Tag Archives: comedy

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 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 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.

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

A 2015 EdFringe Interview with Kai Humphries

3 Jul

Written by Susan Ford

Kai Humphries is so happy, he’s written a show about it for this year’s festival. And it’s not just a gimmick, Kai is genuinely one of the happiest and most likeable people you will ever meet. Not only is Kai a very funny comedian, but also spreads his joy over his jokes and through the audience. As Kai prepares for the Edinburgh Fringe, I caught up with him to discuss his new show ‘How to Be Happy’.

kaihumphries

Hello Kai, how are you?
Right now, I’m in my Pyjamas on a Thursday afternoon, I have to say, things can’t possibly be better.

Are you excited about performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year?
Extremely, not in an extremely excited bouncing off the walls like a crazy person, night before Christmas way, but in a chilled out “this is going to be freakin’ awesome” kinda way.

What have you been doing since last year’s Festival?
I’ve toured Europe, been to Dubai twice and been on 3 jaunts snowboarding, slinging jokes everywhere. But really, I go for my meal ticket.

Tell us about Punch Drunk Comedy…
You mean the best comedy gig in the world? It’s my baby, my venture with my brother to reignite the community spirit in my otherwise deprived home town of Blyth, once a month we turn out in force (300 strong on a Monday night) as we bring 3 of the world’s best comedians to an old social club concert hall. It’s more of a carnival than a gig.

How many years have you performed in Edinburgh, and what does the Festival mean to you?
6 years, the first year was to compete in some national competition finals, I hadn’t heard of the Fringe until I was up here in 2009 for the “So You Think You’re Funny?” competition and was instantly immersed in it with no warning. I came up for one night and ended up staying for the rest of the month. I haven’t missed a day of the Fringe since.

Tell us about your new show for 2015?
I’m going to use the hour to get to the route of my happiness; it’s a part of my personality that seems come up in every review of my comedy, it’s the one topic I really feel like I’m qualified to talk about. I’ll delve into the way I handle life, my outlooks and my relationships, analysing what it is that keeps me smiling and laughing my way through life and all of the things it throws at you.

What mood should the audience come to your show with?
Which ever mood they’re in when they arrive, whether that be drained from a hard week’s work, frustrated by city centre traffic, or simply getting out of the rain with no expectations and taking a punt on someone they’ve never heard of, it’s my aim to give everyone’s mindset a massage for an hour so they all leave with a big fat spring in their step.

IMG_0047

What is the best thing about the Edinburgh Fringe for you?
I live in Edinburgh and all of my friends in this industry, who live scattered all over the world, some as far as Australia, come over to visit. It’s like having a big house party that lasts a month and inviting all of my favourite people but instead of my house it’s the whole entire city.

What do your preparations for the Festival involve?
Annoying my flatmates and my girlfriend with “do you think this is funny?” every time something crosses my mind that could go in the show. My house gets really tidy and I become super organised because when I have a show to write for some reason every other area of procrastination has to be put out of the way first.

Will you be involved in any other shows this year other than your solo show?
Yes, I have the very prestigious honour of co-producing Set List, the Fringe’s number one concept show where acts get up and can’t rely on any of their crafted material, they have to riff with the Set List topics that appear on the screen behind them. It really is like self-harm for comedians, it’s exhilarating and terrifying but this risk taking ‘comedy without a net’ makes priceless viewing for the audience and an addictive adrenaline shot direct to the heart for the performers.

What other acts do you recommend we catch at this year’s Fringe?
Milo McCabe, Ronny Chieng, Carl Donnelly, Tom Stade, Daniel Sloss, Mark Nelson… if you go see all of those guys you’re going to have one hell of a good time this Fringe.

Follow Kai on Twitter/instagram: @kaihumphries or online www.kaihumphries.com.

Kai Humphries: How To Be Happy | 8pm | Gilded Balloon: Sportsman | 5th-30th August

Set List: Stand-Up Without a Net | 11pm (Midnight Fri-Sat) | The Stand | 7th-30th (not Mondays)

A 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Interview with Mat Reed

15 Jun

Words by Susan Ford

Mat Reed brings his first hour long show ‘Stalked’ to the Edinburgh Festival this year as part of Just the Tonic at The Mash House.

Mat Reed

Mat Reed

A natural performer, and a very funny man, Mat Reed pushes his story-telling skills to the forefront of his new show, as he relays the tale of four terrifying years of being stalked.  The stories will have you on the edge of your seat in fear, but also laughing heartily as Mat lightens the mood beautifully throughout his set with comedy.  As Mat prepares for a month in Edinburgh, I caught up with him to see how he is getting on.

Hello Mat, how are you?
I’m fine, as well as a comic can be mentally I suppose! You know – anxiety, crippling self doubt, fake persona to compensate real life shortcomings, the usual… I’m skint as how I am usually.

Are you excited about performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
I wasn’t, you know I felt like it was something you had to do really. But this year I feel I have an actual show, a solid hour of entertainment, and also it’s personal to me so I’m quite proud of it. That’s an exciting prospect.

How many times have you performed at the festival before?
I’ve done it all the way through once before with some lovely folk. It was a showcase show that I compered; I was on with my now best friend Benny boot, a brilliant Aussie comic, and Sarah Millican was on too. It was a lot of fun, and it was just having a gig every night as opposed to doing an hours show. And apart from Benny, I met some life long friends.

Without giving too much away, what is your 2015 show about?
Well, my show is titled ‘Stalked’, so there’s not much mystery as to the content. I had a horrendous four year long episode of being stalked and it was bizarre terrifying and crazy times ten plus a million, so I decided that I’d weave some good from a bad situation.

What can the Edinburgh audience expect from your show?.
Well I hope the laughs are plentiful because the drama and tension in this story do need balancing out. So far preview audiences have said they were on the edge of their seat a lot, then laughing, then tense again, so it’s a thrill ride I suppose, but one to enjoy.

What do your preparations for the Festival involve?
Saving, saving and a bit of crying about how much you could spend the money you’re spending on accommodation on other things, but mainly getting everything in order so it flows and there’s no lulls for an hour.

What does the Edinburgh Festival mean to you?
It means working towards doing the job I love, for a wider audience. Anything else is a bonus. I love, love comedy and couldn’t imagine not doing it. I go insane if I don’t gig for a week – I’m a mess and I haven’t had a holiday in 9 years!

Other than your show “Stalked”, will you be taking part in any other shows?
I hope to, yes. I have been signed up to a few by my agent who wants my name far and wide across the Edfringe board. I want to do as much as possible; it’s more or less a boot camp and I want to train my funny muscles.

What other acts do you recommend we catch during the festival?
My top recommendation is Gav Webster – always a class act. There’s loads of others – Funz and Games Tooz will be great, and my friends Rich Wilson, Eddie Brimson, Keith Carter and James Dowdeswell are always worth anyone’s time. But I’m also looking forward to doing Lee Kyles Hinge show, it’s hilarious.

Catch Mat Reed’s Stalked at Just the Tonic @ The Mash House Aug 4-17, 18-30.

Follow Mat on twitter @reed_mat

A 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Interview with Lou Sanders 

9 Jun

With the 2015 Fringe guide in our pockets, we are all getting very excited at Punchline for this year’s Edinburgh Festival. In the run up to the festival, we will be previewing shows and interviewing our favourite acts. Let’s kick things off with a lady whose new show is set to be big, bold and brilliant, Lou Sanders.

Lou Sanders

Lou Sanders

Hello Lou, how are you? 
I’m terrific thank you. I am writing this from France and it’s hard to be sad in France. Though I think Amelie was slightly anxious and she is really French.

Are you excited about performing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
Yes I am actually. I never used to get excited but I sort of am excited. And not just for the audiences.

How many times have you performed at the festival before?
This is my 4th hour show.

Your show has an intriguing title, where did it come from?
Someone sat right on my pee pee penis and it really hurt.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
It’s about me trying to get into Eton College for boys to get a better education and advance myself.

What can the Edinburgh audience expect from your show?
Expect to see a woman trying to get in to a private boys school. Jokes, anecdotes and an erection.*

*Your own

What do your preparations for the Festival involve?
Lots of previews, writing and honing. Also, like a top athlete, I put a blanket ban on any love making for the Edinburgh season and 2 months before hand just so I can focus. It’s going really well so far.

What does the Edinburgh Festival mean to you?
Good times, frustrating times. Intensity and a loss of money. Also the rainy season and then investment of a new spring coat.

Will you be taking part in any other shows?
Here and there yes but not regular shows.

What other acts do you recommend we catch during the festival?
Pick a show based on which flyerer you would most like to pash and take it from there.

Lou Sanders will perform her show “Lou Sanders: Excuse Me, You’re Sitting on My Penis Again” at The Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 17.30 each night during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Follow Lou on Twitter @lousanders

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

Scottish Institute for Enterprise Feature on Rosalind Romer from Punchline

17 Nov
Photo of Rosalind Romer, Punchline

Rosalind Romer, Punchline

Rosalind Romer is a graduate from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Counselling Studies. She is now Comedy Producer and Owner of Punchline – a new generation of shows which brings the best comedians together to create amazing nights of entertainment.

Rosalind hadn’t considered entrepreneurship when she started her university degree but had always loved comedy. After taking part in a ‘starting out’ workshop her idea for Punchline began to grow steadily. Since then, Rosalind has produced many Punchline shows in Edinburgh and Perth and won New Ventures in 2013.

“Just go for it. You can plan and plan but until you take that first step, you don’t know if it’s going to work. When you’re at university you’ve got so much support, go and ask for help. People are amazing, there’s so many resources so just go for it!”

Read the full case study here and watch a video from Rosalind below talking about how she got started and how YOU can do it too!

http://www.sie.ac.uk/about-sie/i%27m-an-entrepreneur/rosalind.aspx

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