Edinburgh Fringe 2023: 26 Comedy Shows to See

Our Comedy editor picks out a few highlights from this year's Edinburgh Fringe programme. OK, twenty-six highlights...

Article by Polly Glynn | 28 Jul 2023
  • Comedy Highlights August 2023

Want wall-to-wall bangers to keep you laughing until the (big purple) cows come home? HWFG!

It’d be rude not to start with comics bringing their first shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, and as per, this year has ‘em in droves. If you’re looking for straight-up stand-up, you don’t want to miss reigning BBC New Comedy Awards champion Dan Tiernan (Monkey Barrel (MB2), 31 Jul-27 Aug (not 14), 10pm), Priya Hall (Monkey Barrel (MB2), 31 Jul-27 Aug (not 11), 4.20pm) or Tadiwa Mahlunge (Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker 2), Aug 2-27 (not 14), 9.25pm). After more musically-minded acts instead? Try Leila Navabi’s mischievous punk musical hour Composition (Pleasance Courtyard (Attic), 2-27 Aug (not 11), 9.45pm) or the indie-parody stylings of Matty Hutson (Pleasance Courtyard (Attic), 2-27 Aug (not 14), 7.15pm). For something more alternative, give Funny Women award-winner and Sean Lock Comedy Award nominee Lorna Rose Treen (Pleasance Courtyard (Attic), 2-27 Aug (not 14), 4.35pm) a go, or Bill O’Neill’s Natalie Palamides-directed daredevil feat The Amazing Banana Brothers (Pleasance Courtyard (Beside), 2-27 Aug (not 14), 10pm). 

Mainstays of The Skinny’s list are Olga Koch (Monkey Barrel (MB1), 31 Jul-27 Aug, 7.35pm), sure to be back with another corker, double-act Max & Ivan with their first show since 2019 centred on fatherhood (Pleasance Courtyard (Above), 2-27 Aug (not Saturdays), 5.20pm) and pioneering Luisa Omielan who breaks her lengthy Fringe hiatus with Bitter (Monkey Barrel (MB3), 3-27 Aug (not Mondays), 5.40pm) and God is a Woman The Musical (WIP) (Laughing Horse @ Counting House (Ballroom), 3-27 Aug (not Mondays), 8.30pm).

Cult favourites we can’t wait for include word-of-mouth sensation Mr Chonkers (Monkey Barrel, 14-15 Aug (MB1), 16 Aug (MB2), times vary) who also brings unhinged late night delight Piggy Time to the festival (Monkey Barrel (MB1), 17-19 Aug, 11.55pm). The brilliantly madcap Foxdog Studios are here with Robo Bingo (Underbelly Cowgate (Delhi Belly), 3-27 Aug, 8.25pm), a frenetic, techy take on the classic pensioner game. Elf and Duffy are also big on our radars with their show Heist (Monkey Barrel (Tron), 2-15 Aug, 8.40pm), a non-verbal hour of physical comedy with Visual Vernacular, blending innovative d/deaf-led creation from Duffy, with Elf Lyons’ knack for charming clown work.

At the Free Fringe, we’re really excited to see Baby Trains from Rob Duncan (PBH’s Free Fringe @ Legends (Upstairs), 5-23 Aug (not 12), 2.20pm), who you might recall from the bonkers Legs and Logs with Julia Masli. There are also two unmissable lineup shows between the free venues. One is Best in Class (Laughing Horse @ Three Sisters (Maggie’s Chamber), 3-27 Aug, 8.15pm), Sian Davies’ Edinburgh Comedy Award Panel Prize-winning compilation show of the funniest acts from working class backgrounds. The other is A Show for Gareth Richards (PBH’s Free Fringe @ Whistlebinkies (Binkies Lounge), 5-27 Aug, 4pm), a daily tribute to comic Richards who we sadly lost earlier this year. The cream of the comedy Fringe are set to perform with 100% of the bucket going to Gareth’s family.

And finally, we must shout about the brilliant Scotland-based acts at this year’s fest. Stuart McPherson (Monkey Barrel (MB2), 31 Jul-27 Aug (not 16), 5.45pm) and Christopher Macarthur-Boyd (Monkey Barrel (Tron), 1-27 Aug (not 14), 7.15pm) are back, with CMB’s run hot on the heels of supporting Frankie Boyle and a nomination for Channel 4’s Sean Lock Award. Adopted local Krystal Evans (Monkey Barrel (Hive 2), 2-27 Aug (not 15), 7.35pm) debuts with her soon-to-be ™ mix of sarcasm and trauma while the brilliant Kieran Hodgson (Pleasance Courtyard (Forth), 2-27 Aug, 7pm) returns with his first solo show in five years, all about his new home. Other home-birds include Marjolein Robertson (The Stand (Stand 1), 3-28 Aug (not 14), 5pm) who steps away from her usual brand of Shetland whimsy in Marj, Chunks favourite and viral Real-Sexy-Elliott-Gould-and-Grover tweeter Chris Thorburn (Just The Tonic Mash House (Attic), 10-27 Aug (not 14), 12pm), alongside a chronic illness-themed hour from Liam Withnail (Monkey Barrel (MB2), 2-27 Aug, 7.10pm) and MC Hammersmith (Monkey Barrel (MB1), 2-27 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), 12.30pm) with more hilarious lyrical gymnastics straight off the dome.