Edinburgh Fringe

British Comedy Guide's top tips for the 2023 Edinburgh Festival

Comedy.co.uk Fringe Top Tip

As the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe prepares to officially get going, we're publishing this list of shows that the British Comedy Guide team have seen in preview across June and July, and can vouch for already being in great shape.

There are many promising looking shows in our listings that we haven't had a chance to check out yet, but do keep an eye on our site as we're about to begin seeing shows at the festival, and will be writing up recommendations for our favourites.

Anyway, here's that list of shows we think you can confidently book a ticket for this August, accompanied by their official brochure blurb. Click on the show's title to see the full listing.

Adam Flood: Remoulded

Adam Flood: Remoulded. Adam Flood

Ay up ducks, it's me (fella doing the show). An hour of stand-up about reinvention with a few tricks* up its sleeve. Last year I had an award-nominated work in progress, so this is gonna be decent I reckon, especially if you come. Get on Stoke-on-Trent's premium cultural export, in my debut show. Critics are already calling it 'please stop emailing' and 'unsubscribe'. Seen on ITV2's The Stand Up Sketch Show. Winner: Bath Festival New Comedian, 2022. BBC New Comedy Award nominee, 2019. Amused Moose Best Edinburgh Show nominee, 2022. *Spent whole budget on an autotune pedal.

Alice Fraser: Twist

Alice Fraser: Twist. Alice Fraser

The moment you think you've got a handle on things, life throws you a twist. This is a show about the unexpected and the twists... or is it? Award-winning Alice Fraser's gut-punch comedy has earned her comedy specials, TV, and radio appearances (Amazon Prime, BBC Radio 4, ABC iview). Her comedy spans the satirical, social, philosophical and personal, adeptly infused with her trademark silliness and clever charm. The co-host of Andy Zaltzman's cult podcast The Bugle is back in Edinburgh, where she was named one of The Telegraph's Best Shows of 2022. 'Breathtakingly funny' ***** (EdinburghGuide.com).

André de Freitas: What If

André de Freitas: What If. Andre de Freitas

From living in a car and under a staircase, to becoming a male escort and now being Portugal's biggest young comedy star: this is the story of how I ended up here on this page. A show about pursuing your dreams with an unwavering spirit of optimism. 'So funny, he's a star' (Alan Carr). Tour support for Alan Carr, Russell Peters and Jim Gaffigan.

Benjamin Alborough: Absolute Monopoly

Benjamin Alborough: Absolute Monopoly. Benjamin Alborough

Monopoly is a terrible game. It ruins friendships and destroys families. This interactive extravaganza will update it for the modern world to make a game that's more competitive, more aggressive and will destroy even more families. Join comedian Benjamin Alborough as he attempts to improve Monopoly in this chaotic, interactive gameshow where audience members compete against each other and the host, with the audience physically becoming the game board. The show combines role playing, physical challenges and psychological intimidation to make something that, if not the best board game in the world, is at least short.

Celya AB: Second Rodeo

Celya AB: Second Rodeo. Celya AB

As a child, all she wanted was to be an adult. Now she's at the table, she wants out. Following her acclaimed, sell-out debut hour, Celya returns: expect tales of romance, a hologram, and a near-death experience in Thorpe Park. 'A superb contriver of pithy, memorable lines' **** (Scotsman). 'The UK's Parisian comedy star is making waves' (Guardian). 'A comic shooting to fame' **** (List). 'One of the most striking acts around, combining magnetic stage presence with punchy material' (London Evening Standard). Chortle Best Newcomer 2022. As seen on BBC, Comedy Central and Funny Festival.

Daniel Foxx: Villain

Daniel Foxx: Villain. Daniel Foxx

People's princess and TikTok starlet Daniel Foxx delivers his stand-up hour debut with a show about childhood, Tilda Swinton and bullying (but in a chic way). With his trademark wit and grandmother's pearls, he's taking us back to the 2000s, when the Special K diet was all the rage and the only queer representation was Jafar. As seen on BBC One, BBC Three, Comedy Central UK and on Instagram and TikTok (The Supervillain's Gay Assistant). Tour support for Josh Widdicombe, Rosie Jones, Sofie Hagen and Judi Love. 'Fabulous' (Nigella Lawson).

Darren Harriott - Roadman

Darren Harriott - Roadman. Darren Harriott

Yooo! Darren's brand-new show is all about how his life has changed for the better (yay!). He used to be a 'Roadman' who wouldn't even smile for a photo, but now he's trying all sorts of things he thinks he missed out on; some good, some bad but at least he's smiling... just about. Double Edinburgh Award nominee, host of Live at the Apollo, team captain on Guessable, series regular on Love Island After Sun and co-host of The Shame Is Delicious podcast. 'This very funny stand-up makes joke-telling look simple' **** (Times).

Janine Harouni: Man'oushe

Janine Harouni: Man'oushe. Janine Harouni

Janine thought she knew her family. Then she took a DNA test and things got messy. The highly anticipated second hour from Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee Janine Harouni. The quick-witted New Yorker returns with a show that explores her Arab roots, pregnancy and what happens when your mail order DNA test does not go to plan. Star of her own Amazon Prime stand-up special and ITV2 sitcom Buffering. Seen and heard on The Russell Howard Hour, The Now Show and more. 'Ready for her Netflix special' ***** (Times). **** (Scotsman).

John Tothill: The Last Living Libertine

John Tothill: The Last Living Libertine. John Tothill

Join John Tothill, the Last Living Libertine [citation needed], for an evening of exaggeration, emancipation and dense theoretical speculation in a show that straddles cabaret and TEDTalk (also known as stand-up comedy). Don't be shy, fill full your cups with this debut hour all about pleasure, performed by a gushing bon vivant to an audience of conventionally attractive comedy-goers. Featuring almost exclusively sleepover-style gossip, dressed up in a way that feels more important than that (but isn't). Directed by Adam Brace. Winner of the 2Northdown New Act Competition 2022. As seen on Hinge.

Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh. Josh Pugh

Best Show nominee and as seen on BBC, Channel 4 and Dave, Josh Pugh, brings a brand-new show to the Fringe. Fresh from a sell-out UK and Ireland tour, Josh has some ideas and jokes that you wont need to pay full price to see. 'A stealthy, clever and heartwarming show' **** (Guardian). 'Inarguably five stars, destined for the big leagues' (Comedy.co.uk).

Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland

Kieran Hodgson: Big In Scotland. Kieran Hodgson

In 2020, the world changed forever, as Kieran Hodgson moved to Scotland. Now the three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee commutes to the Fringe from his new home of Glasgow for a month to tell you how it's working out. He's that guy from the BBC's 'Two Doors Down' (he's Gordon), the 'Bad TV Impressions' viral videos of 'The Crown' and 'Happy Valley', and three Channel 4 specials. ***** (Guardian). ***** (Telegraph). **** (Times). **** (Scotsman). **** (TimeOut). **** (Sunday Times). **** (Independent). **** (Chortle.co.uk). **** (Fest). **** (List).

Lorna Rose Treen: Skin Pigeon

Lorna Rose Treen: Skin Pigeon. Lorna Rose Treen

Character comedian Lorna Rose Treen has been pretending to be other people for fun since she could dress herself. Now she's inviting you inside her mind for an hour of characters, comedy, content, content, content, costumes and content. The greatest thing to come out of Redditch since the fishing tackle. The debut show from Chortle's Best Newcomer 2023 and Funny Women Awards' first-ever double winner ([y[2022[/y]). 'I laughed so much I violently bit my tongue' (Independent). 'Off-kilter energy and unflagging commitment to the silly' (Chortle.co.uk).

Louise Young: Feral

Louise Young: Feral. Louise Young

Debut hour from Geordie rising star with a show all about class, chaos and coming out. She did ask her friends if her life had been feral enough to warrant this title; they laughed and assured her it still is. Tour support for Alan Carr and Tom Allen. As seen on Comedy Central Live and Channel 4's Original Comedy shorts. As heard On BBC Radio 4 (Fred at the Stand). Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2020 finalist. Leicester Comedy Festival Best Debut Show nominee 2022. BBC Radio Newcastle Gillard Award. Best Newcomer nominee 2020.

Mat Ewins: Mr TikTok

Mat Ewins: Mr TikTok. Mat Ewins

With nearly 1,000 TikTok followers (at the time of going to print), be sure to book early to catch "the king of online" as he surfs cyberspace and reveals the World Wide Web's silliest internet videos. **** (Guardian). **** (Times). ****½ (Chortle.co.uk). ***** (Independent). ***** (BeyondTheJoke.co.uk).

Max & Ivan: Life, Choices

Max & Ivan: Life, Choices. Max & Ivan

The 'essential' (Telegraph) Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominees return with a show about fatherhood, friendship, and the future. Creators of The Wrestling, Radio 4's Casebook of Max & Ivan and ITV2's Deep Heat. Their last show Commitment was one of the Fringe's best reviewed shows, The Guardian's 4th Best Show of the year, and was nominated for Best Comedy Show at the Chortle Awards. 'Astonishing' ***** (Times). 'Joyous' **** (Independent). 'Phenomenal' ***** (Mirror). 'First-rate' **** (Scotsman). 'The real deal' **** (Guardian). 'Immaculate' **** (Sunday Times). 'Astonishing' ****1/2 (Chortle.co.uk). 'Epic' **** (TimeOut). 'Formidable' ***** (BritishTheatreGuide.info).

Olga Koch: Prawn Cocktail

Olga Koch: Prawn Cocktail. Olga Koch

Olga Koch turned 30, got a master's degree, went on an adult gap year, got salmonella, lost herself, found herself and washed it all down with a delicious prawn cocktail. Think less Eat Pray Love and more Shake Scream Cry. As seen on Mock The Week, QI, Late Night Mash, Frankie Boyle's New World Order and her Amazon Prime comedy special. 'A masterpiece' ***** (BroadwayBaby.com). **** (Guardian). **** (Telegraph). ***** (Skinny). ***** (Sunday Post).

Ollie Horn: Not Much

Ollie Horn: Not Much. Ollie Horn

Following a sell-out 12-country tour for his critically-acclaimed 2021 show, one of the UK's most exciting storytellers is back with a candid new hour about the remarkable unimportance of the skill he's worked for the last decade to get exceptionally good at: stand-up comedy. Book a ticket to discover why Ollie found the Apple Store to be a terrible place for a stand-up gig, the heckles Ollie could never find a good comeback to, and why gigging in a brothel wasn't so bad. 'Pure comedy' (Times). 'A natural' (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Compelling and innately funny stories' (Chortle.co.uk).

Paddy Young: Hungry, Horny, Scared

Paddy Young: Hungry, Horny, Scared. Paddy Young

He's hungry. He's horny. He's scared. He's in the gutter but he's looking down on all of you. Join Northern powerhouse Paddy Young, one of comedy's fastest rising stars, for his unmissable debut stand-up hour. 'One of the most exciting new comics I've seen for a long time' (Joe Lycett). 'Spontaneously witty with a distinctive line in absurdity' (Chortle.co.uk). 'Hilarious. One of the funniest men online' (Seann Walsh). As seen on Channel 4, ITV2, Sky and Stewart Lee's recommendation list. Over 10 million views online.

Paul F Taylor: Head in the Clouds

Paul F Taylor: Head in the Clouds. Paul F Taylor

Wonderfully absurd stand-up from a fool's thinking man. As seen on Harry Hill's Club Nite, Channel 4, as heard on BBC Radio 4. 'Wildly entertaining and absolutely funny' (Chortle.co.uk). 'Required viewing for all wannabe surrealists' (Skinny). 'Kill to get a ticket but make you sure you dispose of the body - remember no body, no case' (Harry Hill). **** (List). **** (ThreeWeeks). **** (Skinny). **** (ShortCom.co.uk). **** (BroadwayBaby.com).

Priya Hall: Grandmother's Daughter

Priya Hall: Grandmother's Daughter. Priya Hall

Priya Hall is obsessed with her nan to an unhealthy degree. Her debut show Grandmother's Daughter is a joyful tribute to one old Welsh lady and the impossible standards Priya has to live up to as she prepares to become a matriarch of her own family. Packed with a level of oversharing that borders on the unhinged, this show promises a healthy dose of queer joy, storytelling and more jokes about sperm than Priya intended. As seen on BBC One, BBC Three, Comedy Central, BBC Radio 4 and more.

Ruth Hunter: The Ruth is on Fire

Ruth Hunter: The Ruth is on Fire. Ruth Hunter

Ruth Hunter (So You Think You're Funny first runner-up, skin owner and Irish person) presents a new show of fun, spooky and very good stand-up comedy. Ruth has a unique voice and surreal perspective on the increasingly tragic state of affairs that is being alive. She has supported Fern Brady, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Alison Spittle and is a regular at The Stand and Monkey Barrel. Ruth knows where you live and is so excited to meet you. 'Big things predicted for this one' **** (Skinny).

Sam Lake: Aspiring DILF

Sam Lake: Aspiring DILF. Sam Lake

After his 'gut bustingly funny' (DeadlineNews.co.uk) debut show last year, Sam Lake is back and he is Daddy. Well... he's trying to be. Get ready for a brand-new show all about Sam's journey to becoming the world's youngest DILF, whilst talking about Furbies, twink death and the transformative wonder of Butlins. As well as starring in All 4's The Joy of Missing Out and Dave's The Comedy Guide to Life, Sam has written for Mock The Week, Breaking The News and Newsjack and is the winner of Leicester Square Theatre's New Comedian of the Year.

Shelf: Teenage Men

Shelf: Teenage Men. Image shows left to right: Rachel Watkeys Dowie, Ruby Clyde

In their last show, Hair, Shelf joked about being mistaken for teenage boys. Now, it's time to grow up. It's time to stop being teenage boys and start being teenage men. This new show from the 'easy to fall in love with' (Scotsman) double-act features anecdotes, songs, jokes about performing for kids, the Instagram algorithm, confronting your toxicity, and more. As seen on BBC3 and ITVX. Founders of the LOL Word. 'Nuanced and fresh' **** (Guardian). **** (Skinny). **** (FunnyWomen.com). **** (BeyondTheJoke.co.uk). **** (Scotsman).

Siân Docksey - Pole Yourself Together!

Siân Docksey - Pole Yourself Together!. Siân Docksey

Pole dancing comedian Siân Docksey (as seen on BBC Three, 'Joy and bewilderment in equal measure' ****(Skinny)) cheerfully ignores climate disaster, another recession and the steady creep of fascism to see if hanging off a stick can make you stop thinking about death. A brand-new genre-smashing philosophical dance-comedy party. And/or just a woman having an existential crisis on a stick, probably. Co-created with Jake Wood. Directed by Alexander Bennett. 'It's awesome and like no comedy you've ever seen' (FunnyWomen.com). 'Upsetting burlesque' (Audience review).

Stuart McPherson: Love That For Me

Stuart McPherson: Love That For Me. Stuart McPherson

A bit of a crazy, hazy time for Stu this year. This show is his attempt to make sense of it all and put himself back together. As seen on BBC's BAFTA-winning comedy Scot Squad, co-host of the Some Laugh podcast. Tour support for John Kearns, Josh Pugh and Larry Dean. 'Sensitive, philosophical and funny... an hour of perfectly crafted stand-up with plenty of gags' **** (List). 'A terrific torrent of laughs from start to finish... relentlessly funny' **** (Sunday Post). 'Beyond hilarious' **** (Skinny).

Tamsyn Kelly: Crying in TK Maxx

Tamsyn Kelly: Crying in TK Maxx. Tamsyn Kelly

When working class, Cornish comedian Tamsyn Kelly (BBC New Comedy Awards, Comedy Central Live), discovers footage of her estranged father in a Channel 4 documentary, she's forced to stop and reassess her life. How have men shaped who she is? Will the chicken-shop guy ever give her the time of day? Why was Mr Blobby her first crush? A brutally honest, but fair appraisal of the men in her life, from a woman who has cried in most high-street shops. **** (FunnyWomen.com). 'Hilarious' (Independent). 'Great charm' (Chortle.co.uk).

To view details on over 2000 comedy shows at this year's festival, see our listings

Published: Thursday 3rd August 2023

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