Taking the mic...

Year-round, under their usual monikers, and at more affordable rates, the Student Unions continue to play host to a generous round of comedy events

Feature by Julie Paterson | 13 Sep 2006

Every August much of Edinburgh University's property portfolio is turned into comedy venues. Famous Fringe names like the Pleasance and Gilded Balloon are based in university buildings, and Edinburgh College of Art's Wee Red Bar is now rebranded for the festivities as Sweet. Year-round, under their usual monikers, and at more affordable rates, the Student Unions continue to play host to a generous round of comedy events.

The Comedy Network has a nationwide presence as Britain's largest chain of comedy clubs, and hosts over 30 comedians during a national tour of over 400 shows. Now in its fifteenth year, it has so far entertained over half a million punters and students. This marks its tenth year on the Student comedy scene, having brought Britain's finest comedians including Jenny Eclair, Harry Hill, and Al Murray to Students' Unions around the country.

The Comedy Network also runs an award-winning EUSA (Edinburgh University Student Association) comedy night, launching Freshers' Week 2006 on September 12 from 7.30pm, which will begin its fortnightly residence at Pleasance Cabaret bar. The headline act is Mark Olver with support from Issy Suttie.

Meanwhile, across the M8, Stand-Up features as part of Strathclyde University Freshers' Week with a comedy launch night on Thursday September 21 from 8pm on Level 8 (Vertigo) of the Students' Union.

Further afield from cosy campus pubs are the main comedy clubs, Jongleurs and The Stand, both of which have branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Exclusively at Edinburgh Jongeurs is a student-based comedy night, Monkey Business, every Thursday from 7pm, including an after-show party and drinks promotions.

Appealing to both students and comedy virgins alike are the famous free lunchtime weekend shows at The Stand comedy clubs. Concessionary prices are also available throughout the week on most shows. The Stand remains accessible for students with unthinkably cheap entry (think £1 Edinburgh, £2 Glasgow) to the aptly-named 'Red Raw' new talent showcase nights, billed as "a weekly showcase for absolute beginners", at which now revered talents such as Des Clarke and Miles Jupp cut their teeth. An experienced compere and headliner ensure you get your pittance's worth, and even students can be sure of having beer money left in their change. The more daring and funny among you can even try your hand by booking a spot (Call 0131558737 for more info).

Edinburgh University's Improverts troupe, based at the Bedlam Theatre, have a long history of nurturing comedy talent and making delighted crowds laugh long into the night. Look them up, or get involved yourself.

Edinburgh and Glasgow offer an unusually broad range of comedy options for students. Whether you see yourself as a budding star, or you're just looking for an endorphine-releasing good time, the Skinny recommends you get out and enjoy the giggles.

Red Raw @ The Stand Mondays, Edinburgh, £1 conc., Tuesdays, Glasgow, £2 conc.
Monkey Business @ Jongleurs Edinburgh, Thursdays, £3

http://www.jongleurs.com www.thestand.co.uk www.thecomedynetwork.co.uk