Friday, July 25, 2014

Edinburgh Festival Shows I'm Going To See...

Only a few days now until the Festival kicks off so…

This morning I went through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival brochure with a marker pen. I wasn’t circling shows I wanted to see. I was drawing beards and glasses on Lucy Porter, Jojo Sutherland and Zoe Lyons. By the time I was finished they looked like Mumford and Sons.

Lucy (white wine), JoJo (lager) and Zoe (white wine, lager or whatever’s handy) are three of my favourite comedians. I would definitely recommend you catch them this August because they are all on the game. Sorry! I mean “they are all on the TOP OF THEIR game”.

Plus you get the bonus of visiting 3 different venues: The Stand Comedy Club, The Beehive Inn and The Gilded Balloon. And that’s half the fun of the Festival, isn’t it? Discovering all the hot, damp, badly ventilated rooms. Hey, nothing says FESTIVAL quite like a bacterial incubator. Boom-Tish!

Once again The Stand Comedy Club has a very strong lineup: Stewart Lee, Jo Caulfield, Gavin Webster, Bridget Christie, Jo Caulfield, Phill Jupitus, Mitch Benn, Jo Caulfield, Josie Long, Jo Caulfield, Stephen K Amos, Kerry Godliman, Katherine Ryan, Gary Little and Jo Caulfield.

And Otiz Cannelloni’s “History of Magic”!! Otiz is one of my all-time favourite acts. He’s joyfully stupid with a fantastic deadpan delivery. If you’re aged anywhere between 5 and 105, go see this show. Take the kids. Take the whole family. Dig up a couple of dead relatives. They’ll all enjoy it. I can quite confidently say “if you can name a better comedy/magic show that runs from the 1st to 17th August at 10.45am anywhere else of York Place, I won’t believe you because you’re lying.”

And there’s some great comedians at The Assembly Rooms on George Street. I’ll definitely be going along to see Nick Revell, Scott Capurro and Andrew Maxwell. Or as I call them ‘two tops and a bottom’.

Imagine being a fly on that dressing room wall. I wonder if it’s too late to get a camera crew and sell that as a reality show? “The Battle of the Divas”. I’ll bet Channel 5 would buy it.

Speaking of Comedy Divas…
I like the sound of Abi Roberts “Musical CID” (Gilded Balloon). With her blonde hair, large chest and filthy song lyrics, Abi is everything a young gay man could ever hope to be. 
From what I can gather, “Musical CID” is a comedy confessional show where Abi interviews guest comedians about their favourite songs and videos. It’s shows like this and Viv Groskop’s “The Night I Died” (Bob’s Bookshop) that make the Festival such an exciting playground for comics. They both offer a real chance for comedians to come off-script and let the comedy go to places they didn’t expect.

(I’m a guest on Abi Roberts’ “Musical CID” on Friday 8th August, Gilded Balloon, 12.30pm. Abi asked me to fill in a questionnaire of my favourite records. How many do you agree with? )

Who else has caught my eye? Well, I’m looking forward to seeing visiting American comedian/storyteller Tom Shillue - he’s a friend of a friend and comes highly recommended. And Tom has his own Twitter page, so he must be good.

Every year I recommend Keir McAllister and Vladimir McTavish (“Aye Right? How No?”, Assembly Rooms, 6.30pm) and this year is no different. And I will recommend Keir & Vladimir next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. In fact I will keep on recommending them until they get it right.

This year Keir and Vladimir are tackling the Scottish Independence Referendum … which is a bit like an amateur version of “Britain’s Got Talent” but without the singing. Or the dead relatives. Or the talent. 

Speaking of Scotsmen who drink too much… Gary Little is tipped as the next BIG THING in Scottish comedy. Search “Gary Little dancing story” on YouTube and you’ll see why he’s so highly rated. I’ve worked with him several times and he never fails to nail BIG laughs. (Although let’s be honest, he has trouble following me - because while Gary brings the Comedy, I bring the complete package: Comedy, Style and Modesty.) 

Gary’s at The Stand Comedy Club, as is Gavin Webster. Another of my favourite stand-ups. I make a point of seeing Gavin every year. He’s refreshingly honest and I always leave his shows thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”. 

If there was an award for “Best Show Title” Gavin would walk away with it. 
“All Young People Are Cunts” (2011)
“Bill Hick’s Wasn’t Very Good” (2012)
“Don’t Give Any Money To Comic Relief And Other Opinions” (2013)
And this year…?
“A Controversial Title In Order To Sell Tickets” (2014).

OK, that’s enough about The Stand. Apparently there are shows in other venues. Who knew? 

Aidan Goatley is back at The Voodoo Rooms with his fantastic heart-warming show “10 Films With My Dad”.

I love the Voodoo Rooms. They’re dark and Gothic and glamorous and glitzy. It’s a bit like doing a gig in Liza Minnelli’s vagina. And I like Aidan. Although one day I’d like to see him really stretch-out as a performer and tackle “10 Hard Core Porn Films I Watched With My Grandmother”.

And don’t forget, “10 Films With My Dad” is part of the wonderful Free Fringe. That’s right. It’s FREE! So please, please, please, pretend to put some money in the collection box at the end of the show.

So many shows. So many decisions to make. 

Do I go to “Late’n’ Live” (Gilded Balloon, 1am) or “Hate’n’ Live” (Espionage, 11pm)?
Do I go to “Best of Irish Comedy” (Stand Comedy Club, 6pm) or “Best of Singapore Comedy” (The Counting House, 8.45pm)?
Do I go to “Best of the Fest” (Assembly Hall, 11.55pm) or “Very Best of the Fest” (Assembly Rooms, 11.55pm)?

Seriously, what is a girl supposed to do?

In the end I probably won’t go to any of them. Unless they ask me to take part. Fingers-crossed The Counting House has my phone number.

And where do I even begin to start with Bruce Fummey?

Do I go to Bruce’s pro-independence comedy show “Aaah’m Voting Yes” (The Beehive, 6.40pm) or do I go to Bruce’s anti-independence comedy show “Aaah’m Voting No” (Espionage, 9.45pm)?

He’s a smart lad that Bruce Fummey. Last year he performed a show in Gaelic. Yeah - funny, educational, and bilingual. What a clever bastard.

And Mick Ferry! Let’s not forget Mick Ferry. Mick won the “Best UK Live Stand-Up” award last year. Yes, that’s how good he is. I worked with him just a couple of days ago and he was absolutely brilliant! His new show, “What’s Going On?”, is on at Just The Tonic at The Community Project. I think it’s a new venue. Part of the Old Kirk on Candlemaker Row.

One of my fondest memories from last year’s Fringe was walking into CC Blooms for late night drink and finding a bare-chested Mick Ferry, swinging his Harrington jacket round his head, dancing to Rednex’s “Cotton Eyed Joe”. For a big lad, that boy can really move.

Of course it’s not all comedy - I’m also going to see Mitch Benn. Oh relax. I’m joking. I’m not going to see Mitch Benn.

A couple of plays have caught my eyes. I like a bit of theatre coz I is nuffink if not a fuckin’ classy bird. And I’m a big fan of Tony Hancock so I’ll make a point of catching “Hancock’s Last Half Hour” by Heathcote Williams (Assembly Rooms, 12 noon)

Why would I want to see a play about a down-on-their-luck alcoholic comedian, committing suicide in an Australian hotel room? Well change Australian hotel room to the Jongluers Portsmouth dressing room and it all becomes obvious.

Anyway, it’s a Festival. Come on, let’s get upbeat again. Do you want to have fun? I can’t hear you. I said, “Do you want to HAVE FUN?” YES, yes of course you do. Well answer me this, does anything say GOOD TIMES more than a series of spoken word performances?

That’s right. Warren Lakin and Mike McCarthy are back at The Assembly Rooms with a whole smorgasbord of writers, thinkers, drinkers and modern philosophers. PARTY ON DUDES!

Mary Beard, Steve Richards, Simon Singh, John O’Farrell, Richard (“Is he or isn’t he?”) Wiseman, and Owen (“Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class”) Jones… Each one is an hour that’s guaranteed to make you sit up and think.
I’m especially looking forward to Tanya Bryon’s “The Skeleton Cupboard: The Making Of A Clinical Psychologist”, where Tanya shares powerful stories from her years of training as a clinical psychologist and highlights the struggles of patients and staff alike on the journey from chaos to clarity. I don’t actually know anything about psychology, I just want to ask Tanya where she gets her hair done.

Apart from that… I suppose this year we’ll see another bunch of “Are women funny?” articles. That seems to be the easiest article for a bad journalist to write. That or “I'm a reviewer and I decided to try standup comedy”. Who gives a fuck? I really find those articles insulting. They are the equivalent of me saying, “I'm going to give journalism a try”. Actually I did give it a try. I wrote this. And you know what? It was a piece of piss. 

All you need is a pen and notebook and a deep-seated hatred for anyone funnier than yourself.

Oh yeah, almost forgot - I’m doing a show. “Cancel My Subscription” - Stand Comedy Club, 7.05pm

It’s a show for anyone who’s ever wanted to scream: “Oh shut up! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!” 

No gimmicks. No powerpoint displays. No riding a bike across Southern Indonesia.

Just me and a microphone. You can get all the details here: 

OK that’s it. I genuinely recommend ALL of these shows. YES, I know a lot of the people involved but I didn’t let that sway me. They all make me laugh(*).

See you in a couple of weeks with some more ‘Festival Shows I’m Going To See’.


Jo x

(*) They all paid me.

Jo Caulfield : “Cancel My Subscription”, Stand Comedy Club, 7.05pm
Nick Revell : “Closet Optimist”, Assembly Rooms, 6.45pm
Scott Capurro : “Islamohomophobia”, Assembly Rooms, 10pm 
Andrew Maxwell : “Hubble Bubble”, Assembly Rooms, 10.20pm
Mitch Benn : “Don’t Believe A Word”, Stand Comedy Club, 3pm
Lucy Porter : “Me Time”, Stand Comedy Club, 12.50pm
JoJo Sutherland : “In Conversation”, The Beehive, 1.30pm

Zoe Lyons : “Mustard Cutter”, Gilded Balloon, 7pm

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