Guest Blog: Edinburgh and Its Part in My Downfall

Edi 2022 in Review (15-21st Aug) – Alec Snook

Well, my first Fringe, but absolutely the first of many to come. Edinburgh chewed me up and spat me out, directly into the lap of a passing angel…

Despite a sociopathic, accommodation-based episode, I managed to complete all my spots for the week, performing to several full rooms (and several more that were less-well attended!) and as importantly, still managed to see some brilliant new comedy acts/shows. Here is my own personal Fringe Awards:
(All winners are * * * * *)

Best Comp Show: 

Broke in Barcelona – Paradise Green, The Snug – 19:00

Perhaps a bit biased here as the show is themed around the city I currently call home! I think simply for the diversity of the nationality of acts and guest hosts, this one stands out for me. Headed up by John Allis (whose hour show ‘Motivational Sleeper’ is also making waves at the festival), the show features guest headliners who have been seen on national and international TV, and at festivals in Europe, the US and Australia. 

Other stand-out comps:The BiteFound Your FunnyBest of Stooges

Best Themed Comp Show
Anxiety vs Depression – City Cafe, Las Vegas Room, 22:30

Moni Zhang’s explosively hosted game show night, saw two teams of comics go head to head, with material based on vouching for either anxiety or depression being the most funny (of course, all the comedians and the entire audience seemingly viewed both neuroses with equal contempt, but held each and every set with the comic fervour it deserved!) The host, too, was brilliant in her dark and earnest humour. 

Best NewcomerEfdé Efdé

These are two alternative comedy brothers from The Netherlands who performed an impeccably awkward 5-minute set of sweaty, faux-bungling non-com, garnering laughs in all the right places and fans for all the right reasons.

Best Ad Hoc Show Based on a Difficult Audience Member
Hector Ayala & Andy Casper – Brexico – Paradise Green, The Snug, 23:20Katharyn Henson & Ollie Horn – Pure Filth – Bar 50, The Alcove, 16:45

This one is fittingly a split-win between two split hours. I was treated to what I know to be two comPLETELY different shows to the intended versions when, in the case of Brexico, a drunken punter tried to interject in every punchline – and with regard to Pure Filth, when an unidentified attendee claimed to have met and even SLEPT WITH one of the comics! I genuinely relish being privy to a bona fide one-off, unrepeatable performance. Being able to watch the comics flex their improv muscles in real-time and react so naturally to strange events/comments in the room is a real thrill. Sometimes a laugh comes from being part of something special and ultimately unique.

Best Work-in-progress

Photo by Alec

Burt Williamson – As Yet Untitled – Canon’s Gait, 17:15
Hailing from Bristol, Mr. Williamson also dealt expertly with some initial unexpected crowd interjections, going on to regale us with thoughts on pigeons, ‘regional’ accents and the correct amount of tumescence for a first date. Particular highlight: the ‘Ant’ bit.

Best Storyteller

Aidan Jones – Looking For Work – City Cafe, Las Vegas Room, 15:00
Hailing from Australia and at the age of 31 already on his 8th Edinburgh Fringe, Aidan Jones provided wall-to-wall laughs from start to finish, all effortlessly delivered in tales of woe (and ecstasy!), told via genuine events and real-life episodes. Absorbing, cleverly written, incessantly funny story telling. The hour flys by.

Floating in and out of top spot:
* Mike Rice – The Best Man in Ireland – Waverley Bar, 20:45
* Chris Davis – Down and Out in Glasgow and Berlin – The Vault, 21:00
* Stuart Kennedy – Shitegeist – Paradise Green, The Snug, 20:20

Best Tear-jerker

Rob Auton – The Crowd Show – Assembly George Square, The Blue Room, 14:50

I had been waiting a long time to see Rob Auton. His mix of relatable, sardonic observations; skewed social commentary; and brilliant word play, ticks all the boxes for me. It included non-uncomfortable crowd interactions that everyone was more than happy to be a part of. Belly laughs all the way through, culminating in a point of such poignancy that, come the end, there were almost certainly more wet faces in the room than dry.

Best Overall Show

Photo by Alec (Alec with Christopher)

Christopher Bliss – Captain Words Eye – Pleasance Courtyard, Beneath, 18:40

It’s extremely difficult to put into words exactly what I thought of this show. I had again been waiting patiently for many years for the opportunity to see Christopher Bliss live. I had honestly told myself that I could not possibly enjoy this as much as I’d built it up in my head…on the contrary, it by far surpassed all of my expectations. 
The narrative and direction of the show actually created boxes to tick that I didn’t even know existed! This is the most brilliantly conceived, well-rounded, flawlessly performed comedy character that I have ever seen live.

Most Recommended (that I tried, but failed, to see)    

* Mark Silcox – I Can Cure – Monkey Barrel, The Studio, 17:45    * Josh Glanc – Vroom Vroom – Monkey Barrel, The Hive, 16:45    * Terence Hartnett – 1 Ball Show – Just The Tonic, The Mash House, 15:45
Alec Snook is a Belgium-born, Bristol boy, based in Barcelona. He has performed stand-up and sketch comedy at The Glasgow, Edinburgh and Barcelona comedy festivals; across the UK and Europe; and at the legendary Pikes Hotel in Ibiza!

Instagram: @alec.snookcomedy