Cheap Laughs: Live comedy on a budget

Christmas is coming, you’re skint, we know. But what if we told you your comedy fix needn’t break the bank? Here are some of our favourite low-cost, high-chuckle nights across Scotland

Article by Polly Glynn | 30 Oct 2019
  • Peter Pancake at The Monkey Barrell

Scotland’s got a wealth of comedy nights right on your doorstep and nearly all of them do gigs for a fiver or less. When you can have a night out for less than a pint, what have you got to lose?

Red Raw at The Stand

The one with a mighty name for itself. Every Monday (Edinburgh), every Tuesday (Glasgow) and every Wednesday (Newcastle), if you dare leave sweet Caledonia. £3 entry.

Red Raw is the long-established night at The Stand which features folk trying out their first ever sets, circuit comedians trying out new material and, if you’re lucky, pretty big names dropping by just for the hell of it. Ross McKail, booker of the infamous night, says: “Red Raw is massively important as it gives people a starting point and a chance to do comedy in an already established and well-known room. Red Raw crowds are always very supportive and want the acts to do the best they can do.”

Peter Pancakes' Comedy Extravaganza at Monkey Barrel

The experimental one. Second Monday of every month, Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, Edinburgh, Free Entry with a donation bucket at the end.

Phil O’Shea, aka Peter Pancakes, organises this night, allowing his favourite performers to run wild. “The acts range from stand-up to musical comedy, character acts, clowning and one-off collaborations that only happen for the night. We always try and create a friendly show in collaboration with the audience, where you see things that only really make sense because we are all in the room together.”

That sense of community harks back to O’Shea trying to find a space to experiment in front of a willing crowd. “When I was starting out in comedy, it was invaluable to find nights where a good atmosphere was created and more unusual acts were supported and allowed to thrive. I feel so glad to have been able to help create this for the acts I love. Myself and James McIntosh have also developed a double act through appearing together regularly at the night, which has been a joy. It's one of the many unexpected things that has happened as a result of the fun, collaborative atmosphere that all the performers have created together.”

Chunks, Vision Board, GLASS, Edinburgh Revue

Less regular, but worth the wait is Vision Board, created by Gemma Flynn and John Aggasild. Frequently showcasing premium acts trying something new and different, this night is only a fiver at the Flying Duck, Glasgow. Next show coming up in January.

We keep banging on about Chunks, but that’s because you need to go. More acts than you can shake a forest at, each comic gets three minutes to do anything but stand-up. Unpredictable and with just a sprinkling of late-night-fringe-cult-spirit, you can find it once a month at Glasgow’s State Bar. Free Entry, donations bucket on exit.

It’s also worth checking out The Edinburgh Revue and GLASS’s (Glasgow Laughter and Sketch Society) regular student comedy nights. Guaranteed new ideas and new comic voices, you might even get to wear that ‘saw them first’ badge with pride.

So fly, my pretties, to your nearest comedy club. Netflix and chill ain’t got nothing on this.

Red Raw, The Stand, every week, £3
The Edinburgh Revue, Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh, 5 Nov, 19 Nov, 3 Dec, £2/Free for students
GLASS, Glasgow University Union Debating Chamber, 5 Nov, 19 Nov, 26 Nov, £2
Peter Pancakes' Comedy Extravaganza, Monkey Barrel Comedy, Edinburgh, 11 Nov, Free/PWYW
Chunks, State Bar, Glasgow, 25 Nov, Free/PWYW
Vision Board, Flying Duck, Glasgow, 25 Jan, £5