Tag Archives: Edinburgh

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

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

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 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

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.

Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Pin

20 Aug

The_Pin

Words by Hannah Clapham-Clark

The Pin are a sketch double act comprising of Ben Ashenden, a bespectacled live-wire erring on the side of simple and Alexander Owen, the constantly frustrated straight man who believes he is destined for greater things.

These are, of course, just personas (we hope!) who link the show’s sketches together in brief and increasingly bizarre interludes, whilst dangling the hope of a high-brow, unpublished play, “The Vicar’s Secret”, which is set to finish the show. Sadly, things don’t go according to plan though as we instead become witnesses to a fairly traumatic relationship breakdown.

In the midst of all this compelling awkwardness we’re introduced to a multitude of weird and interesting charatcers; From a pathetically distraught Ed Milliband being coached through a meeting with Barack Obama to a painful display of Frank Lampard’s struggling to film a Gillette advert, as well as a highly incompetent secret agent and an enlightening slide show consisting of Ben’s very unique App ideas.

The old cliché of sketch shows being “hit and miss” is completely forgotten when watching The Pin. With a strong structure and a reassuring confidence, it’s a struggle to find a dull moment. They prove their worth as a polished and exciting act whose future is beyond promising. Original ideas and a developed, authentic stage presence asserts their place as a source of much needed reinvigoration within sketch comedy. There is something slightly unhinged, peculiar and fascinating about the duo’s chemistry which result in a finely tuned, successful hour.

Catch The Pin at The Pleasance Courtyard, 6.15pm until 26 August.

Click here for more information and tickets and here for our interview with them before the Fringe.

Edinburgh Festival 2013 preview: an interview with Tom Toal

12 May

tomtoalEdinburgh Festival is fast approaching, and as the line ups, headliners and most anticipated new acts are announced, I thought I’d get in on the action. After last year’s Fringe, I only managed to squeeze in 67 shows, but I did see some cracking comedians that are bound to make an even bigger and better mark this year. Over the next couple of months, in the lead up to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, I will be talking to some of our favourite people from last year’s Festival, and to a heap of new upcoming stars we reckon you should keep your eyes on.

This week I caught up with Tom Toal, one of comedy’s rising stars who has spent last year performing in all the major clubs up and down the country to rapt audiences and rave reviews. I gave him five stars for his show in 2012 (double headliner with Ian Smith) and this year he is back again as part of a new show ‘The Comedy Reserve’.

“The T-Dog is certainly one of the most promising of today’s emerging comics.” – Steve Bennett, Chortle

SF: So Tom, tell us a bit about your Edinburgh Festival Show…
TT: The show is called The Comedy Reserve, and it is on at the Pleasance Dome at 9.30pm every night. It is an extremely lovely show to be a part of because it’s a showcase of up and coming stand ups. The alumni reads like a who’s who in comedy; Jack Whitehall, Joe Lycett, and Jared Hardy have all done it before.

SF: How many times have you played the festival now?
TT: This is my fourth time at the festival.

SF: What is your favourite thing about the Edinburgh festival?
TT: The sheer number of incredible shows that are a stone’s throw away from you at any time or place within the month, and the wealth of talent at your disposal to go and watch are really amazing.

SF: Have you gigged in Edinburgh before outside of the festival? If so, what’s your favourite venue?
TT: I have been to the Edinburgh Stand a couple of times outside the festival, and quite simply it’s an incredible venue to do stand-up comedy in, one of the best in Britain.

SF: If you could recommend five other comedians at the Fringe, who would they be?
TT: Ian Smith (I live with him) – he has put his all into this show, and I know it will be incredible; Matt Richardson – in the past I’ve shared a bed with him, but that in no way led to this recommendation, he will rock it; Bo Burnham – I’ve already booked my ticket; Matt Ewins – If you want something different and a bit out there, then go see this man; Nick Helm – In my experience of Edinburgh, every year involves a Nick Helm show, its one hell of an experience, sheer adulterated joy.

SF: Apart from your show, are you doing anything else for the Fringe?
TT: I might go swimming, and probably check out the new Partridge film…..oh and I reckon I’ll gig as much as I can.

SF: Obviously the Edinburgh Fringe is your favourite comedy festival, but what other festivals do you enjoy?
TT: Leicester is very cool, I like the city a lot and the venues are great.

Catch Tom Toal every night of the Edinburgh Festival at the Comedy Reserve alongside previous Punchline performer John Hastings. http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/comedy-reserve

By Susan Ford

Jimmy Carr @ Edinburgh Playhouse, 5 May 2013

6 May
Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr @ Edinburgh Playhouse, 5 May 2013

Jimmy Carr is a famous TV host, actor, writer and tax dodger.  Tonight however, Jimmy Carr trumps these monikers and puts his best attribute to the forefront: Comedian.  He self-describes his set as “2 hours of me and approximately 3 jokes every minute”, well; he’s done a better job already than any critic of summarising his stand up show ‘Gagging Order’.  Jimmy Carr is very good at taking the piss out of his own, and very public, misfortunes, but is even better at ripping it from the hecklers.  Ladies and gentlemen, take your place on the edge of your seat and welcome to the stage, the hardest working man in comedy: Jimmy Carr.

The Edinburgh Playhouse seats about 3000 people, which is an awful lot of purchased tickets, yet so many of the crowd appear to be sceptical of Jimmy’s talent tonight.  Hecklers, abusive Scots and Bank Holiday Drunks make themselves very vocally known, evidently under the impression that taking on a professional comedian in a battle of wits is a fight they can win.  How silly of them: if you choose to participate this evening, Jimmy Carr will hilariously take you down.

Obviously, Jimmy Carr is very clever, and lends his intellect to every witticism and anecdote delivered this evening.  It takes Jimmy’s art of looking at any given situation in a completely different way to the average man, to produce the best puns like he does.  He is very fast, intelligent and extremely dapper; only Jimmy Carr can add sophistication to a cock joke! It’s this elegant delivery of crude material that makes it so fall-off-your-seat funny, and the only style of comedy expected of him.

If Jimmy’s below-the-belt gags weren’t descriptive enough, he’s got some animations lined up to really imprint the punchline on to your brain.  Not for the light-hearted or easily offended, the animations portray Jimmy’s mind at work, and finish the jokes off immaculately. Straying from his standard stand up doesn’t stop there either, as he invites audience members on to the stage to take part in his dirty sitcom: it’s a good job he’s picked some good sports for the sketch as hilarity pursues yet again.

Jimmy Carr has his haters in it is clear, however, they are over-ridden by all the other people who are in support of his work here this evening.  Love him or hate him however, his jokes are undeniably fast, innovative and very, very good: try and find another comedian that can fill two hours with original material, and still have the jocularity to slam down a heckler if needed.

By Susan Ford

Introducing Rosalind Romer, otherwise known as Punchline

16 Apr

Welcome to Punchline’s first blog! As the first entry, we thought you might like to know a little more about the person behind the scenes…

I am Rosalind Romer, otherwise known as Punchline. I produce and promote large-scale comedy shows in Edinburgh, bringing the best comedians together to create amazing nights of comedy.Rosalind Romer

Comedy has always been a part of my life. From watching The Marx Brothers at 4 and Blackadder at 9, I moved on to live comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe when I was 10. When I was old enough, I worked at the Fringe Box Office during my summer holidays and went to see as many shows as possible. When I graduated from Glasgow University, I went on a trip to Australia and the Melbourne Comedy Festival, and snuck in the Adelaide Fringe while I was there.

I returned to the UK full of enthusiasm, and applied to be a judge on the Perrier Panel. After an extensive interviewing process, I was told I had been successful.  I had to ask them to repeat it when they said I had won! It was an intense three weeks, where I broke the record of seeing the most shows (over 100). I got the comedy bug more than ever and decided a career in comedy was for me.

After scouting for the Perrier Awards the following year, I went to seek my fortune in London and worked at Chambers Management for two years, managing Jimmy Carr’s tours, and working with Frankie Boyle, Sarah Millican and Andrew Lawrence.

I was then asked back to coordinate the now Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, where I stayed for two years. London was exciting but after four years I felt Edinburgh calling me home. But one thing was missing. Comedy. In August, Edinburgh is the centre of the comedy universe, but there isn’t the same choice as London which is the home of most UK comedians. Which is where Punchline comes in. I took the plunge, choosing the best four comedians and mixing a carefully balance blend of comedy to suit all tastes, and staging it in one of the country’s most lavish buildings, The Usher Hall. The reception was very positive, and one year on, I have produced my third show.

So what’s next? There are exciting plans in the Punchline pipeline which will unfold soon…

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