The Best Comedy Shows of Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Our favourite Edinburgh Fringe comedy shows – find all of our four- and five-star reviews here

Feature by The Skinny | 01 Aug 2019
  • On Stranger Tides: The Diversification of Comedy

The comedy section of the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme features thousands of performances of over 1500 shows, so it helps to be able to narrow things down somewhat. This page will hopefully do just that – we'll be updating it throughout the Edinburgh Fringe with our reviewers' four- and five-star write-ups of some of the Fringe's funniest shows.

In the meantime, get started with our Comedy Editor's picks of the Fringe programme, and some highlights from our team of comedy reviewers.

Frank Foucault @ Paradise in the Vault

Frank Foucault's Desk is a tremendous thump of absurdism. Paradise in The Vault (The Annexe), until 25 Aug, 9.55pm, £5-8

Diane Chorley @ Assembly George Square

Chorley's 80s nightclub experience is a nostalgic and empowering treat. Assembly George Square Studios (The Flick at Underground), until 25 Aug, 8pm, £13-14

Legs @ Just the Tonic, The Caves

A wonderful mix of sketch, gags, clowning and downright silliness sees all possibilities for leg-related content explored. Just the Tonic @ The Caves (Just Up the Stairs), until 25 Aug, 9.05pm, £5-8/PWYW

The Delightful Sausage @ Monkey Barrel

Another hour of dystopian fun and games from Amy Gledhill and Chris Cantrill. Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 2), until 25 Aug, 12pm, £8/PWYW. Extra Show: 25 Aug, Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 1), 1.40pm, £8/PWYW 

Laura Davis @ Heroes, Blundabus

Better Dead Than A Coward is another imaginative hour from Australian stand-up Laura Davis. Heroes @ Blundabus (Top Deck), until 25 Aug, 9.10pm, £5/PWYW

John Kearns @ Monkey Barrel

Double Edinburgh Comedy Award winner John Kearns returns to the Fringe with a masterclass in absurdity. Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 3), until 24 Aug, 4.45pm, £9/PWYW

Liam Withnail @ Monkey Barrel

Despite being, by his own admission, a hodge-podge of ideas, Withnail still manages to put together a coherent piece about belonging, culture and hatred. Monkey Barrel (Monkey Barrel 2), until 25 Aug, 6.40pm, £5/PWYW

Ruth Hunter @ PBH, Subway

Subversive So You Think You're Funny finalist Ruth Hunter presents an excellent debut hour. PBH's Free Fringe @ Subway (Main Room), until 24 Aug, 3.45pm, Free/PWYW

Glenn Moore @ Pleasance Courtyard

Love Don't Live Her Glenny Moore is a truthful and deftly structured hour from the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee. Pleasance Courtyard (Cabaret Bar), until 25 Aug, 4pm, £9-11

Simon Munnery @ The Stand

A short return and long goodbye for Alan Parker Urban Warrior, the alternative comedy powerhouse's alter-ego. The Stand (Stand 1), until 26 Aug, 3.20pm, £10-12

Josie Long @ The Stand

Tender is a stunningly feel-good and uniquely optimistic hour of stand-up. The Stand (Stand 1), until 25 Aug (not 19), 8.20pm, returns only; extra show at The Stand's New Town Theatre (Grand Hall), 24 Aug, 10.45pm, £10-£12

The Living Room @ Assembly Rooms

Tragicomic clowning provides a comfortably uncomfortable space for deathly musings. Assembly Rooms (Front Room), until 24 Aug (not 20), 9.20pm, £10-12

Róisín and Chiara @ Heroes, Hive

Are you looking for unadulterated and complete delight? Then come and get nupty with sketch duo Róisín and Chiara. Heroes @ The Hive (Big Cave), until 25 Aug (not 20), 6.20pm, £5-£8/PWYW

Paul F Taylor @ The Stand

Moustachioed maestro Paul F Taylor takes odd conceits to their illogical conclusion. The Stand Comedy Club (Stand 2), until 25 Aug, 1.20pm, £8-£10

Serena Flynn @ Heroes, Black Medicine

Uncomfortable but absorbing viewing, Baubo Goddess of Filth is a wilfully ugly clowning confession. Heroes @ Black Medicine (Basement), until 25 Aug, 10.45pm, £5/PWYW

Lucy Beaumont @ Pleasance Courtyard

Lucy Beaumont's new show is filled with stories that are both bizarre and relatable. Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs), until 25 Aug, 4.45pm, £11-12

Moon @ Pleasance Courtyard

Upstart sketch group Moon delight with an onslaught of quickfire jokes. Pleasance Courtyard (Below), until 25 Aug, 9.30pm, £7.50-£10.50

Bec Hill @ Pleasance Dome

Fringe cult stalwart Hill breaks new ground with a daring hour full of narrative twists and turns. Pleasance Dome (10 Dome), until 25 Aug, 5.40pm, £7-£10

Adam Hess @ Pleasance Courtyard

Talented oddball Adam Hess delivers another breathless hour of absurdity. Pleasance Courtyard (Upstairs), until 25 Aug, 7.15pm, £8.50-11.50

Tom Mayhew @ Just the Tonic, Mash House

A rousing call to arms for working class comics. Just the Tonic @ The Mash House (Just the Bottle Room), until 25 Aug, 7.30pm, £5/PWYW

Ryan Lane @ Heroes, Dragonfly

Ryan Lane's well-observed characters and clever writing make for an inventive retelling of life in small town Wales. Heroes @ Dragonfly, until 25 Aug, 4.40pm, £5/PWYW

Tom Walker @ Assembly Roxy

A mime masterpiece from the Aussie, Very Very is a show that thinks outside the glass box. Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), until 25 Aug, 9.30pm, £8-11

Lucy Pearman @ Monkey Barrel

There's a surprising emotional edge to the third full-length show from Fringe favourite clown, Lucy Pearman. Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 4), until 25 Aug, 4.30pm, £8/PWYW 

Ange Lavoipierre @ Underbelly, George Square

With Final Form, Ange Lavoipierre brings together multiple disparate elements to make a cohesive whole. Underbelly George Square (The Wee Coo), until 26 Aug, 10.40pm, £8-£10

Ahir Shah @ Monkey Barrel

Dots is another excellent hour of comedy-existentialism from Ahir Shah. Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 3), until 25 Aug, 1.45pm, £7-£8/PWYW

Ew Girl, You Nasty @ Laughing Horse, Golf Tavern

A brazen hour of crazy anecdotes from Katharyn Henson in her Edinburgh Fringe debut. Laughing Horse @ Golf Tavern (Upstairs Bar), until 25 Aug (not 20), 7.15pm, Free/PWYW

Sarah Keyworth @ Pleasance Courtyard

Pacific is a confessional and stimulating, yet light-hearted sophomore Edinburgh Fringe hour from Sarah Keyworth.

Giants are Fjörd @ Pleasance Courtyard

Sketch duo Giants explore well-trodden avenues but with great comic success in Giants are Fjörd. Pleasance Courtyard (Baby Grand), until 25 Aug, 4.30pm, £8.50-11.50

John Robins @ Pleasance Courtyard

An endlessly relatable hour of crippling shame from 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Award winner John Robins. Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance One), until 25 Aug, 7.30pm, £13-15

Richard Stott @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Richard Stott's debut Edinburgh Fringe show displays his strength and empathy. Gilded Balloon Teviot (Wee Room), until 26 Aug, 12.45pm, £7.50-9.50

Sam Haygarth @ Just the Tonic, Mash House

An urgent and hilarious hour tackling the climate crisis from Sam Haygarth. Just the Tonic @ The Mash House (Just the Attic), until 25 Aug, 6.35pm, Free/PWYW

Neal Portenza @ Heroes, Boteco

Neal Portenza is Australasia’s most successful bilge pump salesman Joshua Ladgrove in this cult classic in the making. Heroes @ Boteco (Basement), until 25 Aug, 6.40pm, £5-£7/PWYW

Laser Kiwi @ Assembly George Square

An evening of inventive Kiwi clowning from an impressive sketch trio. Assembly George Square Gardens (Piccolo), until 25 Aug (not 19), 10.30pm, £12-15

Edy Hurst @ Just the Tonic, The Mash House

Hurst's identity-crisis silliness is full of fun flashes. Just the Tonic @ The Mash House (Just the Bottle Room), until 25 Aug, 12.50pm, £5/PWYW

Mat Ewins @ Just the Tonic, The Caves

Strap yourselves in, Mat Ewins has a presentation clicker in hand and who knows what is about to appear on the screen behind him. Just the Tonic at The Caves (Just the Big Room), until 25 Aug, 9pm, £8-9/PWYW

Spencer Jones @ Pleasance Courtyard

Jones returns after a year away from the Fringe, armed with a never-ending supply of gags, tricks and props. Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath), until 25 Aug, 5.45pm, £10-13 // Extra show: 23rd Aug, 3.15pm, £12-13

Courtney Pauroso @ Underbelly Cowgate

Pauroso's clowning confronts one of the last taboos: the female form and her sexuality. Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly), until 25 Aug, 9.40pm, £10-12

Helen Bauer @ Pleasance Courtyard

An expertly-constructed meditation on honesty, loneliness, and the influence of our parents. Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), until 25 Aug (not 14), 6pm, £7-10

Zoë Coombs Marr @ Monkey Barrel

A fantastic and inventive performer, Marr is a free-flowing ideas machine – original, innovative and above all hilarious. Monkey Barrel (Monkey Barrel 4), until 25 Aug (not 12), 7.30pm, £8-10/PWYW

Emmy Blotnick @ Underbelly Bristo Square

A self-assured Edinburgh debut from a woman who we sense won’t run out of side-splitting anecdotes to tell any time soon. Underbelly Bristo Square (Buttercup), until 26 Aug (not 13), 7.55pm, £9.50-11.50

Guy Montgomery @ Assembly George Square

Montgomery wins the award for most apt (and least succinct) title for his show about checking his privilege by taking on shameful moments from his past. Assembly George Square (Studio 4), until 25 Aug (not 14), 8.55pm, £8-11

Stephen Buchanan @ Pleasance Courtyard

A well-crafted debut Fringe hour from reigning Scottish Comedian of the Year Stephen Buchanan. Pleasance Courtyard (Cellar), until 25 Aug (not 14), 8.30pm, £7.50-10

Crybabies @ Heroes, Boteco

A secret Nazi plot, a hodgepodge task force and a guy who really loves his mop... Crybabies' debut hour Danger Brigade is a surreal sketch tour-de-nonsense. Heroes @ Boteco (Basement), until 25 Aug (not 14), 4pm, £5/PWYW

Foxdog Studios @ Heroes, The Hive

Foxdog Studios' new show Tomorrow's Office is a madcap hour of interactive comedy that the whole audience will want to join in with. Heroes @ The Hive (Big Cave), until 25 Aug, 5pm, £5/PWYW

Stuart McPherson @ Monkey Barrel

Stuart McPherson impresses with his debut hour of millenial woe. Monkey Barrel (Monkey Barrel 5), until 25th Aug (not 13), 1.55pm, £5 /PWYW 

Langston Kerman @ Underbelly Bristo Square

A confident and well-handled hour, The Loose Cannon handles original and delicate material with humour and skill. Underbelly Bristo Square (Jersey), until 25th Aug (not 12), 7.45pm, £9-11

Brodi Snook @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Snook's debut hour, Handful, is a brilliant exploration of the self and toxic relationships. Gilded Balloon, Teviot (Wee Room), until 26th Aug (not 13), 8.15pm, £9-£11

Catherine Cohen @ Pleasance Courtyard

Infinite #content from a thrilling new comic – nothing can prepare you for Catherine Cohen's debut Fringe hour. Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath), until 25 Aug (not 13, 19), 10.45pm, £11-13 

Tarot @ Pleasance Courtyard

A spooky sketch show from members of Gein's Family Giftshop and Goose. Pleasance Courtyard (Attic), until 25 Aug, 10.45pm, £7.50-£10

Chris Parker @ Assembly George Square

An energetic, relentlessly funny hour from Chris Parker. Assembly George Square (Studio 5), until 25 Aug (not 14), 6.50pm, £8-£11

Sophie Duker @ Pleasance Courtyard

Sophie Duker’s debut Fringe show, Venus, is unapologetic and hilarious. Pleasance Courtyard (Below), until 25 Aug (not 14), 7pm, £6.50-£9

Jordan Brookes @ Pleasance Courtyard

Jordan Brookes’ latest show is a demonstration in how to make something out of nothing. Pleasance Courtyard (Beneath), until 26 Aug (not 13), 9.30pm, £8-£11

Fern Brady @ Monkey Barrel

An accomplished hour of stand-up from Fern Brady, a performer who has earned her stripes. Monkey Barrel (Monkey Barrel 1), until 25 (not 12), 6pm, £7/PWYW.

Huge Davies @ Pleasance Courtyard

Huge Davies, with a keyboard slung around him like a peanut vendor at a baseball game, gives a dark debut hour which balances twisted punchlines with musical levity. Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Three), until 25 Aug (not 14), 8.15pm, £7.50-£10

Jessica Fostekew @ Monkey Barrel

Jessica Fostekew delivers a hilarious tornado of rage on gender roles and society. Monkey Barrel Comedy (Monkey Barrel 4), Until 25 Aug (not 12), 1.30pm, £5/PWYW

Max & Ivan @ Pleasance Dome

Max and Ivan return to the Fringe with the most heartfelt bromance. Pleasance Dome (Queen Dome), until Aug 25th (not 14), 8.20pm, £9-£13

Janine Harouni @ Pleasance Courtyard

Neat and sweet debut from one-third of award-winning sketch group Muriel. Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Three), until 25th Aug (not 15), 5.45pm, £9-£12

To keep up with our review team's verdicts on this year's Edinburgh Fringe, follow The Skinny on Twitter, and sign up for our Zap! newsletter to get the best of the Fringe (and all the other great stuff going on across Scotland) direct to your inbox.

Photo credits (from top): High Hope Studio, Mike Owen, Andy Hollingworth, Andy Hollingworth, James Penlidis, Rah Petherbridge, Trudy Stade, Conor O'Toole, Natasha Pszenicki, The Stand Comedy Club, Giles Smith, Kevin Krieger, Roisin and Chiara, Edward Moore, Serena Flynn, Andy Hollingworth, Matt Crockett, Karla Gowlet, Matt Crockett, Victor Preda, Veronique et Charlotte, Assembly Festival, Ed Moore, Ange Lavoipierre, The Other Richard, Ricki Sofer, Matt Crockett, Aemon Sukkar, Rachel King, Steve Ullathorne, Anthony Jarman, Louise Lockhart, Michelle Ranson, Andy Hollingworth, Mat Ewins, Jonathan Birch, Nick Rasmussen, James Deacon, Christa Holka, Mindy Tucker / Gaby Jerrard PR, Zack Dezon, Stephen Ullathorne, [uncredited], Foxdog Studios, Kitty McMurdo-Schad, [uncredited], Karla Gowlett / Gaby Jerrard PR, Bea Helman / Gaby Jerrard PR, Drew Forsyth, Andi Crown / Gaby Jerrard PR, Mahaneela, Anneliese Nappa / Borkowski Arts, Matt Crockett, Mark Dawson, Idil Sukan, Matt Crockett, Mindy Tucker/James Deacon