that this isn’t a topic that should need debating. The Funny Women Awards celebrate their fourteenth contest this month, with new categories and a new venue for the final in September.

“This year’s awards are getting a refreshing makeover” explains Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker, “with regional finals replacing semi-finals, and the winners going on to a prestigious final at KOKO in London. Each of the six Stage Award finalists will be mentored by an established comedian, with Sara Pascoe and Ellie Taylor among them.”

Since 2003 Funny Women has explored the country in search of the new female face of comedy, and seen over 2500 contestants go through hundreds of heats. This year the awards will visit Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Brighton to scout out the best new talent.

Very funny Sara Pascoe has previously scooped up an award, and is delighted to be a part of this year’s competition: “I love women, I love funny ones the most and I’m so pleased to be part of something encouraging the new exciting generation as well as supporting the important work of Refuge”.

New categories have been added to the contest, including ‘Best Show’ which will highlight the impact women are making on full-length comedy shows. This will show off the 60+% increase in touring female comedians bringing their shows to the Edinburgh Festival.

“With an extra category and record breaking entries of the last couple of years, we are raising the bar even more this year” says Lynne Parker. “The regional finals for the Stage Award gives us the opportunity to present even more great new female talent across the UK and Ireland, and the equal status of both the Comedy Writing and Comedy Shorts Award, alongside the Stage Award, is another important development in terms of the competition. 2016 promises to be a very exciting year for female comedy.”

The Edinburgh heat takes place on 9 June at The Newsroom and the Regional Final takes place on Sunday 14 August, at Big Cave at Just The Tonic, during the Edinburgh Fringe

Register now here

The Funny Women Awards – Categories

Stage Award
Comedy Writing Award
Comedy Shorts Award
Best Show Award

For full details on how to apply, deadlines, and categories, please visit the Funny Women website, or tweet @funnywomean #FWAwa

‘I highly recommend it, it’s a great place for women to hone their act’ – Miranda Hart

‘I can’t wait to see what a great bunch of women this year produces’ – Aisling Bea

Final Fun at the Fringe

31 Aug

Photograph of Edinburgh Fireworks

It’s the last day of the Fringe. Boooo.

But it’s a lovely sunny day! Yeah!

Some venues finished their programmes yesterday, plus a ton of shows have been cancelled so here is our pick of the best comedy shows for the last day. Please check with the relevant box office or Fringe Office before finalising your plans.

  • For a spot of lunchtime comedy, go to see Tom Binns (12.40 at the Bosco Tent, George Square)
  • OR Austentatious (1.15pm at the Underbelly)
  • If you haven’t seen BEASTS yet, what are you thinking?! Get down there! (4.45pm at Pleasance Courtyard)
  • OR if you have seen them, an excellent alternative is Adam Hess, who was shortlisted for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Newcomer this year (5.20pm at the Hive)
  • Our next recommendation is The Pin (7pm at Pleasance Dome) followed by a mad dash to Lazy Susan (8.10pm at Pleasance Dome)
  • OR how about Joseph Murpurgo, shortlisted for this year’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award? (8.15pm at Pleasance Courtyard)
  • OR if you prefer a leisurely walk after The Pin, you have a choice of shows at 9pm: Felicity Ward (Pleasance Courtyard)
  • OR the marvellous Spencer Jones would be a wonderfully surreal way to end the Fringe (9pm at The Hive)
  • Don’t forget the Edinburgh International Festival has their fireworks tonight, so find a hill and celebrate the end of a brilliant month.
  • And if you’re really going to go for it, why not finish at Late ‘n’ Live to take you through to tomorrow? (1am at Gilded Balloon)

Have fun! For those heading back home, have a safe journey and we’ll see you next year. For the locals, see you very soon, after a long sleep! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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

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