A Word on the Comedy Fringe...

Feature by Lizzie Cass-Maran | 27 Jul 2010

Despite the fact that it is cold, wet and miserable outside, something tells me that it’s nearly August. I currently have 427 emails in my ‘Fringe’ inbox. They proclaim to me a whole host of ‘hilarious’ shows.

While I generally delete anything that describes itself as hilarious, and I’m not going to pretend for one minute that I’ve perused all of these missives in detail, we still don’t have anything like enough room to talk to everyone who’s caught my eye as deserving their space in my email account. So we thought we’d let them talk to each other. Comedians interviewing comedians. We’ve got local lad Keir McAllister talking transglobally to Arj Barker from Flight of the Conchords; the Bishop brothers chatting to each other just as if they’re over the breakfast table; Siân Bevan cutting down 45 minutes of jolly chat with Sarah Millican to a mere page; and the Brothers Streep talking antipodean with Adam Vincent.

In terms of what else is going on, I said it last year and I’ll say it again: go and see the free stuff. Free Fringe, Free Festival, random shows that are part of neither; there are some great shows on. The Meadows Bar, Espionage and The Canon’s Gait are all great venues to pop your head in to to see what’s going on. Don’t forget the Free and Easy at The Stand every weekend, too.

Talking of The Stand, you’d be hard pushed to find a better line-up of guaranteed brilliant shows. As the year-round major comedy venue in Scotland, it’s hard not to sound like a suck-up, but while it’s always interesting to check out the shiny new three-week-only venues, and a Fringe is not a Fringe without a pint at the Underbelly, nothing beats the Stand for some comedy love that’s just a little bit less forced than some of the other big venues.

Other highlights at Edinburgh this year include my latest comedy crush, Alex Horne. In my heady youth, I was falling for comedians’ charm left right and centre, but it’s a while since anyone drew me in in quite the way Horne did at the Glasgow Comedy Festival earlier this year. He’s doing an incredible three shows at the Fringe: solo show Odds is on every day at the Pleasance Courtyard; Taskmaster appears for one night only on the 27th, and with eight late-night shows at the Pleasance Dome is The Horne Section, mixing jazz with comedy.

Happy Fringing!