British Comedy Guide

External Features

Edinburgh fringe 2011 - The year that was

Had a good Fringe this year, did you? Yeah, us too.

Spoonfed, 1st September 2011

Record ticket sales as Edinburgh fringe draws to close

Sales of tickets at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are up by 3% on last year.

BBC News, 29th August 2011

Jo Caulfield: Express service through festival

I've just got back home to Edinburgh from a week of shows in London and I have to say, "Wow! What a train journey".

Jo Caulfield, Edinburgh Evening News, 29th August 2011

The Fringe on the Green - Edinburgh Golf

As the Edinburgh Fringe Festival draws to a close I've been thinking about my highlights here. One of the best days involved comedy but also high drama as a team of comedians took on a team of Industry bods and critics in the second Comedians v Industry Golf Tournament.

Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard, 28th August 2011

Heard the one about the bloke who couldn't tell jokes?

Even Bob Monkhouse couldn't teach me the knack of delivering a punchline...

Nigel Farndale, The Telegraph, 28th August 2011

Comedy review selection

Reviews of Benet Brandreth, Seann Walsh, Andrew Maxwell, The Rob Deering Experience and Andrew Lawrence.

Rob Epstein, The Independent, 28th August 2011

Edinburgh Comedy Awards - Who's who?

The winner of this year's Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards will be announced on Saturday afternoon. The judges chose six acts from the 505 who qualified for the best comedy show category at the Fringe. We spoke to the six comedians on the short-list.

Steven Brocklehurst, BBC News, 27th August 2011

Edinburgh Comedy Awards to be announced

The winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards will be announced later.

BBC News, 27th August 2011

TV is making comedy better - and worse

The lure of a TV show may have improved standards among young comics, but is careerism killing off the crazy and exceptional?

Paul MacInnes, The Guardian, 26th August 2011

Through the Edinburgh keyhole

A snapshot of comics behind-the-scenes at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011.

Emma McAlpine, Spoonfed, 26th August 2011

Nica Burns: queen of Edinburgh comedy

For nearly 30 years Nica Burns has run the Edinburgh festival comedy awards. As an influential owner of London theatres, she is also a defender of the current state of the West End.

Andrew Dickson, The Guardian, 26th August 2011

BBC Radio Scotland Comedy at the fringe

Coming soon to BBC Radio Scotland is Christopher Brookmyre's Comedy Bookcase.

Alan Braidwood, BBC Scotland, 25th August 2011

New faces take centre stage for comedy awards

A comic who takes on the Arab Spring and the rioting in English cities in a Fringe show driven by this year's hard-hitting headlines earned his second nomination yesterday in the festival's top comedy awards.

Tim Cornwell, Edinburgh Festivals, 25th August 2011

Why is the joke voted best less funny than the worst?

The odd thing about the joke voted best at the Edinburgh Fringe is that it seems less funny than the joke voted worst.

The Telegraph, 25th August 2011

Bruce Dessau on Edinburgh Comedy Award shortlist

Not a lot of surprises on this year's Foster's Comedy Award shortlist, but it is a very strong list in a year that is consistently great if not classic.

Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard, 24th August 2011

Edinburgh comedy award 2011 shortlist: who's who?

From a comedian with experience of UK Uncut to an Australian Vic Reeves, here's the lowdown on this year's nominees.

Paul MacInnes, The Guardian, 24th August 2011

Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards: Who will win?

Telegraph critic Mark Monahan spent five hours on a panel of 10 judging who should be on the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist. It was exhausting but it's an exciting list.

Mark Monahan, The Telegraph, 24th August 2011

2011 comedy awards: Who should have the last laugh?

The untrammelled silliness of Adam Riches gets my vote for this year's Edinburgh comedy award, with Hannibal Buress for best newcomer, but it's a shame sketch comedy is missing from the main nominations.

Brian Logan, The Guardian, 24th August 2011

Is the political joke on its way back to power?

Topical material is creeping back on the agenda. Even Tom Rosenthal is getting political - in a gentle sort of way.

Paul MacInnes, The Guardian, 24th August 2011

Best use of objects in Edinburgh 2011 fringe comedy

Including a levitating dog, a liver and a bag of urine.

The List, 24th August 2011

Is an hour too long for a comedy set?

Can you stop yourself looking at your watch at a comedy gig - and can any of Edinburgh 2011's acts keep going long enough?

Paul MacInnes, The Guardian, 23rd August 2011

Edinburgh Festival in pictures - Behind the Fringe

Who wants to see backstage photos of comics all sweaty and grimey just after they've come offstage? You're in the right place. Back for a second year is Edinburgh is Funny's 'Behind the Fringe' series. More photos will be added each day this week (all photos by Nick Collett.)

London Is Funny, 23rd August 2011

Edinburgh fringe festival: A giant comedy trade show?

One way of looking at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is as a giant comedy trade show. So how should I sell my product - an hour of jokes?

Colm O'Regan, BBC News, 23rd August 2011

Stand up and be counted: The best of the fringe

On the eve of the release of the nominations for the coveted Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards, our critic Julian Hall chooses his favourites.

Julian Hall, The Independent, 23rd August 2011

Bruce Dessau: The Rest of the Best of the Fest

Reviews of John Osborne, Dregs, Josh Howie, Henry Paker, Tim Vine's Chat Show, Shlomo's Mouthtronica, Isy Suttie and more.

Bruce Dessau, Evening Standard, 22nd August 2011

Julian Hall - comedy at Edinburgh

As the Fringe draws to a close its buzz is reaching a feverish pitch and despite the climate, actual and economic, shows are selling well and the shortlisting activity for the Foster's Comedy Awards is adding an extra frisson to the fray.

Julian Hall, The Stage, 22nd August 2011

Fringe bosses warn of 2012 technician shortage

Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue bosses have warned that the technical demands of events surrounding next summer's London Olympics could drain available technical staff away from the Scottish capital.

Thom Dibdin, The Stage, 22nd August 2011

Stand's Sheppard beats Underbelly's Wood to board

Tommy Sheppard, director of the Stand Comedy Club, has retained his seat on the board of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, ousting fellow sitting member Charlie Wood of the Underbelly and beating PBH Free Fringe candidate Nicola Bolsover.

Thom Dibdin, The Stage, 22nd August 2011

What to see (or not to see)?

With thousands of shows at the fringe it's hard to know where to start. Should you follow the recommendations of performers, your pals or just go it alone?

Paul MacInnes, The Guardian, 22nd August 2011

Edinburgh Fringe comedy cook-off

Comedy and food mix in different ways at the Edinburgh Fringe, most of the time they come into contact is when salt 'n' sauce is splattered on your quick bite to eat. But what happens when you take some of the cream of the performing arts and put them into Edinburgh's own version of Hell's Kitchen?

Such Small Portions, 22nd August 2011

Ian Smith Edinburgh blog #3 - Phil from Japan

EiF blogger Ian Smith pays tribute to his favourite audience member of the Fringe.

Ian Smith, London Is Funny, 21st August 2011

Why are comedy groups white, middle class 20 somethings

First off, are most comedy groups white, middle class twenty/early thirty-somethings?

Steve Roe, What's On Stage, 21st August 2011

A selection of fringe comedies

As the Comedy Award panel considers its Fringe comedy nominations, Sam Simmons will be messing with their minds...

Hugh Montgomery, The Independent, 21st August 2011

Heard the one about the posh comedian? You will

The new wave at the Fringe don't hide where their best lines came from.

Veronica Lee, The Independent, 21st August 2011

Edinburgh fringe comedy round-up

From Andrew Maxwell and Sarah Millican to Russell Kane and Meryl O'Rourke, Stephanie Merritt reviews the best of this year's Edinburgh comedy.

Stephanie Merritt, The Observer, 21st August 2011

Comedy doesn't travel... you need to be in the room

The apocryphal story has a dying actor surrounded by his friends. "What is it like to die?" they ask. "It's hard," he replies, "but comedy's harder."

David Lister, The Independent, 20th August 2011

This week's new comedy: Edinburgh special

Simon Munnery, Hannibal Montanabal and Tom Rosenthal

James Kettle, The Guardian, 20th August 2011

Video: Roisin Conaty's show brings fate to the fringe

Comedienne Roisin Conaty is performing her new show, Destiny's Dickhead, at the Edinburgh Fringe, where she talks about fate and how she fell onto the comedy path.

STV, 19th August 2011

Top 10 jokes at the Fringe

From David Cameron's government to bull-dykes, Mark Monahan's favourite jokes of the Edinburgh Fringe 2011.

Mark Monahan, The Telegraph, 19th August 2011

The best of the Fringe

From five star stand-up to three star sketch shows, here are all our critics reviews from the Edinburgh Fringe 2011.

The Telegraph, 19th August 2011

Video - Edinburgh Festival 2011: The Hamiltons

Showbiz couple, the former MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine, say they love the Edinburgh Fringe becuase it keeps them young.

The Telegraph, 19th August 2011

Spoof self-help gurus have pulling power

Comics cross the line into real life-coaching with tips for gents on undoing bra straps and advice for ladies on keeping their hats on.

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 19th August 2011

Video: Comedy, music and chat from Edinburgh Tonight

Co-hosted by Joe Simmons (Butch of Topping and Butch fame) and Lorraine Chase, Britains's best loved cockney gal, online chat show Edinburgh Tonight airs on throughout August.

Edinburgh Festivals, 19th August 2011

Edinburgh's first comedy audio tour launched

Festival fans will this year be able to sample comedy on the go with downloadable audio tour.

Clare Carswell, STV, 19th August 2011

Who is getting five stars at the Fringe?

We're halfway through the Edinburgh Fringe, which is more than enough time for comedians to have won over some hearts and minds. So who's getting the all-important five-star reviews?

Such Small Portions, 19th August 2011

A dreadful guide to Edinburgh - Reed, Ker and Tuck

This August each of the three members of the ThreeWeeks Editors' Award winning sketch comedy group The Penny Dreadfuls have brought a solo show to the Fringe. Now operating apart, but with a combined knowledge of the Festival City that could fill, well, at least one page of a newspaper, we asked them each to submit a mini-guide to Edinburgh.

David Reed, Humphrey Ker and Thom Tuck, ThreeWeeks, 19th August 2011

When Andrew met Glenn

Guest Editor Andrew Maxwell interviews - well, more gossips with, really - Fringe legend Glenn Wool.

Andrew Maxwell, ThreeWeeks, 19th August 2011

When Andrew met Sammy

ThreeWeeks guest editor Andrew Maxwell talks to Sammy J about working in comedy, the benefits of Edinburgh, and a foul-mouthed purple puppet.

Andrew Maxwell, ThreeWeeks, 19th August 2011

Do you have to go to be in the know?

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the undisputed king of the UK comedy calendar, but skyrocketing costs are forcing many comedians to consider alternative ways of making it big. Sarah Kendell investigates.

Sarah Kendell, Spoonfed, 18th August 2011

Go on, make an interactive idiot of yourself

Whether it's stripping off or throwing bread, sometimes the only way to respond to an interactive show is to embrace the silliness.

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 18th August 2011

The Boy with tape on his Face & Tom Stade

The comics from New Zealand and Canada interview each other.

Sam Wills and Tom Stade, The Skinny, 18th August 2011

Meet the comics finding humour in the darkest subjects

Comedians are finding humour in some surprisingly dark subjects at this year's Fringe. Susan Mansfield investigates...

Susan Mansfield, Edinburgh Festivals, 18th August 2011

Why doing comedy at the Fringe isn't funny

Here Rosie Wilby reveals what life is like on the other side of the microphone when all she is wondering is, 'What else can go wrong?'

Rosie Wilby, The Scotsman, 17th August 2011

Magicians pull out funny new tricks

Magic acts are reinventing the genre with show-and-tells, Facebook mind-reading and a 'young Jack Dee in a dragon suit'.

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 17th August 2011

Improvisation on the fringe - video

Brian Logan explores different types of improvisation on the Edinburgh fringe, and takes a Chaucerian workshop with the 'hard bardic' group The School of Night.

He meets the Phill Jupitus Quarett and finds improv breaking out of its Whose Line is it Anyway? box: taking suggestions from the audience, channelling the spirits of Sylvia Plath or Chaucer - and even daring, sometimes, not to be funny.

Brian Logan, The Guardian, 17th August 2011

Suicide Tuesday on the fringe

According to a news story in The Scotsman, some venue bosses in Edinburgh jokingly referred to yesterday - the second Tuesday of the fringe - as "suicide Tuesday", since its one of the toughest mid-week days to bring in audiences.

Mark Shenton, The Stage, 17th August 2011

Stand-up for kids is not actually child's play

What with the heckling, non-sequiturs and scatological glee, a roomful of over-excited kids is more like a group of drunk adults.

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 16th August 2011

For comedians, this is the only show in town

The Edinburgh Fringe isn't just a festival - it's the world's largest careers fair.

David Quantick, The Telegraph, 15th August 2011

Why do so many comedians head up to the city each year?

Go to any amateur comedy night next month and you'll almost certainly hear the following phrase:

"When I was in Edinburgh recently..."

Paul Vale, The Huffington Post, 15th August 2011

Funniest jokes from the festival

The Edinburgh Fringe festival has kicked off and it's being dominated by comedy as a host of rising stars try to break into the big time.

Mark Jefferies, The Mirror, 15th August 2011

Ian Smith Edinburgh blog #2 - late and still alive

The latest despatch by LiF regular blogger Ian Smith, in which he fulfils a life-long ambition and forces people to eat lemon.

Ian Smith, London Is Funny, 14th August 2011

North stars fast becoming Edinburgh Festival favourites

North stars of the stage are taking Edinburgh by storm with their antics at the popular festival.

Sarah Scott, Sunday Sun, 14th August 2011

Everyone's a racist, in their own way...

The challenging humour of W Kamau Bell will be this festival's slow-burner, while fellow comedians find the funny side of romance, anatomy and food.

Hugh Montgomery, The Independent, 14th August 2011

Edinburgh fringe comedy roundup

From Humphrey Ker and The Pajama Men to Vikki Stone and Tim Key, Stephanie Merritt reviews the best of this year's Edinburgh comedy.

Stephanie Merritt, The Observer, 14th August 2011

Fringe comedy: Laughing all the way to the bank

The business of comedy has never been healthier, according to some of Scotland's leading industry figures.

BBC News, 13th August 2011

This week's new comedy: Edinburgh special

Nick Helm, Todd Barry and Hot Tub.

James Kettle, The Guardian, 13th August 2011

Fringe Comedy - go with the show

"Human beings are full of love, and every one of you is utterly beautiful." The last words, of the last show, of my 12-show Edinburgh day.

Tommy Holgate, The Sun, 12th August 2011

Going it alone

In a remarkable crumbling of the old order, some of the Fringe's biggest sketch show successes are coming alone to this year's Fringe. Brian Donaldson catches up with performers blazing a new comedic trail for themselves.

Brian Donaldson, Fest Mag, 12th August 2011

What counts as comedy?

When it covers anything from standup to striptease, isn't it time the Edinburgh Comedy awards introduced some categories?

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 12th August 2011

Radio presenters beat Stand comedians in football match

On a rather wet football pitch yesterday, ten people with the gift of the gab fought for the honour of the Capital FM Challenge Cup at the Lucozade Powerleague in Portobello.

The Drum, 12th August 2011

Nichol, Pleasance & Traverse scoop Fringe First awards

The first winners of this year's prestigious Fringe First Awards, celebrating high-quality new drama at the Edinburgh Festival, have been announced by The Scotsman newspaper today (12 August 2011).

Terri Paddock, What's On Stage, 12th August 2011

Seeing stars

Skinny Comedy editor Lizzie Cass-Maran tells us why we'll be leaving the one-star shows alone this year.

Lizzie Cass-Maran, The Skinny, 12th August 2011

Waverley Care want jokes to #laffoffstigma

Waverley Care, Scotland's leading HIV charity, are encouraging Fringe-goers to share a joke via Twitter this Festival, with the chance to win £100 of Amazon vouchers if theirs is the best, in the eyes of judge Ryan Taylor, comedy programmer at The Pleasance.

ThreeWeeks, 12th August 2011

Comedians need quick thinking for new London scripts

Fringe performers are having to constantly rewrite shows to reflect tensions caused by the riots in England.

Brian Ferguson, Edinburgh Festivals, 12th August 2011

Fringe performers to stage flash-mob snogfest

Following a week of unrest in various cities south of the border, the company behind sketch show 'Cab Fare For The Common Man' at theSpace are organising a secret - so don't tell anyone - flashmob-style event on the Royal Mile on Friday afternoon with the aim of doing something much more positive.

ThreeWeeks, 12th August 2011

Lloyd Langford's Not Many People Know That!

Stand-up Lloyd Langford has come to the Fringe this year armed with facts. Lots of them. Though some were gleaned from a book credited to a certain Michael Caine. Lloyd steps up to the ThreeWeeks platform to share some of those facts with you now.

ThreeWeeks, 12th August 2011

We're still waiting to laugh about the riots

Topicality is the lifeblood of comedy at Edinburgh Festival, so more stand-ups should be including the riots in their material, says Mark Monahan.

Mark Monahan, The Telegraph, 11th August 2011

Fringe debut: The Two Wrongies and Asher Treleaven

The acts talk about performing at the Fringe for the first time.

The Two Wrongies and Asher Treleaven, The Scotsman, 11th August 2011

When it's better to be funny-looking?

We enjoy the comedy of failure and self-deprecation - so find it hard to believe attractive comics could share our insecurities.

Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian, 11th August 2011

Doug Stanhope: I can't stand Edinburgh fringe festival

Doug Stanhope talks to Metro about the difference between UK and US audiences, how it felt to get booed at the Reading and Leeds festivals and why he's decided to give the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a miss.

Andrew Williams, Metro, 11th August 2011

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