edinburgh fringe

News: Foster's Comedy Awards Panel Announced

Nica Burns, Director of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards, has revealed the judging panel for the 35th Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

She said, “I am delighted to announce the 2015 judging panel, chaired by a huge contributor to comedy, Lucy Lumsden, Head of Comedy at Sky.”

Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Joanna Neary

If you like your comedy off-the-beaten track you really should have come across Joanna Neary by now. She has been doing, sorry about this word, ‘quirky’ characters in shows such as Robin Ince's Book Club for at least a decade. Every now and again she pops up on TV – she is briefly in Brilliantman, Kevin Eldon’s forthcoming short film for Sky – but she is never on for long enough in my opinion. Neary is a great comic clown with naturally funny bones.

Edinburgh Preview: Tom Allen

Sometimes the Fringe coverage is so obsessed with unearthing someone new that polished talent can be overlooked. Tom Allen has seen plenty of Edinburgh action since winning So You Think You’re Funny in 2005 at the age of 22. As well as bringing successful shows to Scotland has also been busy elsewhere, taking his sophisticated, classy comedy to festivals, radio and TV. This lover of Noel Coward is due to appear in Dictionary Corner on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown in August.

Edinburgh Preview: Lee Nelson

Balls of steel. Testicles of Titanium. Nutsacks of pure granite. I can’t really come up with a better explanation of how Simon Brodkin has managed to pull off his recent stunts, joining Kanye West onstage at Glastonbury and showering Sepp Blatter with fake bank notes. Some people have said that he's a dick but I’ve always had a soft spot for anything that disrupts the norm and Brodkin has done that with knobs on. The difficult question is where does he go from here?

Edinburgh Preview: Mel Moon

Most of the Edinburgh previews I’ve been picking out have been names that will be familiar to comedy buffs. I’ve not seen Mel Moon before but her back story sells her show to me. Moon has a condition called polyglandular failure. She had been considering suicide and had originally been due to do a show with Philip Nitschke, the founder of the euthanasia group Exit International.

Edinburgh Preview: Felicity Ward

Felicity Ward was one of the first comedians to make a splash on The John Bishop Show. I tuned in expecting the usual Saturday night supermarket checkout/airport security blandness and instead got this fast-talking Australian on a roll with material about racism, religion and sexism. I think the audience was a little taken aback too, but thanks to Ward’s sheer force of personality they soon went with it.

Edinburgh Preview: Ivo Graham

One of the enduring paradoxes of the stand-up comedian is that one often plays it low status when one is actually quite high status. It’s an intriguing phenomenon, this alpha male/female nerd schism. I guess Ivo Graham fits into it as much as Woody Allen. Graham's last two autobiographical shows have been about his difficulties adjusting to life outside university and his difficulties losing his virginity. But beneath that spoddy, self-deprecating, board game-playing exterior surely beats the heart of a smooth operator.

Edinburgh Preview: The Pin

You can’t just do a sketch show with just sketches these days. You have to do it backwards. Or each member has to do their own separate show at the same time. Or the audience has to do the sketches for you. It feels as if the familiar format has to be subverted in some way to keep it fresh. The Pin – witty wise guys Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen – have been making a splash by getting jiggy with the genre for the last few years and are now back with a new show, Ten Seconds With The Pin.

Edinburgh Preview: John Robins

Why do buses turn up in threes? Why does your phone signal always cut out just as a conversation gets interesting? Why isn’t John Robins a big star yet? These are the kind of mysteries that keep me up at night. I’ve seen the smart Bristolian’s last two Edinburgh shows and they have both been excellent examples of the stand-up craft. Robins does not bother with fripperies and folderol, he just gets onstage and talks about himself. His ailing body, his knackered libido, his embarrassing teen years.

Edinburgh Preview: Nick Revell

Nick Revell has been doing stand-up for so long he could probably do it in his sleep, but he is anything but dozy. He was one of the leading lights of the alternative comedy circuit in the 1980s before diversifying into TV and radio and actually disappeared from the live scene for a while, but he has been back onstage and as strong as ever in the last few years. His anger at the mess that the world is in is getting fiercer all the time. His latest show, Feminist Porno Jihadi, should be as much fun to watch as it is to google.

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