Tag Archives: Free Fringe

Punchline recommends Mark Simmons: One Linererer

19 Aug

Photograph of Mark SimmonsWords by Susan Stewart

The Edinburgh Fringe is an excellent platform for comedians and performers to talk about big issues, and this year has certainly brought a lot of well-deserved hot topics to the forefront of comedy. However, sometimes you just need hundreds of jokes thrown at you really quickly, to momentarily forget how grey the world is outside. I know just the man to bring this kind of levity and joy: if you were wondering where all the jokes are, you can find them in Mark Simmons show, One-Linererer.

Mark’s show is everything you’d hope it would be with a title One-Linererer; it is full of fast, punchy one-line jokes, combining clever and silly in the perfect recipe.  It is a show that you need to be on board with from the start, because if you fall behind, you aren’t going to be able to keep up to the end.  Despite being a show of one-liners, Simmons sets up each punchline perfectly, with callbacks and themes that you wouldn’t think could even be possible.

Catch Mark Simmons: One-Linererer at 4pm at Banshee Labyrinth throughout August. This is a free performance, though we recommend a generous donation at the end of the show.

Punchline recommends Henry Paker: Man Alive

16 Aug

WPhotograph of Henry Pakerords by Ross Stark

A live drawing intro is a gentle ice breaker that kicks off this absolute treat of a show. Paker paints an image of living an unhappy middle class life; doing so only to keep his middle class wife happy. However, not everything is as it seems.

The show cuts between Paker’s stand-up and a live narration of a story board containing hand drawn images. It is a beautiful piece of work with a musical accompaniment that provides an experience comparable to that of Dianne Jackson’s “The Snowman”.

Paker has a gentle, eager-to-please comedic style and a wonderful and extremely professional narration.

Henry Paker should be proud. He has a beautiful show on his hands and I can’t recommend it enough.

Catch Henry Paker: Man Alive at 5.10pm at Banshee Labyrinth throughout August

Punchline recommends Lou Sanders: Shame Pig

13 Aug

Words by Suzy Romer

You have to be in a room with Lou Sanders at least once in your life because a Lou Sanders show is one of the defining experiences of the Fringe. She deals swiftly with stragglers and her sparky one liners are a joy to behold. Once everyone is paying proper attention she relaxes into her unique style of delivery which has a meandering sway as she picks subjects from here, there and everywhere to examine for our delight and then moves on.

She has found peace on a lot of difficult subjects in her life and you know what? It has made her comedy the funniest yet. At Punchline we have always loved Lou but this year she is beginning to shine as the very best version of herself. Her material about sex is free of taboos and filters and she says some stuff I haven’t heard ANYone say out loud before. I know I am not the only one thinking this because there are very loud cackles of recognition from around the room while the rest are laughing and learning. Lou’s wisdom comes through hands-on trial and error and she shares her failures and successes with a candid cheeriness that enchants the room and tickles funny bones we didn’t know we had.

Catch Lou Sanders: Shame Pig at Monkey Barrel 1 at 12.30pm throughout August.

Punchline Quizzes Carl Donnelly

13 Jul

Photograph of Carl DonnellyWho puts your pants in the washing machine?

I do. I’m actually a big fan of chores. I find them very relaxing and they give you good thinking time.

Which words make you giggle or give you an inner flip of amusement?

Limes. We had a running joke on our podcast about that word for some reason.

Tell us about your favourite addictions.

I am blessed without an addictive personality luckily so can do anything in moderation if I so choose.

What’s your favourite comedy routine of all time?

Norm Macdonald’s routine about heart attacks and buying a defibrillator.

Where is your favourite place to go for food during the Edinburgh Fringe?

The Auld Hoose serves vegan nachos that are so big that it feels like an episode of Man Vs Food. A couple of times each fringe a few of us go there to take on the challenge.

What’s the weirdest thing an audience member has ever said to you?

I once got invited to a party after a gig and it turned out to be a 50th birthday party of the stepfather of the person who asked me. It was in a conservatory about 10 miles away. I went and it ended up being a fun but quite strange evening.

What have you learned about life through performing at the Fringe?

To not worry about what people think of you. My early years at the fringe were spent stressing about reviews, etc. but once I learned to stop reading them and just enjoy being at the biggest arts festival in the world performing my own show, I started enjoying it a lot more.

If you could be in a sketch with any two living comedians, who would they be and what would the sketch be about?

Tommy Tiernan and Phil Kay. They’re my two favourite comedians so it would probably be about an awkward fan boy who is trying to act cool around two of his heroes.

Tell us about a coincidence or piece of luck that led you to where you are today.

Going to the Banana Cabaret in South London in 2002 because my girlfriend at the time wanted to watch some comedy. I had never seen stand-up before and it blew my mind and set me on a course that ended with me trying it a few years later. The rest is history.

Who are you most excited about seeing this year?

The guys who run Jordan Valley whole foods on Nicholson Street. Every fringe I live around the corner and pop in most days and not only do I really like the food they sell but I love just how little they care about the fringe. They are a daily dose of reality amongst all the madness.

What can you definitely advise us against doing in Edinburgh?

Constantly talking to people about shows. We’re all up there doing and seeing shows so it’s nice to chat to people about normal things to remind ourselves we’re not the centre of the universe.


Catch Carl Donnelly: Strictly Carl Donnelly! at The Counting House at 6.45pm, 2 – 26 August (not 13)

Join this ‘observational genius’ (Guardian) for his 10th solo show! In 10 years he’s been married, divorced, happy, depressed and twice nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award. This year he’s taking stock and seeing if his life, in those 10 years of coming to the Fringe, has lived up to his expectations. You may have seen him on telly (Mock The Week, Comedy Central) and he’s ‘ludicrously funny’ (Skinny). Come along innit.

In the Hot Seat: Carmen Lynch

27 Jul

Photograph of Carmen LynchOne of Amy Schumer’s absolute favourite comedians is coming to the Edinburgh Fringe for the very first time!

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

I see Arthur’s Seat, but I’m standing at the bottom. I need to work on my visualizations.

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

When my 8 year old niece asked me why I wasn’t famous.

Tell us about this year’s show? 

It’s a bunch of my favourite jokes -thoughts about death and Jesus balanced with some lighter topics like animals and cupcakes.

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions? 

If I had to predict (since I don’t know yet), I would guess lots coffee and aimless wandering leading to getting lost and taking pictures.

What is your getting ready music?

Old upbeat music like Britney Spears or Wham. The more embarrassed I’d be to getting busted dancing to it, the better.

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

Robert Downey Jr. Everything he does seems so effortless and real. I want to take in some of that energy, but I’d probably just creepily stare.

What is the best backhanded compliment you have ever had?

‘Keep doing what you’re doing – you have a lot of potential!’

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

John Ritter as Jack Tripper on Three’s Company. His physical comedy and facial expressions were top-notch on every episode.

What should Donald Trump know?

Nothing. He’s Donald Trump.

What do you do in Edinburgh that your parents wouldn’t approve of?

It’s what I won’t do – the dishes!

Catch Carmen Lynch: Lynched at 4pm at the Counting House throughout August

In the Hot Seat: Carl Donnelly

26 Jul

Photograph of Carl Donnelly

One of our longstanding favourites, make sure you see Carl performing “The Nutter on the Bus” on an actual bus…

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

That’s a good question. The opening question to about 90% of Q&As is “What made you become a comedian”. I love Edinburgh. Not just the Fringe but the actual city. When I close my eyes and picture it, I see the view over the city from the top of Arthur’s Seat. It’s rare that you can walk for 30 minutes from a city centre and then be looking over the whole city from the top of an ancient volcano.

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

Comedian (and my partner in crime) Chris Martin said the word “panties” in an American accent during a conversation the other day and it really caught me off guard. It was totally out of the blue and it really gave us the giggles. We have the ability to just catch each other with a phrase that turns us into giggling idiots. Last night we were having a conversation while driving about how Ed Sheeran pops up in a lot of stuff currently. I turned to Chris and said “He’s like onions and garlic. They’re also in a lot of things” Needless to say, he nearly crashed the car due to my stupidity.

Tell us about this year’s show.

It’s a selection of stories about some of my more alternative life choices over the last few years that I’ve made in a bid to better myself and take control of my emotions and mental state. Four years ago I was on anti-depressants, in therapy and generally existing in a state of constant apathy. Now I’m much happier but on paper I think people would question some of the things I’ve done to get to this point as they include ‘alternative therapies’. I’m prone to the odd hippy excursion and partaking in hallucinogenic ceremonies that involve a lot of crying and vomiting.

Who do you want to see this year?

Loads of stuff. It’s the biggest arts festival in the world so I could see something in every waking hour and still not see everything I wanted to. The first show I am seeing (on its opening night) is Hannah Gadsby’s show. She’s excellent.

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions?

Day one I go shopping with Jimmy McGhie for nice house things for our accommodation. It sounds silly but we’re living in a flat that isn’t ours for a month so I think it’s important to make it feel like home. We go and buy new bedsheets, towels, incense (or scented candles depending on our mood) and other nice bits and bobs.

What is your getting ready music?

INXS’ Need You Tonight is one I constantly return to when getting ready for my show. During the day when I’m relaxing I tend to have a lot of chilled ambient types of music (Brian Eno is a regular on the daytime playlist). The moment it gets to near showtime and I need a little energy boost, INXS get called off the bench. If you get the chance, watch the official video for Need You Tonight. It’s on YouTube and you will get to see one of the greatest rock lead singers in his prime. He was so sexy that even as a heterosexual man, that video does things to me.

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

See question 6. Hutchence in his prime. He died far too young so it would be great to have him back with us.

What is the best backhanded compliment you have had?

I won the Chortle Award for ‘Best Club Comedian’ this year which I was very touched to receive but a tiny part of me can’t help but hear that title as a backhanded compliment. It kind of sounds like that’s all I do.  The comedy circuit is varied and in some ways quite fractured. Some comics only play clubs, some only do festivals etc. I like to think of myself as being one of the group that are able to play all facets of the circuit. I play festivals all around the world, perform at most clubs, do two podcasts and plenty more. Basically I was honoured to win but like all comedians I managed to see some negative in a nice thing.  Part of me wants there to be a ‘Best Comedian Who Does Loads of Stuff’ award which I could win.

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

Dave Allen. He’s one of the few childhood heroes who lasted the journey into adulthood. I still think of him as one of my biggest comedy influences.

What should Donald Trump know?

If ever there is someone who needs to take a heavy dose of hallucinogens (with the aid of a shaman in a controlled environment of course) it’s old Donald. He’s the most egotistical person I’ve ever seen. He’s incapable of answering a question without it being about him. If he’s asked about nuclear deterrents, rather than answer with any fact or opinion, he prefaces it with a comment about how much ‘he’ knows about nuclear deterrents. It’s fascinating to watch.  I think he needs an experience where he is detached from his ego and can see the irrelevance of his own existence as an individual. I recommend he go to an ayahuasca retreat for a week to learn the interconnectivity of all things and how small a part of that he actually is.

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

They would not be too happy that I talk about them onstage. They feature quite heavily in this show as a lot of my past mental health issues can be traced back to my childhood. Luckily for me, they never come to see my shows. They also don’t have the internet so have no way of finding out that I’m discussing them.

Catch Carl Donnelly: The Nutter on the Bus at 7.30pm at Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus throughout August

In the Hot Seat: Tiernan Douieb

26 Jul

Photo of Tiernan DouiebClose your eyes and picture Edinburgh. What do you see?

Beautiful cobbled streets, Arthur’s Seat and the Castle looming over them with sheer presence. And me not being able to really look at any of that because I’m trying to dodge being flyered for a drunk version of a play about alcoholism while not getting hit in the face by horizontal rain. In summer.

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

Actually it was watching Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s Oh Hello On Broadway on Netflix. There’s some many excellent gags but a couple in particular that made me snort and spill my drink. Before that it was a picture of a tiny Pomeranian dog that looked very cute but had been named ‘Mr Wilson.’ I have very unstable comedy tastes.

Tell us about this year’s show.

Well I usually write topical political material but as this past year or so has been so eventful, I got a tad fed up with re-writing jokes every 5 minutes. So this year’s show is more generally political and looks at why people (including me) get stuck in their opinions and why it’s impossible to make everyone happy. Except the audiences of my shows, obvs. Ahem. I’ve even tried to get angry this year but apparently I’ve still not quite managed it, so instead there’s lots of jokes and one use of the word ‘banana.’

Who do you want to see this year?

I’m most excited about seeing Andy Daly at the Gilded Balloon. His show Review With Forest McNeil made me howl with laughter, as did his appearances on Comedy Bang Bang and his Podcast Pilot Show. Daly has an incredible ability – that I’m super jealous of – where just his facial expressions have you in stitches and he tows the fine line between comedy & tragedy so perfectly. If you get a chance, google ‘Jerry O’Hearn (Andy Daly)’  where he does 5 mins of stand-up that is just comedy tropes and no actual jokes. It’s incredibly funny. I’m on The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society with him at the Monkey Barrel on August the 6th and honestly worried I’ll act like an idiot fan boy.

Do you have any Edinburgh Fringe traditions?

Yes but they are pretty much all food based. They involve visiting Mary’s Milk Bar as often as possible. Having a giant baked potato only once, then regretting it all day as I can’t move due to a food coma. Also eating at Koyama Japanese restaurant which is always excellent. Oh and also the tradition of me saying ‘I won’t do too many extra shows this year apart from my own one’ then getting booked in to do loads of extra shows.

What is your getting ready music?

I haven’t picked it yet as this year I think I’m just going to choose a playlist based on music my tech Sarah likes as she has to hear it 20+ times. Though she has given me her preferences of Prince or Bowie, so I’m very happy with that. I think she only likes dead musicians.

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

Mr.Wilson. He’s my new hero.

What is the best backhanded compliment you have had?

There’s a lot to pick from. Recently I had ‘I don’t really like comedy but that show was great.’ Good. It appeals to people who don’t like comedy. That’s exactly what I wanted. Sigh.

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

The Muppets. All of them really but particularly the running gag in Muppets In Manhattan where they insist Kermit and Fozzie are twins but the only way to tell bears and frogs apart is because bears wear hats. Joyous silliness.

What should Donald Trump know?

I feel like this requires a 10,000 word essay response but aside from just putting ‘Anything. I wish he’d know anything at all apart from his own narcissistic needs’, I think the answer would be that the more he protests about his connections with Russia the more we’re convinced there are some. He’s now said ‘I’ve no connections with Russia’ so many times I’m starting to think he’s constantly in the Kremlin and all the rest of the world sees is a hologram projected to various locations. This would explain his odd skin tone and fear of stairs.

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

Eat at Mary’s Milk Bar as often as possible. My parents are pretty chilled but no one should eat as much ice cream as I attempt to in August.

Catch Tiernan Douieb: Miserably Happy at 2.30pm at the Waverley Bar throughout August. Tiernan is one of our top shows this year

Punchline Recommends Adam Hess: Feathers

20 Aug

Word by Ross Stark

Photograph of Adam HessAdam Hess gives his all in this fast paced, frantic but wonderfully funny hour.

Like a toddler high on Haribo, he runs down the aisle and leaps to the stage. The first 30 minutes are frantic, in fact the whole show is; so many stories, so little time. Without pause he rattles through his routine at lightening speed.

This is Hess’s style and he works it so well, knowing exactly what he’s doing as he blitzes through the first few jokes, barely leaving any time for laughter. When he does eventually pause there is an almighty roar as uncontrollable laughter sweeps throughout the room. Young to old, every single person seems to be in fits.

Hess is full of wonderful material, from interviews to dates, parents to school. All topics doing the the same thing; painting this wonderful picture of a socially awkward but hysterically funny guy. Hess is renowned for his great one liners and though he delivers plenty within this set they suddenly seem second best to these excellent anecdotes.

Genuinely one of the funniest shows I have seen this fringe. Adam Hess is highly recommended.

Catch Adam Hess: Feathers at 4.10pm at Heroes @ The Hive until 28 August

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

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

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