Tag Archives: Edinburgh Comedy Awards

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 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 Carl Donnelly: Now That’s What I Carl Donnelly Vol.6

11 Aug Photograph of Carl Donnelly
Photograph of Carl Donnelly

Carl Donnelly

Words by Suzy Romer

By the time Carl Donnelly formally introduces himself to the audience, he’s already made friends with us. His relaxed style and lack of pretension make him an instant hit.

This is no mean feat because Carl has had a difficult year. He talks candidly about separation from his wife and coming off anti-depressants but never burdens the audience with his angst. Instead, he takes us through the hilarious stories of how he’s recovered his appetite for life. Many of these stories have a “You had to NOT be there” condition and cause ripples of laughter that tip back and forth across the room. His up-for-anything attitude gets him into one scrape after another but here he is to tell the tale, with his sharp outfit and self-proclaimed expensive haircut. The overriding thrust of his stories is that boys just wanna have fun, especially naughty ones, but then it’s so much better when he tells it…

When he suddenly announces it’s time to wrap up the show, it comes a bit of a shock. We’ve got to know him a little, caught up on recent stuff, but our time’s up so it’s goodbye until next time. It’s like meeting up with an old friend after a long time apart. It’s rare to find a comedian so warm and easy-going – nice one, Carl.

Catch Carl Donnelly at 8.30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard. Buy tickets here

The Punchline Guide to the 2014 Free Fringe

1 Aug

Free ComedyWith so much on offer at the Edinburgh Fringe, it can be easy to spend a fortune on booking tickets to see your favourite comedians. But the Edinburgh Fringe doesn’t have to be a huge expense; you can still see the pick of the Festival without having to fork out so much money. The Free Fringe is something Punchline greatly supports: here is our highly anticipated guide to free shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2014. Earlier this month we spoke to Tiernan Dioueb, and Tom Toal, two acts we definitely recommend you catch this year. Tom Toal’s comedic storytelling show is at Cabaret Voltaire at 2.35pm, and you can watch Tiernan Douieb delight audiences in Beat, Cowgate at 7.30pm from 13th August. We’re particularly excited about Ellie White, whose show is at 2.30pm at Viva Mexico.

Photograph of Birthday Girls

Birthday Girls in “Party Vibes”, 10pm at Cowgatehead throughout August

If sketch comedy is right up your street, we recommend the awesome Birthday GirlsHennessy and Friends, Casual ViolenceClever Peter and The Grandees, all performing free shows during the Fringe. You might know Birthday Girls as half of Lady Garden, and you can catch them every night at 10pm in Cowgatehead. Casual Violence, Clever Peter and The Grandees will perform a ticketed show as well as a free show; catch ‘Om Nom Nom Nominous’ by Casual Violence in Voodoo Rooms as part of the Free Fringe, Clever Peter’s ‘Free for All’ at Laughing Horse @ City Café at 4.15pm, and The Grandees (a weird and wonderful trio) in ‘A Creepshow’ at Heroes @ The Hive.  Hennessy and Friends are not to be missed in Venue 32, Cowgatehead at 7.30pm throughout the Fringe. Also check out In Cahoots at St Johns at 6.15pm.

Joel Dommett in "Finding Emo"

Joel Dommet in “Finding Emo”, 9pm at Laughing Horse @ The Counting House throughout August

For TV famous names at small prices, we recommend these famous faces at the Free Fringe.  Joel Dommett (BBC 3 Practical Jokers), Brendon Burns (C4 Stand Up for the Week), Mae Martin (Russell Howard’s Good News), Fern Brady (8 Out of 10 Cats) will all be involved in free shows during the Festival.

Last year, John Kearns won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer Award for his free show ‘Sight gags for Perverts’. He is back this year with another free show, ‘Shtick’, which given last year’s award, is bound to be a continuously busy affair.  Also 2013 Newcomer runner up Liam Williams will be performing as part of the Free Fringe, another event which is bound to be tipped hotly given his nomination last year. Jenny Bede won last year’s Musical Comedy Awards Best Newcomer, and this year she is here with the show Bren and Jenny.

Taking a chance on a free show is always daunting, but it is also one of the most exciting aspects of the Fringe. If you don’t want to jump in completely blindfolded, we recommend you take your chance on Lou Sanders, Chris Boyd (from Nick Helm & The Helmettes fame), Ben Target, and Jojo SutherlandDave Griffiths is one of our Top 10 recommendations for this year, with an amazing story of taking on the Big Boys.

For a glimpse behind the comedy scenes, you can investigate Comedy Death and Comedian’s Comedian. If neuroscience and rap are your thing, Off the Top is your ideal show!

If you are less keen to take a complete risk on a free show, we can recommend some very popular and highly acclaimed Fringe acts that have received praise for previous years’ performances: Adam HessDan CookLukeToulson and Eric Lampaert.

For the Free Show enthusiasts who have taken on board our guide and want to see more, here are some extra free performers that we think will put a laugh in your belly: Cariad and Louise’s Character HourStuart Mitchell, Chris Coltrane, Kieran Hodgson, Jenny Collier, Feminism for Chaps, Spencer Brown, Adam Belbin (Laughing Horse New Act of the Year Winner 2011), Ahir Shah (Best Show at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival), Candi Gigi (Hackney New Act of the Year finalist 2014), Half Baked (Winners of the Funny Women Awards 2013), Harriet Kemsley (Winner of Funny’s Funny and Bath New Act of the Year), Kat and Jon Appeal (As seen on Kerry Howard’s BBC Comedy Feeds and Doctor Brown’s Blaps), Nicky Wilkinson (Finalist New Act of the Year 2013, and finalist So You Think You’re Funny 2013), and Tom O’Mahoney.

Now, a word of warning, although the shows are Free to get in, there is a donation-in-a-bucket system at the end. If you love a show, remember you’d be paying £10-£15 elsewhere so let the performers know you loved them by putting a little (or big) something in the bucket at the end.

Have we missed anything wonderful on the Free Fringe? Let us know!

Punchline Alchemy

1 Jun

Comedians? Yes. Audience? Yes. So far so good. But what is it about Punchline that adds that extra something? We investigate with the help of Niall McCamley, drummer for The Spook School, comedian and Production Assistant at Punchline, and Matthew from Pappy’s, who headlined Punchline and who are about to be on our screens with their second series of Badults.

The Spook School are doing the music for Badults – how did that come about?

Niall: I met Pappy’s when they did Punchline in Edinburgh. I helped them find a stylophone for a sketch before the show and we got talking. We had a few pints post-show and Tom ended up asking for my number (I admit I did look ravishing that night). They came to see us play a show in London a few weeks later, then one day I got a text asking if we would record some potential theme tunes for Badults. One thing led to another and we ended up in a studio in Glasgow with Pappy’s and the Comedy Unit. We made some noise for them, they bought us lots of carrots and hummus, and then we took them to a local discotheque for jollies and dancing. It was beautiful.

Matthew: We met the Spook School backstage at Punchline in Edinburgh, they were fans of our comedy. Niall (from Spook School) got chatting to Tom (from Badults) and mentioned that he was in a band and invited him to a gig. Fate played the straight man and, when it came to do a second series of the show, we asked if they’d like to rerecord the theme tune.

Phil Pope, who is the composer of our theme-song as well as hundreds of other TV themes (and Spitting Image’s Chicken Song), came along to help produce it. Tom tried to play bongos but was rubbish. Then in the evening we went to see Spook School do a gig. It was a brilliant day. And the new theme song sounds great.

Is there something about Punchline that makes interesting things happen (on and off stage)?

Punchline EdinburghMatthew: Well it certainly seems so for us. As well as meeting Spook School; our friend Louis Decarlo came along to take photos and the evening ended with him taking a shirtless picture of us with David Trent, John Hastings and Charlie Baker (who kept his kit on, sadly).

Nick Helm, PunchlineNiall: At Punchline there is definitely a camaraderie between everyone backstage at the thought of these few people making the show happen and the masses of people waiting expectantly out front. A highlight on-stage was seeing Nick Helm clambering in and out of the crowd. He definitely smashed the fourth wall!







Badults Series 2 is on BBC3 tomorrow night at 10pm. Here’s a sneak preview:

The Spook School are currently touring The United States, but you can follow them on Twitter @spookschool for more news and gigs.

Punchline Recommends: Nick Helm!

21 Aug

Words by Susan Fordnickhelm

One Man Mega Myth!

Nick Helm headlined the second Punchline show, and performed quite possibly the most raucous night we’ve seen yet. Helm is big in personality and as equally big in volume, so be prepared for a proper riotous show and hilarious good time as Nick Helm presents his Edinburgh Fringe show ‘One Man Mega Myth’

In 2011, Helm won Dave’s Funniest Joke Award, and has just been announced as a contender this year for the Edinburgh Comedy Award: we recommend you catch him now before he hits stadium level. Helm gives his utmost everything to ensure his show is a loud, energetic and fun one, but most of all, to ensure the audience is always on the edge of their seats anticipating what will happen next.

“Do you like jokes?” screams Helm multiple times into the front row; and then the show has started, a long line of gags and manic scenarios. Helm sings (with the aid of a band made up of audience members), recites poetry, and tells emotional anecdotes in amongst his jokes, creating a variety show second to none. He delivers it all with his trademark anger and revealing costumes, meaning the production is as visually wonderful as it is funny.

Russell Howard quoted Helm as “the funniest break down I’ve ever seen”, and at a first glance that’s exactly what is happening! At a second glance however, it’s clear to see Helm has scripted his set absolutely magnificently to represent a style of angry and dangerous comedy unique only to himself. One Man Mega Myth is one of the most exciting shows on this year’s Fringe, full of props and extreme showmanship, but above all, is utterly hilarious from start to finish.

Nick Helm is on every day in Pleasance at 4pm, with tickets still available.

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