Kidneys and Spleen - Comedy for July

July is a chance for those who care about good comedy to beat the Fringe rush

Feature by (author not named | 15 Jul 2006
During the comedy overload of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival even purist stand-up fans like to indulge in a little 'I saw them first' bragging. Even though some of the Pleasance Courtyard conversations one overhears in August can sound like a name-dropping one-way ticket to hell, this one-upmanship is not really such a bad thing. The general sense is that the best acts will benefit most from word of mouth recommendations. Most, though not all, 'hot tickets' are for better than average shows. Many of the best stand-ups will sell out almost every night of their run.

July, then, is not just a month for stand-ups to hone their act for the upcoming Fringe, but a chance for those who care about good comedy to beat the rush: to get an early glimpse of what is coming up, and even to catch acts who are likely to be hits when they cost less to see, and are still blessed with the charming vulnerability that a run of sell-out shows tends to efface. Two of the Fringe's most popular acts are playing in Glasgow and Edinburgh this month, and look set to be well worth a try: Alex Horne and Brendan Burns.

"I want to talk about something close to everyone's heats… the spleen." Alex Horne is the kind of comedian who benefits from the 'right' crowd, but when people are prepared to see things his way, he is genuinely brilliant. Using a combination of technological devices, daft games and unique puns to win over an audience, his last Edinburgh show, When In Rome, involved the comedian trying to teach people Latin. Why not take a group of friends to his week-night show at the Edinburgh Stand on Thursday July 13, to see what off-kilter perspective he will be encouraging us to see from this year?

Brendon Burns is an altogether different comedian to the bizarrist Horne: a brash Aussie with jokes about giving oral sex to girls with failing kidneys. If the acerbic intelligence he is known for may, in truth, be a little over-rated, his material is far from dumbed-down. Burns has a real star-quality that many on the stand-up circuit must envy, and his confidence has made him a big hit. Catch him on a quieter night, like Thursday July 20 at the Glasgow Stand, and take advantage of the chance to match personality to name in an intimate setting.