Wonderful news! The Comedy Cannon podcast, which I launched barely six months ago, has just hit the magic 100,000 downloads. It’s an amazing achievement. Being featured on the homepage of Apple iTunes on their podcasts section for the last six months has most definitely helped.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many guests who took time out of their busy schedules to be interviewed for the shows. The next big milestone? A million downloads? Do I dare to dream of such a ludicrous achievement!?
There are only a few days left to experience the best of what’s happening at the Edinburgh Fringe. Many of the shows recommended by mainstream media can end up disappointing, as it’s easy for pushy PR people to bully amoral, exhausted and apathetic journalists into publishing obsequious and inaccurate write-ups in quid pro quo arrangements tracing all the way back to public school. (“You scratch my back. And no one sees those pics of you playing – and losing! – the biscuit game.”)
As a result, some of the best shows at the festival end up ignored by critics. Which is a crying shame and it’s the public that is the poorer as a result. To try and redress that injustice a little, here’s my ten recommendations (in random order) for shows that are hidden gems worth seeking out while you still have the chance.
A proper underground hit at this year’s Fringe. You know a show is worth watching if lots of comedians and critics – yes, we do break bread together sometimes – sit around raving about how great it is. One review even went so far as to call it the best show at the Fringe. It’s basically a parody of those weekend morning chat-and-cookery programmes, hosted by a celebrity chef and featuring D-list guests, which slowly descends into farce. Comedian and actor Kevin Dewsbury convincingly plays the insincere host, with fellow comic Will Hutchby the increasingly put-upon and frustrated behind-the-scenes producer. It’s well-written, polished and perfectly performed. Click the link below. Buy tickets. Go see it. Thank me later.
There are plenty of big names gracing the Edinburgh Fringe right now, and there’ll be celebrity acts, to suit every taste, showing off their latest productions all over the city. However, every superstar started at the bottom of the ladder and had to work their way to success, demonstrating their superiority amongst their ternderfoot peers.
As well as the top of the food chain, there’s also a thriving creative community much further down the showbiz pecking order. Not all of them are dreadful, and there’s plenty of potential comedy nobility making its mark at the festival. Here, in order of decreasing handsomeness, are ten(-ish) brilliant new acts you should go and see at Edinburgh Fringe this month. …Continue Reading »
With Edinburgh Scotland’s most popular tourist destination, the locals are used to being outnumbered by sassenachs. Things get much worse at Fringe time, and it’s easy to forget there are plenty of homegrown comedians to enjoy too. Here’s my recommendations for ten brilliant acts who are all as Scottish as a highland terrier chewing shortbread on Loch Lomond, while a junkie shoots up, signs on, and stabs a guy in a kilt eating haggis, drinking Irn Bru and shouting “Och aye the nooooo.”
(Hat tip to Monty Burns for helping with this. In my opinion, he’s easily as good as anyone below. But he’s taking a break from Edinburgh this year; otherwise he’d be the first name on this list.)
One of the fastest-rising stars in Scottish comedy, with a bulging trophy cabinet. While the show title seems like a supercilious choice, I’m reasonably confident it wasn’t her decision, but rather something imposed upon her by the company who organise the awards. She’s the first female act to grab that particular prize, but if you’ve seen her live, you’ll know she’s no beneficiary of tokenism. This, her debut show, is a candid retelling of her life so far, from online dating and political misunderstandings to her eccentric family and rickety mental health. It’s strikingly honest and hilarious. …Continue Reading »