The 2018 Fringe is just about to begin. Thousands of acts are frantically rehearsing in the anticipation that this could be there greatest festival yet!
Each year more and more comedians travel from all around the world (well the countries that are at least fluent in English) to sell their comedic wares to the thousands of punters who trudge the never-ending hills of Scotland’s capital nearly every day in August.
Edinburgh is one of the most competitive comedy festivals in the world. Even household names like Josh Widdicombe and Nick Helm have found themselves playing 25 shows in a row, downstairs at a pub on the quietest street in the capital just playing to their technicians and some empty seats. But sometimes word of mouth and some excellent reviews can send a show up into the stratosphere and become that ‘not-to-miss show’.
The festival has become a fantastic starting block for so many comedians careers – the likes of Dudley Moore, Emma Thompson and Steve Coogan all found early acclaim at the festival. Last year, John Robins and Hannah Gadsby co-won best show, but who will be discovered this year?
There are dozens of articles asking performers who to catch this year so we thought we would ask for something different and give the newbies a chance by asking some of the best names in comedy which rising stars to catch this year? Obviously not before checking out their own glorious hours of comedy.
“This is my first show in four years & begins where that last one left off at my final show of the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014. It’s a storytelling stand-up show involving a break-up, David Bowie, Jeremy Irons, Bob Dylan & Paul Ross. It’s certainly the most personal thing I’ve written but it’s also still pretty silly.”
MATT REES – HAPPY HOUR
“My tip for someone taking their first hour to the Fringe is Matt Rees. If you’re a comedy fan it’s likely you already know Matt because he’s been nominated & won various new act awards. When I first started doing stand-up I would regularly get excited seeing other performers I’d never seen before being absolutely brilliant. These instances became less frequent the longer I did it, perhaps I just became more jaded, but very occasionally they do still happen. I remember Spencer Jones & I seeing John Kearns for the first time & being giddy and almost fan-boyish after his 10 minute spot, and we were acts waiting to go on. I had a similar thing seeing Matt Rees. I remember telling everyone how good he was, only to find everyone else already knew this because he’d been tearing up all the new act comps. ”
Pleasance Courtyard – The Cellar: 16:45 August 1-12,14-26
“I am Suzi Ruffell, my show this year is called Nocturnal, it’s about all the worries that keep me up at night which doesn’t sound like fertile ground for comedy but it really is, in fact, I think this is my best show to date. I can’t wait to get to the festival.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing Rosie Jones, I love her and her stand up. I think it will be a really great show! I’m also looking forward to seeing Jake Lambert and Heidi Regan.”
ANGELOS AND BARRY
“Angelos and Barry – A Matter of Life and Death” is our new show featuring Angelos Epithemiou and Barry from Watford. Angelos has taken up erotic art and wants to make it as an artist displaying at the Tate Modern, while Barry has been invited off to entertain the troops. They are offering up a hilarious retrospective of their previous work. But will they split up? Surely not!”
ANGELOS AND BARRY recommend:
TINA T’URNER TEA LADY & FRIENDS
“Our tip for the festival is Tina T’urner Tea Lady and Friends at the Frankenstein. She is always so watchable and absurdly funny. Also incredibly endearing in all she does.”
“What Is Love Baby Don’t Hurt Me. If my best mate asked me what my show was I’d say. I don’t know mate, same old shit I suppose, me banging on about sex and addiction and porn but also this time I’m finally talking about relationships so I feel really vulnerable and sick. But I do think it’s the funniest show I’ve done. So that’s something. God, I hope you like it mate. Otherwise, it’s gonna be so awkward when we have drinks afterwards. I think you’ll like it. You’ve been in love. You’ll relate. You’ll probably cry. Oh mate. I’m sorry I brought that up. Stop crying… Mate… come on mate…”
“The new show I’m interested in seeing is Rosie Jones. I met her a few times and she was very funny and it’s directed by Rachel Ann Stubbings who is one of my comedy heroes so if she’s involved the quality will definitely be very high.”
“I would like as many people as possible to see my show because:
1) it’s excellent and funny
2) it’s a really good way to find out exactly how funny depressed people are (really fun btw)”
“I would recommend Sara Barron: I’ve seen her show twice in preview and it’s punchy, acerbic and honest. So funny.”
Just The Tonic – The Tron: 15: 40, August 2-12. 14-26
“My show this year is a look back over the decade I’ve been doing solo shows at the Fringe and how I’ve changed (and also how the world around me has changed). I decided to just be as funny as possible this year (i’m not getting too deep or trying to exorcise and demons) so it’s been really fun getting it together and previewing it. As it’s my tenth show I’m pretty relaxed about it as Edinburgh just feels like a natural part of the year to me. I remember how stressful those early ones were (especially in my debut year). All the stress was of my own doing in hindsight. If I could give any advice to people doing their debut shows, it’s to try and enjoy it, those early ones should be fun. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself as you’ll look back and realise how silly it was to spend a month at the most amazing arts festival in the world stressing out. Go and see shows, don’t obsess over what people are saying about you and have fun onstage. Fringe audiences are nice and will give everyone a chance (especially newcomers) so try and relax.”
“I’d recommend Jacob Hawley. I’ve seen him a few times recently and he’s not only funny but a really nice guy. It’s nice meeting newer acts who seem to slot into the comedy world nicely. There’s nothing worse than an arrogant new act. You should check Jacob out, you won’t be disappointed.”
“I’ve been doing comedy for 8 years now and wanted to do something a bit different this year. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a kid, and really wanted to combine the two art forms. It’s my most personal show to date. I’ve only just started on the poetry scene, but this year I’ve been playing at various festivals and recently performed at the Roundhouse. I’m releasing my first book of poetry to go alongside the show. This will be available at the show to buy.”
“Nathan writes a banging new hour every year and this one is his best yet. He used to work for the bank and is now doing a whistleblowing show about what went on there especially around the time of the financial crash. Its so funny and you get the juicy goss from someone who was actually there! Make sure you go see it!”
“This is a show about a meeting of White Nationalists that I went to. Obviously, there’s way more than that – it’s an hour of standup comedy like the ones I’ve done in Edinburgh before but at the centre of it is this big story about this meeting of White Nationalists. If you like Jews, come and if you don’t like Jews than REALLY come. It’s a tad intense, but it’s got a lot of jokes and it was nominated for the Barry Award for Best Show in Melbourne and that felt nice. If you come I will give you a small but important kiss on the nose afterwards.”
“OMG. You must see. She was one of my favourite comedy voices when I was starting in New York. Her and Kate Berlant and John Early would do this show in the East Village at a place called Cake Shop and I would come like every Tuesday and pester them to get on. She is so so so so so funny and unique and if you enjoy special comedians you will probably also enjoy her. You will be so happy you read this article with such good comedy advice in it. So happy. You’re welcome.”
“My show this year is about uncomfortable conversations and how we should be having them. This is due to the fact that after an eventful year, I’ve found myself trying to figure out my place in this brave new world. I attempt to explore my own agency, the third-culture-kid-experience, weight loss and what it means to be a woman of colour.”
“Eleanor Tiernan’s show “Success Without a Sex Tape”. In person, Eleanor is one of the most gentle, kind and understated people I have met, yet on stage she drops the most brilliant, acerbic and hard-hitting lines that will have you howling. She is so inventive and manages to dissect everyday occurrences so precisely and hilariously, her mind goes where yours would never have thought to.”
“Boogie Knights is a comedy disco musical set in medieval times. It’s about the last of the Boogie Knights Sir Dance-A-Lot and his mission to bring disco back to the land after the rockers banned it – think Footloose meets Dungeons and Dragons. There are dragons, a castle, jousting and sooooo much disco. ”
HANNAH AND CHARLIE
“I’d recommend Hannah and Charlie because I saw the show in Leicester. They have not done an Edinburgh show before and have lots of really fun random ideas. Its a really great fringe show for people with short attention spans like me, vampires, Chinese architecture, bees, 3D printing. All the topics not being talked about enough in comedy.”
A big thank you to all the comedians who took time from previewing their new shows to help us fans choose who we are going to check out at this years Edinburgh Fringe. And hopefully, we can be that guy who tells their friends, family co-workers and every bloody person they meet that they saw the show of [insert name of comic] before they were on Mock the Week etc.
Have a fantastic Fringe everybody and keep supporting live comedy!