John Lloyd – Liff of QI
Easily one of the talks of this year’s festival will be legendary comedy producer and behind-the-scenes man John Lloyd, finally stepping into the limelight with his stand-up debut. Lloyd’s one of the brains behind ‘Blackadder’, ‘QI’, ‘Spitting Image’, and oh so many more British comedy institutions from the past 30 years. Expect fascinating stories from his decades in the business, and plenty of quite interesting facts.
Tony Law – Nonsense Overdrive
If you’re a first time reader to the Time Out comedy pages, firstly: shame on you, and secondly: you’ll know we constantly bang on about this high-octane Canadian comic. Mr Tony’s currently speeding up the comedy ranks after receiving a nomination from the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2012, and we’d put money on him selling out huge venues in the years to come. Believe us when we say there’s no better way to start your day (we’ll stop rhyming now) than with a dose of midday lunacy from Tony Law.
James Acaster – Lawnmower
A fellow 2012 Foster’s Award nominee, Kettering-born stand-up and Radio 4 regular James Acaster is quickly becoming a reliably brilliant Fringe favourite. He’s an understated, slightly whimsical storytelling comic, looking at everyday scenarios with an offbeat slant. He just keeps getting better and better, and we’re sure ‘Lawnmower’ is going to be turf-rific.
Nick Helm – One Man Mega Myth
Another dose of high-octane hilarity from the unstoppable comedy force that is Nick Helm. This year, the gruff-voiced shambles is in a much bigger venue and is promising a show that’s totally epic. Expect ambitious, emotionally unstable songs, poems and general awesomeness. Every Nick Helm show is a cracker.
Adam Buxton – Kernel Panic
Adam Buxton – aka Dr Buckles, aka the ‘Adam’ half of ‘Adam and Joe’ – has been hosting the BFI’s hugely popular ‘Bug’ shows for years. But now he’s going properly solo in one of the festival’s biggest venues (albeit for just four nights). In the show, Buxton will be opening up his MacBook Pro, delving into intriguingly titled desktop folders and showing gloriously silly short films. Oh, and of course, he’ll be reading out the angry, badly-spelt YouTube comments viewers have left under his videos.
Claudia O’Doherty – Pioneer
This quirky Aussie was slowly gaining a loyal, cult following in Edinburgh for her quaint, geeky, lo-fi shows ‘Monster of the Deep 3D’ and ‘What is Soil Erosion?’. But at last year’s festival she hoisted up the comedy ranks after being nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for her super-inventive piece of ‘difficult theatre’ that goes wrong: ‘The Telescope’. This year, the buzz surrounding this delightfully offbeat comic is even bigger, thanks to the announcement that her new show, ‘Pioneer’, is being directed by bearded comedy god Daniel Kitson. Pretty big deal. All eyes on O’Doherty, then…
Simon Munnery – Fylm
Munnery is something of a Fringe veteran. He was nominated for the Perrier Award way back in 1999, and he’s consistently produced some of the most innovative shows in Edinburgh. For 2013, he’s following up last year’s hit ‘Fylm-Makker’ with ‘Fylm’. The master surrealist will be showcasing more tricks with his contraption that allows him to project live animations onto a screen on stage, while he’s sat in the audience. Confused? Just head to the Stand and all will become clear.
He officially returned to stand-up 18 months ago, but this year the godfather of alternative comedy (or ‘inventor’, as he would say) is finally bringing his first solo show in 17 years to the Fringe. He’s on top form too; the tight suit’s disappeared, but he’s still as energetic and ranty as ever. See a true comedy legend return to his roots.
Abandoman – Moonrock Boombox
Multi-award winning hip hop improv masters Abandoman have two Fringe runs under their belts already. But this year they’re ramping things up and mooving (sorry) to the massive purple cow, the Udderbelly, in the Bristo Square. We reckon ‘Moonrock Boombox’ is going to be the party show of the festival – the duo are performing with a full live band and using the history of hip hop as the basis for their astonishingly impressive improvised raps. Yeah, boi!
Sean Hughes – Penguins
Former ‘Buzzcocks’ team captain and ‘Sean’s Show’ star had a triumphant festival last year, performing two shows: one rock-solid hour of top-notch stand-up, and a more theatrical, touching, storytelling show about the ridiculousness of life and death. This year’s offering, ‘Penguins’, is set to be somewhere in between; moving yet uplifting. He’s a bona fide Fringe favourite, and a master stand-up.
The hot new talents and transatlantic visitors are all very well, but, ultimately, the Fringe is about just having a good laugh, eh? Step forward the recognisable faces and festival favourites. We’ve whacked these two groups together, highlighting the best of the big-name acts – including Adam Buxton and Alexei Sayle – and reliable regulars – like Tony Law and Nick Helm – into one easily-manageable top ten. Start scrolling…