The Glasgow International Comedy Festival launched last week, and runs until 29th March. British Comedy Guide visited the city for the inaugural weekend.
In a shifting landscape thanks to coronavirus, comedy venues in the city are cautiously pressing ahead in line with current Scottish Government advice, with clubs like The Stand remaining open but larger venues like The King's Theatre now closed.
Several shows cancelled on the opening weekend too, and audience numbers were - at times - low enough to allow the recommended one metre distance from each other, but we still had a laugh.
Berk's Nest, whose stable has an uncanny knack for recent Edinburgh wins - like Catherine Cohen and Rose Matafeo - took over The Old Hairdresser's for the weekend. We particularly enjoyed Olga Koch's If/Then in one of the last dates of her 2020 tour; while among the shows that are works in progress for an Edinburgh Fringe we hope will still happen, we loved Tarot's dark silly sketches and Mawaan Rizwan's impish energy with his A-Z song of favourite birds and his dancing buttocks.
Over at The Stand, Alex Edelman performed his excellent show, Just for Us, a perfect hour packed with big laughs on how he attended a Nazi meet-up in New York. There was a palpable sense of regret as he told the audience this was unexpectedly the last date of his tour as the rest had just been cancelled.
Looking ahead with some obvious caveats, we'd recommend Josie Long's brilliant show Tender at Oran Mor; Paul Sinha's Hazy Little Thing Called Love and Rachel Fairburn's People's Princess, all of which are at The Stand, plus The Delightful Sausage's nightmarish version of Hi-de-Hi!, Ginster's Paradise, at State Bar.
Next weekend, ARG take over The Blue Arrow and we're excited about works in progress from Glenn Moore and Mat Ewins and also highly recommend the joyous ball of energy that is Tom Parry's Paraoke. The following weekend ARG are at Vacant Space with works in progress from Sara Barron, Sean Morley and the anarchic Glang Show.
As this weekend's performers stressed: live comedy needs support now more than ever. Thanks for coming, now please wash your hands.