Review: The Greatest Ever Late 'n' Live, The Gilded Balloon, YouTube

Review: The Greatest Ever Late 'n' Live, YouTube

Late ’n’ Live really is an essential part of the Edinburgh Fringe furniture. If you haven’t experienced a raucous night of post-midnight anarchic comedy at the Gilded Balloon you haven’t really experienced the Fringe. In the absence of a real Fringe this year the Gilded Balloon has put together compilations of some of the best acts who have played there. 

Of course, nothing beats actually being at Late ’n’ Live but there are plenty of laughs to be had watching these classic clips. And if you do enjoy them please donate to the Gilded Balloon’s Crowdfunder campaign or there may never be another Late ’n’ Live. And nobody wants that. 

First up in this compilation – the third of three shows released this August – is Seann Walsh from 2011. Walsh has had, shall we say, a turbulent few years recently, but he is on top form here discussing the horror of falling over in public. You have two choices, he suggests, to style it out or never get up again. I think I remember Walsh doing his brilliantly accurate Michael McIntyre impression onstage in Edinburgh – he doesn’t do it here, but his observational humour in this routine isn’t a million miles away from the floppy fringed superstar. 

While Seann Walsh has had ups and downs in recent years, Hannah Gadsby had had mainly ups with her acclaimed solo shows. Here she is in self-deprecating mode from 2010, discussing her body issues – the didn’t get a visit from the tooth fairy, she jokes, she got a visit from the “thigh fairy”. It’s a very funny routine, but also interesting to see in the context of her latter show Nanette when she talked about having had enough of being the butt of her own humour. 

These days Dave Fulton is a bit of a comedy curmudgeon, but maybe he always has had those tendencies. He’s here from 2002 complaining about train ticket prices – £28.30 from London to Oxford, walk-on fare. Sounds pretty good by today’s prices. Fulton sounds pretty good too. 

Ronny Chieng’s routine about Facebook arguments dates from 2015 but is timeless as he discusses the fact that it’s impossible to have a reasoned argument on social media, with people convinced that “Ebola’s a US conspiracy.” Swap Ebola for Covid19 and Chieng could do the same routine today. 

Zoe Lyons from 2011 let’s rip on the advent of same sex marriage. Did it change the world as some suggested? No, it meant card shops had to build more card display space.

The prize for the youngest-looking comic on this compilation easily goes to squeaky clean-cut Andrew Maxwell, who looks around 12 in his 2002 clip in which he recommends going for a swim in the city’s Commonwealth pool where the local kids stand around in the water smoking but are happy to provide free diving lessons. 

Otis Lee Crenshaw, alias Rich Hall, was probably at his peak around 2002 where this clip of him improvising a song about a woman called Pam comes from. Hall is still around and still great – maybe Otis is due a revival. 

The best, however, is saved to the end. The Tim Minchin clip of him doing his Canvas Bags song onstage in 2011 is short and sweet but you do get to see him playing the full-on rock star minus his trousers.

And finally Noel Fielding is running on pure adrenaline in the 2002 performance, with his “You’ve got a face, I’ve got a face…” schtick, somewhere between Mohammed Ali’s pre-fight braggadocio and Spike Milligan’s flights of surreal fancy. 

Of course, it goes without saying that as I've I've already said, you really had to be there. What you see in the closing images of crowds, booze and onstage mayhem only hints at the glorious chaos of Late ’n’ Live. But watch these clips and laugh (and donate) and hopefully we will all be there next year.

Donate to The Gilded Balloon's Crowdfunder campaign here.

Watch The Greatest Ever Late 'n' Live below




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