The Comedians’ Guide To Who To See At This Year’s Edinburgh Fringe 2019
2019 Edinburgh Fringe is just about to begin. Thousands of acts are frantically rehearsing in the anticipation that this could be their greatest festival yet!
Each year more and more comedians travel from all around the world (well the countries that are at least fluent in English) to sell their comedic wares to the thousands of punters who trudge the never-ending hills of Scotland’s capital nearly every day in August.
Edinburgh Fringe is one of the most competitive comedy festivals in the world. Even household names like Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster have found themselves playing 25 shows in a row, downstairs at a pub on the quietest street in the capital just playing to their technicians and some empty seats. But sometimes word of mouth and some excellent reviews can send a show up into the stratosphere and become that ‘not-to-miss show’.
The festival has become a fantastic starting block for so many comedians careers – the likes of Romesh Ranganathan, Sara Millican and Steve Coogan all found early acclaim at the festival. Last year, Rose Matafeo won best show, but who will be discovered this year?
There are dozens of articles asking performers who to catch this year so we thought we would ask for something different and give the newbies a chance by asking some of the best names in comedy which rising stars to catch this year? Obviously not before checking out their own glorious hours of comedy.
” This year, I became a new man, literally. I did hypnotherapy to deal with a few behaviours I found unpleasant about myself, and thankfully healed from the struggles of depression and anxiety, emerging out of hypnosis a completely different person. I’m genuinely happier for it, but it meant for a while I had a stranger living in my head; One who was positive. “Urgh gross, get out of here you freak, stop smiling and being happy.”I’m still to this day learning how to navigate the World with this new consciousness floating around in my head and controlling my body. So I’m doing two shows. One about my old life (Borne of Chaos 16:15) and a second about the new one (Yum Yum 18:30); both shows at The Counting House, which I recommend you enjoy in order, but it’s not vital. “
“ My recommendation for this year is a wonderful performer named Diana Dinerman whom I met in our home of Los Angeles. That city is full of people who call themselves comedians because Americans are all about faking it till you make it, so you never really know when someone is actually talented. And you know what comedians are like, if you call yourself one, you better be funny otherwise our friendship will be on rocky grounds. She was so enchanting I had to be her friend, but there was always a slither of fear that she might be crap. OH THE FEAR! One night, I saw her perform and she was utterly brilliantly spell bounding. I hope I’m not putting too much pressure on her now I’m saying this haha, but honestly, I am so excited to see her show and you should be too. Her show is called Detour (Edinburgh 31st July – 26th August at the Underbelly venues)”
“Drunk Women Solving Crime is a hit true crime comedy podcast created by writer-comedians Hannah George, Taylor Glenn and Catie Wilkins, featuring well-known guests from comedians to crime writers. It launched in September 2018 and we’ve just finished a sellout residency at the Pleasance Theatre in London. Although we are all veterans of the comedy circuit/writing world, this will be DWSC’s Edinburgh Fringe debut at the Underbelly Bristo Square, Aug 3-11th, 7:20 and we are really excited to bring the show there and feature some great guests, including US comic Jena Friedman and Zoe Lyons.”
DRUNK WOMEN SOLVING CRIME RECOMMEND:
“We’d like to heartily recommend is Sukh Ojla: For Sukh’s Sake, at the Gilded Balloon. Sukh is a brilliant actress and writer who has been killing it on the stand up circuit, with her perfect blend of dry observational humour, warmth and honesty. Her material about living in a “flatshare” (aka her parents’ house) is absolutely brilliant, drawing from her experiences as a British-Asian woman and tapping into the universal frustrations and quirks of family life. We can’t wait to see her Fringe debut, which promises a “searingly honest look at what happens when you go to extremes to find happiness” and will no doubt do well. Basically, GO SEE SUKH! “
“My show is called Death Becomes Him. I have sadly passed away but that, unfortunately, is not the end. Now I have to figure out where I’ll end up based on the life that I’ve lead. Will I be going up or down, get reincarnated or worse? Come to the show and find out. No matter what though and I know this isn’t very fashionable, you are guaranteed to laugh your socks off. ”
” As for people performing their debut hour, I wholeheartedly recommend Esther Manito’s show Crusade. It’s at 4pm, Teviot Guilded Balloon and its excellent. We need more strong, working class women in comedy and Ester is leading the charge!”
“My new show Lemon is a challenge to some of the stereotypes we have around sex, sexuality and relationships. I’ve dated men and women and the show is definitely about how external perceptions of queer and straight dynamics are often ridiculous. I’m really enjoying writing it and with any luck, people who enjoyed last years will come back and bring their Mums and we can all chat about Lesbian Bed Death!”
” I am so excited to see so many people’s shows this year, comedy is in such an exciting place right now! Based on having seen her previews though, I’d have to recommend Helen Bauer. Helen is a powerhouse, she’s brash, and funny and certain and when I watch her I feel overwhelmed and thrilled and happy. She’s hilarious and I don’t know that she compares to anyone which is why she’s such an exciting comic. I imagine she’d also want me to mention how hot she is: smokin’. “
” Fablemaker is my fifth solo show and it feels like the one I’ve been working up to at all the years I’ve been going to the Fringe. Put simply I’m going to be doing an hour of crowd work, during which I’ll be telling a story using members of the audience as characters in it. I’ve always found improvising with the crowd to be my strongest comedy superpower and I’m so excited to be diving in feet first and doing a whole show of it. I already compere for big clubs like The Comedy Store, Komedia and the Glee, but often feel that just as I introduce acts is when I’m getting into my stride. I can’t wait to have a one hour blank canvas each day this year to channel my comedy heroes Ross Noble, Dara O’Briain and The Goons and let my imagination run wild. In previews of the show I’ve ended up telling tales of The Lost Treasure of Bigfoot, The Australian Landworm and the Elixir of Eternal Youth and The Three Covens and their Mission to Kill God, so things are going to get strange. There’s something properly glorious about creating something that happens right there in the moment with the people in the room and is never going to be repeated. It feels like bottling lightning. I’ve never attempted something more challenging, exciting and on-brand for my style of comedy, so I’m feeling really energised for the Fringe. The best bit is that if you see my show and like it, you can come check out a completely different one on another day! ”
“Sophie is tremendous. She’s sharp, articulate, original, charming, goofy, very watchable and extremely funny. It goes without saying that as a queer black woman she’s got a perspective that is pretty rare at the Fringe, but the last thing she would dream of is to hit audiences over the head with her demographics or wield a lance of woke justice. She wears her point of view and life experiences lightly and never takes herself to seriously. Although relatively new to stand-up, she’s been floating around the comedy world for a decade, on either side of the microphone and it shows. She’s got a cracking blend of punky freshness and a life well-lived which means that her show is brimful of cracking anecdotes, sure-fire gags and charming audience interaction. Every time I’ve booked her for my own club, Good Ship Comedy she’s taken the roof off and our punters have fallen in love with her. I’m sure it’s going to be the same in Edinburgh. “
“I’m at the fringe as ‘Troy Hawke’ everybody’s favourite 1930’s throwback home-schooled societal trouble shooter. The show is called ‘Tiles of the Unexpected!’ and is on at 5.30pm every day at The Dexter Room, Underbelly. Please do not come and see it if you hate twists, turns, sudden unexpected dovetails, jokes, clever use of language, allegorical storytelling, previously un-trumpeted causality or happiness.”
“An act I have not issue recommending is Ryan Cullen. He’s a wee Irish boy who looks ill all the time and he’s performing on the free fringe this year at Opium bar in the afternoon…he has a very dark mind and some of the best crafted jokes I’ve come across.He used to eat biscuits on YouTube for a living which has probably formed the twisted psyche that he channels into regularly killing his family members (particularly the vulnerable ones) in his routines. Genuinely one of the most naturally funny people I’ve ever come across but also deliverer of the worst bucket speeches I’ve ever seen. He’ll do fifty minutes of killer jokes then hold out a limp wrist and weakly ask for ‘just enough for a wee beer so’. You won’t regret going to his show. Do me a favour and stick between £5-£10 in his bucket and watch his poorly eyes sparkle like it’s Christmas.”
“We have been a comedy double act for six years, but this is our first Edinburgh show. We wanted to take our time to hone our craft and make sure our show was the best it could be, or more likely we have four kids between us and this is the first time we’ve managed to escape. The Scummy Mummies Show is a mix of stand-up, sketches and songs. There are lots of laughs for parents, but it’s also designed to make non-parents feel smug about their lives. As one audience member said, ‘I’m not a mum, but I love your stuff, because it reminds me to take my pill.'”
SCUMMY MUMMIES RECOMMEND:
“Our top tip is Alasdair Beckett-King (not his debut): We used to gig with him back in the day at a wide variety of shit pubs. He always made us laugh and laugh and laugh, until we felt sick with joy and jealousy. He also has the best Edinburgh show trailer ever.”
“I was sent away to an all-boys boarding school at the age of 6. From there I witnessed the school mould my friends into tiny little sociopaths, only concerned with winning and unable to relate to anyone who wasn’t in out bubble. Public schools are responsible for the characters who dominate our politics and make it the shambles it is. They enjoy charitable status, tax breaks and begin the split in makes Britain the first world country hardest to achieve social mobility. If we are striving for equality then we need to talk about what role they have in our future. The show also contains epic bantz and some proper legends.”
TOM RECOMMENDS: HELEN BAUER
“I did a gig with her and she absolutely ripped it. She did a package show that was on after me last year and I fully believe she is destined for big things”
“This year I am back with my second show, MATING SELECTION, which is the true story of my experience on a dating show at last year’s Fringe. The show led me to investigate the dating today, focusing on the evolution of love, morality and how society influences our ability to tell the truth. While the show is the retelling of a true story, it is also a social experiment, including anonymous voting throughout the show. I love that aspect as every show is unique, and for me, it adds a big element of risk. Throughout the ‘experiment’, I ask the audience to consider some difficult questions that have (during previews) sparked heated debates between audience and couples, well after the show ended. There is no right or wrong response, but it has been interesting to see when I know audience members are not being honest with themselves. It has been a lot of fun to write as well as quite challenging. “
” I am looking forward to a load of debut hours, especially Helen Bauer, Yuriko Kotani and Michael Odewale. I think Helen’s voice has a real freshness and honesty that is both unique, but everyone’s best friend. I have been gigging with Yuriko for a few years and her material has always been so fresh and clever. The last few months in particular, I have had a sneak peek in over short spots, and am very intrigued. Michael Odewale has always impressed me, and I am looking forward to seeing his gentle yet punchy set, develop into an hour long journey. “
A big thank you to all the comedians who took time from previewing their new shows to help us fans choose who we are going to check out at this years Edinburgh Fringe. And hopefully, you’re can be that guy who tells their friends, family co-workers and every bloody person they meet that they saw the show of [insert name of comic] before they were on Mock the Week etc.
Have a fantastic Fringe everybody and keep supporting live comedy!