Edinburgh comedy mainly means one thing, and that’s the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. For this month the city is taken over with all the world’s stand-ups, here to delight the local and international audience with their variable levels of LOL.
During the three week run, venues pop up across the city to host the many different strands and organisations, who come here to make or break careers and bank balances. Churches, schools, swimming pools, hillsides – every space is fair game to be transformed into a comedy venue.
There are some perennial big players on the Edinburgh Fringe, namely the Pleasance (who occupy the eponymous Edinburgh University Students Association and fill it with laughter), Assembly, the Assembly Rooms (same name but, confusingly, totally different company), the Gilded Balloon (also housed in an Edinburgh Uni building) and Underbelly.
Underbelly started off in a derelict Cowgate space which has now become the Bongo Club, but they’ve expanded exponentially, and become synonymous with the Udderbelly, an enormous inflatable purple cow who resides in Bristo or George Squares for the month.
Assembly Rooms are run by the brains behind The Stand, Edinburgh’s year-round comedy hub. This conveniently leads us into comedy life beyond the Fringe, which is indeed a thing. The Stand on Queen St is the home of Edinburgh comedy, providing a platform for comedians at all stages of their careers.
The weekly Red Raw night gives a stage to beginners every Monday night, while the rest of the week is taken up with regular nights and bigger name tours – The Stand has hosted everyone from Stewart Lee to Jerry Sadowitz.
We’ve curated the best guide to Edinburgh comedy nights, featuring stand-up, improv and whatever else the kids are into these days. If you’re organising an event or spot any information which needs listing or updating, let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org with the event and venue details.