Tag Archives: Stand-up

Punchline recommends Larry Dean: Farcissist

21 Aug

Words by Iain McLaren

Most of us have had a bad date or two in our search for that special someone, but few can share those stories in the same hilarious and engaging manner as Larry Dean. Join him for an hour of honesty delivered by a someone with a keen eye for the funny side of life and an amazing ability to share it with everyone. This comedian is just coming in to the height of his powers, expect big things!

See our recommendation as part of the best 2016 Fringe shows here and see the man himself at the Pleasance Courtyard at 7.15pm every night until 28 August. Tickets and info here

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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.

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)

Punchline Recommends: Lucy Beaumont ‘We Can Twerk it Out’

22 Aug
Photograph of Lucy Beaumont

Lucy Beaumont

Words by Suzy Romer

Lucy Beaumont opens her show by kindly introducing us to her Hull accent, but you know what? She had us at “hullo”. Right from the start, we find ourselves in a conversational relationship where we are literally expected to say yes and no, and we thoroughly enjoy doing so.

This is her first full-length show at the Fringe but you wouldn’t know it. She glows as she tells us about her experiences, observations and ideas. Her friend Jackie is having difficulty meeting the right man and the stories about her are a perfect balance of poignancy and twinkling cheekiness. Lucy’s mum worries about her safety when she is out alone and comes up with a highly original way to fend off potential attackers. Lucy Beaumont’s world is very real, yet every cloud has a comic lining.

For the duration of the show we are gently lifted out of our own existence and forget ourselves. Lucy Beaumont is warm and wry and enjoys springing an occasional surprise on her captivated audience. I leave the venue having already adopted her lilting “I know…” when I agree with something. She may still be taking off but she is going to be one high flier in comedy and she leaves diamonds in her wake.

Lucy Beaumont is at Pleasance Courtyard at 5.45pm until Sunday if you can get your hands on a ticket. But of course you will have if you took our Top 10 recommendations at the start of the fringe!

An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview with Nish Kumar

12 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Nish Kumar

Nish Kumar

The festival is still going strong, and I’ve had the delightful opportunity to speak to some of my favourite comedians for Punchline. Today I’m with Nish Kumar, the “veteran underdog” of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Hello Nish Kumar how are you?
Pretty good thanks friend – how are you? (Bit cold but in love with the Fringe – SF)

Are you enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
Yeah it’s been pretty fun. I’m eating a lot of noodles. Is that weird? (Who doesn’t love noodles? – SF)

Is this your first time at the Festival?
Nope – it’s actually my ninth consecutive year here. They call me the “veteran underdog”.

What have been your highlights so far?
The noodles have been pretty great. Also David Trent has been constantly photographing my every move on his twitter feed.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
Opinions – how they are formed and how we express them. It does have jokes in it though.

What have the audience reactions been like so far?
Pretty good. I’m expecting a terrible one any day now.

What other shows do you recommend this year?
Nat Metcalfe, Tom Neenan, Stu Goldsmith, David Trent and Massive Dad.

See Nish Kumar’s act ‘Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity’ at the Edinburgh Festival, 7.15pm in Pleasance Courtyard (Beside) until 24th August. Buy tickets here

Tom Toal: An Edinburgh Fringe 2014 Interview

21 Jul

Words by Susan Fordtom toal

Tom Toal has performed previously at Fringe alongside Ian Smith, and most recently last year, as part of the famous Comedy Reserve. This year welcomes a full hour of stand up from Tom with his show ‘Tom Toal in Prequel’. After catching snippets of his preview, we are really looking forward to his performance this year, and caught up with him to discuss.

Hello Tom Toal how are you?
Very well thank you, just got indoors before the rain started so that’s always gonna put a smile on your face.

How excited about performing at the Edinburgh 2014 Fringe are you?
I’m very excited, Edinburgh is what you gear towards all year round, cannot wait to be up there.

Last year you were part of the famous Comedy Reserve, but this year you are going solo, how does it feel?
It’s certainly lonelier, if we ever got plaudits last year we shared it as we did with criticism. This year gotta have some big shoulders to take onboard such things.

How does performing for a full hour yourself compare to teaming up with other comedians with a shorter set?
With an hour you have so much more time to explain more of your themes and make it a bit more theatre, with a shorter set it’s more focused on how funnier you can be before your time is up.

Without giving too much away, what is your show about?
There is a twist at the end where you find something out about me, but I’ll not give that away. It’s about how life comes full circle, and all the things we learn through childhood and adolescence prepare us for when life truly kicks in.

Have you been doing many previews and are they going well?
They have been going well, had one where I stank the room up but it made me work so much harder and ended up being a blessing in disguise.

What is the best thing about the Edinburgh Festival for you?
For the whole month I can concentrate on working towards being the best stand up I can be, and the feeling of improvement at the end of every festival.

Who else do you recommend to see this year
Ian Smith, Rhys James, Joe Wells, Fin Taylor, Sean McLoughlin, Mat Ewins, John Hastings, Nish Kumar, James Acaster, Lucy Beaumont.

Catch Tom Toal’s show ‘In Prequel‘ at 2.35pm at Cabaret Voltaire throughout the festival.

Edinburgh Fringe 2013 Preview: an interview with Katie Mulgrew

11 Jul

Katie Mulgrew: Your Dad's Not Funny

Katie Mulgrew: Your Dad’s Not Funny


Words by Susan Ford

Katie Mulgrew is currently previewing her new Edinburgh Fringe show up and down the country in the lead up to this year’s festival. The performance showcases this lovely lady as an extremely funny comedian, a clever joke writer at heart and a twister of the imagination. Last year at the Fringe Katie Mulgrew performed a 30 minute set alongside Tony Jamieson, but this year sees her stand up to her first full hour set at The Stand. When she previewed her show in the Beehive Edinburgh last week, I got the opportunity to catch up with her to discuss the Fringe 2013:

SF: Hello Katie Mulgrew, how are you?
KM: I am splendid, although the hot weather has reduced me to a puddle of a woman.

SF: Are you excited to be playing this year’s Edinburgh Fringe?
KM: I am more excited than I was when I first discovered you could get microwave camembert. WHICH IS VERY.

SF: How many times have you played the Fringe now?
KM: This is my first year doing a solo show but last year I did a split show with another stand up and then before that I’ve compared a couple of late shows and done various bits and bobs. I also worked in the Box office of one of the Fringe venues one year. I’ve been coming seven years but performed for about four of them.

SF: Your solo show is called ‘Your Dad’s Not Funny’, where does this name come from and what does it mean?
KM: It was what kids at school used to say to me because my Dad’s job was a comedian.

SF: Tell me a bit of what the audience can expect from your show this year?
KM: Jokes, pictures of cats and a probably poorly judged rap.

SF: What other acts do you recommend during this year’s festival?
KM: Michael J Dolan, Gary Delaney, Peacock and Gamble, Jayne Edwards, Cariad Lloyd, Gein’s Family giftshop, John Robins.

SF: What are your plans for the lead up to the festival?
KM: To try and not drive myself insane and to sleep loads.

SF: Where can we find out more about Katie Mulgrew?
KM: Well I am glad you asked me that, my website is http://www.katiemulgrew.co.uk or you can like my Facebook page thingy https://www.facebook.com/katiemulgrewcomedian
OR follow me on twitter @katiemulg. Phew, think that is all social media covered.

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

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