Browse reviews

Brighton Fringe 2024

Laughing Horse Clean Pick of The Fringe

Laughing Horse

Genre: Comedy, Stand-Up

Venue: Laughing Horse at The Quadrant


Low Down

The best comedy selection in town, without the rude bits! A mixture of fresh new talent, old stagers and top headliners with comedy suitable for everyone.


As Fringe Festivals come around, Paul asks for a list of must-see comedy shows to share. Dutifully,  I usually comply and come up with a list of hot-to-trot shows. In the past, I have included compilation shows with a specific theme, Shaggers being a great example of this. But, despite its long and successful history, I’ve never included the Clean Pick of The Fringe. So, it was time to put that right.

I am a fan of compilations. With ever-rising costs, the amount comedy fans have to spend can be limited. A good compilation show allows an audience to see comedians without gambling on whether they’ll like them or not. It’s also an excellent way for an audience to broaden their comedy horizons. A chance to see the unexpected.

So, on a wet bank holiday afternoon in Brighton, we crammed into a sold-out room at the Quadrant.

The audience covered a wide range of ages, from 12 to 70, with many children present. I mention this to give context to the principal constraint on the gig.

Dan Fardell

First up was our genial and friendly MC, Dan Fardell. Looking like your favourite uncle, his warm and welcoming demeanour set the tone. Dan explained the nature of the show, the difficulty in getting comedians not to swear and the presence of ‘Swear Jar’ for those who transgressed.

Equally at home talking to adults or children, he set the scene for the afternoon, warmed up the audience with some gags and introduced our first act, Nik Coppin.

Nik Coppin

Nik has been doing comedy for some time and quickly told us he had just come from two kids’ shows, so he should be primed for this. Those of you that follow these comedy reviews will know that I have previously reviewed his excellent compilation show, Shaggers.

Nik is bold, loud, energetic and quick-witted. He gave us a potted history, touched on various subjects quickly and added some self-deprecating humour. Not all of the gags landed with everyone, such is the difficulty of a mixed audience, but there were more than enough hits to please the audience. His love of superheroes went down well with the younger members.

Then it was back to Dan, another couple of gags and on to the second act.

Steve Parry

International man of mystery. Steve is stuffed full of energy, has an overactive brain, and has a startling resemblance to many people. All of this proves to be a fertile ground for comedy material. For this audience, the hits included a clever rap song, whilst the Gordon Bennett story didn’t quite land. He’s interesting, funny and passionate about what he’s doing. So much so that I reviewed his full show, ‘Steve Parry: Last of the International Amateurs’. You can read the review here. Going to compilation shows can work out.

Then Dan was back with a couple more quick-fire gags, a slick mugging of Steve for £20 for a borderline swearing infraction, and then it was on to our third act of the afternoon.

Elaine Fellows

She is a young comedian with a confident and accomplished delivery and tells a good story. The worlds her jokes inhabit are well structured, her characterisations are charming and funny, and this material works for this audience. Having seen Elaine perform some time ago, it is a pleasure to see how far she has come as a comedian. She is one to watch.

Then it’s back to the lovely Dan for the final act of the afternoon, Michael Fabbri.

Michael Fabbri

Hugely experienced and an accomplished comic, Micheal opened with a belter that proved suitably disgusting for a younger audience. He went on to steal the money from the swear jar, told richly detailed anecdotes and used his elastic face to great effect. He managed to evoke both laughter and disgust. I suspect that cleaning up his act was a major achievement for Michael.

With that, all that remained was for Dan to wrap up the show for a delighted and appreciative audience.

Overall, I enjoyed the Clean Pick of the Fringe. I got to see five comedians at different stages of their careers; one I went to see on the same night, and there were four others I would like to see more of. The audience enjoyed it, and the kids got an excellent introduction to the joy of live comedy.

I have long argued that comedy is best suited to 70 to 100 people in a room above a pub. So, go and see a compilation show, and if you like any of the acts, go and see their full show. It’s great fun and often full of surprises.