Here is my no-nonsense list of shows to see in the “comedy” category at Edfringe. As a judge for the Amused Moose Comedy Awards, I see quite a lot of comedy, so these are very much personal favourites mixed with a bit of research into the positive press these folk have garnered.
Janey Godley, a Scottish institution is back on stage following a tough year. So, go see Janey Godley: The Not Dead Yet Tour. “Janey Godley is still alive by popular demand at this year’s Festival Fringe for one night only after her record-breaking Scottish tour and can’t wait to be back doing what she does best! More hilarious anecdotes, straight from the woman that wouldn’t die and shut up.”
Janine Harouni multi award winning American comic with outstanding talent who comes to the Fringe with Janine Harouni: Man’oushe. “Janine thought she knew her family. Then she took a DNA test and things got messy. The highly anticipated second hour from Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee Janine Harouni. The quick-witted New Yorker returns with a show that expl”ores her Arab roots, pregnancy and what happens when your mail order DNA test does not go to plan.
Simon Brodkin – so good I even bought my own tickets! This year, book yout tix for Simon Brodkin: Xavier. “After a sold-out, critically-acclaimed 120-date international tour, Britain’s most-viewed comedian on TikTok, Lee Nelson creator and world-famous prankster who showered Sepp Blatter with dollar bills and handed Theresa May a P45 is back with an outrageous new stand-up show about God, guns, Matt Hancock, Ayatollah Khamenei and a man called Xavier.”
Paul Chowdhry a huge hit with his in your face comedy. He is here with Paul Chowdhry: Family-Friendly Comedian. “Following a complete sell-out, extended national tour, star of global hit Live Innit, Taskmaster and the first British-Asian stand-up to sell-out London’s Wembley Arena returns to Edinburgh for the first time in almost 10 years! Paul is out to save his reputation and become a family friendly staple – like Ant & Dec (but not the one that drinks and drives).”
Paul Currie makes you feel like a child again, brings out feelings of joy and wonder. It’s comedy that makes you happy. In Paul Currie: Shtoom. “This show fuses physical clowning, music, contemporary dance, non-verbal comedy vignettes and crowd participation on a grand scale, utilising and subverting everyday objects and everyday life without having to utter a single word. Paul will show how he uses comedy to elevate his mental health and deep depression through laughter in this true sympathy of silly. Shtoom is a unique, surrealist, Dadaesque performance punk musical.”
In the Free Fringe we have Dave Bibby and his show Baby Dinosaur, which is loud. Brash and lots of fun. In Dave Bibby: Baby Dinosaur, Bibby “is back with a show about parenthood and dinosaurs. Packed with songs, sketches and *ahem* multi award-winning stand-up. “
Adele Cliff is a sophisticated and intelligent comic with oodles of talent. in her show Adele Cliff Can Break Your Arm, “Adele’s back, funnier and more dangerous than ever! “
Dave Chawner is a rising star with clever and insightful comedy. Get along to his Dave Chawner: Freelosophy for “The history of Western philosophy but fun! Think Horrible Histories for philosophy. Big concepts told through little stories “
Ian Stone is the only satiricalcomic to ever make me cry with laughter, twice. So, Ian Stone Will Make It Better is a must see. “Feel like life is getting you down? Ian Stone will make it better.”
Jazz Emu, winner of the Amused Moose Best Newcomer Award with his brand of clever musical comedy. There are two shows on offer. In Jazz Emu’s Pleasure Garden, “azz Emu and The Cosmique Perfectión invite you to attend a live concert in their Pleasure Garden: a luscious, verdant Arcadia that veritably throbs with life. Each night they’ll be performing a series of Jazz Emu’s finest songs, along with sets from some special guest comedians. Expect smooth grooves, wild solos, HSA-approved stage-dives and a set-list executed by unforgivably talented bandmates.” And Jazz Emu: You Shouldn’t Have, is another comedy music hot ticket: “In 2016, Jazz Emu played the biggest gig he’d ever landed at the Helsinki Velodrome. But during his between-song patter, he carelessly insulted one of his biggest fans. Now he’s back to clear his name and regain his former glory. Will he be able to get every single person in the world to like him? Or is it time for him to face the music?”
For appreciators of deeply intelligent comedy, Simon Evans is simply a master of his craft. Simon Evans: Have We Met? has this lowdown: “In Greek mythology, the Muses were the daughters of Mnemosyne, goddess of memory, by her nephew, Zeus. (Awks.) Ironically, there is no easy way to remember their names. Memory was thus regarded by the ancient Greeks as the mother of the arts, wellspring of inspiration. Our last defence against tyranny, the consolation of the just and the seat of the soul. Without memory, the illusion of self crumbles. Mine however, is shot. So where does that leave me?”
Adelaide Fringe award winner Georgie Carroll is a talented Geordie telling tales from the NHS that will make you laugh. This year, in “Nurse Georgie Carroll: Sista Flo 2.0, “Viral Nurse Georgie Carroll’s gloves are off for this award-winning power hour. Hospital-grade humour from everyone’s favourite nurse-turned-comedian. This is going to hurt, but it will make you better. As seen on Just For Laughs Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?!”
Now Nathan Cassidy is clever, classy and full of surprises. There are two shows on the Fringe this year. For Nathan Cassidy: Amnesia , “Multi award-winning comedian Cassidy has been told he must make his stand-up ‘TikTok ready’. So here are 29 bits with no connections that are instantly forgettable.” And in Nathan Cassidy: Fifty, “Cassidy wanted to perform the show of his life for his grandma’s 100th birthday, but must make his stand-up “Instagrammable.” So instead here are 50 jokes with no connections and no depth, heart or soul.”
Star of Live at the Apollo, Late Night Mash and Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominee Helen Bauer is, in my view, an incredibly talented comic and well worth seeking out at the Fringe. Her show is entitled Helen Bauer: Grand Supreme Darling Princess and she “brings a show all about the women in her life, from her mother to her best friend and that one girl who was mean in 2008. Oh, and Disney Princesses, obvs.”
There isn’t a wasted word in the whole show from John Robins. John Robins: Howl shows him Still screaming after all these years” and his performance is described be the Telegraph as “A goosebump inducing show that lays bare the limits of comedy'”. Check out John Robins: Work in Progress as well.
Fringe regular Mark Thomas is a comedy legend, and it’s great to see him back at the Fringe. This year’s comedy treat is called Mark Thomas: Gaffa Tapes. From the man himself: “Oh for God’s sake. I have done this for 38 years. A career full of the usual stuff, telly, awards, radio. Also court cases, sacked politicians and Guinness Book of World Records certificates. You either like me or you don’t. If you don’t know what I do, ask an old person. I rant, tell jokes, sing some songs, swear a lot and urge the audience to join the comedic equivalent of the Red Army Faction. Basically don’t come if you’re a Tory unless you actually want to be a hostage. Everyone else welcome. Everyone else loved.”
Sell-out show Foil Arms and Hog: Hogwash from sketch format stars Foil, Arms and Hogg returns to the Fringe. These are festival favourites and a huge TikTok hit these as these three lads deliver top quality sketch comedy. “The top selling show of 2022 is back for five nights only! Internet sensations Foil Arms and Hog return to the magnificent McEwan Hall with the full tour-length version of their 2022 show Hogwash (two hours, including interval). A mix of sketch comedy, audience participation and improvisation.”
Finally I must mention and recommend Shaggers – well, it would be rude not to. Shaggers (also Shaggers at a different venue) “popular show returns with comedians from around the Fringe of all styles, genders and varieties doing their best material based around the subject of sex and relationships”.
That’s it for now. Now, back to the Youtubes for Amused Moose.
Joe Angella is a comedy and theatre reviewer, for FringeReview, producer and also a judge for the Amused Moose Comedy Awards.