Edinburgh Fringe comedy highlights 2013: top ten big names and festival favourites

Our pick of the TV regulars and reliable Fringe favourites at the world’s biggest arts festival

1/10

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.

See John Lloyd in Edinburgh at Underbelly, Bristo Square, Jul 31-Aug 24 (not Aug 13), 4.40pm

2/10

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.

See Tony Law in Edinburgh at The Stand Comedy Club, Aug 1-26 (not Aug 12), 12.40pm

See Tony Law's viking quiz

See our interview with Tony Law

3/10

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.

See James Acaster in Edinburgh at Pleasance Courtyard, Jul 31-Aug 25, 7pm

See James Acaster's 2013 goals for 2013

4/10

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.

See Nick Helm in Edinburgh at Pleasance Courtyard, Jul 31-Aug 26 (not Aug 7 or 14), 4pm

See our interview with Nick Helm

5/10

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.

See Adam Buxton in Edinburgh at Assembly Hall, Aug 2-Aug 5, 10.30pm

See our interview with Adam Buxton

6/10

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…

See Claudia O'Doherty in Edinburgh at Pleasance Courtyard, Jul 31-Aug 26 (not Aug 12), 9.50pm

See our 'One to watch' on Claudia O'Doherty

7/10

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.

See Simon Munnery in Edinburgh at The Stand Comedy Club, Aug 1-Aug 26 (not Aug 12), 3.40pm

8/10

Alexei Sayle

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.

See Alexei Sayle in Edinburgh at The Stand Comedy Club III & IV, Aug 13-Aug 25 (not Aug 19), 6pm

See our interview with Alexei Sayle

9/10
© Idil Sukan

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!

See Abandoman in Edinburgh at Underbelly, Bristo Square, Jul 31-Aug 26 (not Aug 12 or 19), 8.45pm

10/10

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.

See Sean Hughes in Edinburgh at Gilded Balloon Teviot, Jul 31-Aug 25, 7.30pm

 


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…

More Edinburgh Fringe recommendations

See more Edinburgh Fringe recommendations

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Caravan Comedy
Caravan Comedy

MARKUS BIRDMAN – HAPPILY EVER AFTER 5 star reviews in first week . Award winning comedian Markus Birdman brings his hilarious sixth solo show to The Stand Comedy Club for the Edinburgh Fringe. TIME OUT - TOP TEN COMEDIANS 2013 Inline image 1 Last year I talked about the stroke I had. It was very therapeutic for me, and many people agreed it made for a very thought provoking, moving and yet joyful show. “By the close of this hugely enjoyable, sharply structured hour I was feeling glad to be alive – vowing to grab life by the balls and determined to live long enough to see Birdman again next year.” SCOTSMAN This year I’m talking about the split with my partner of fourteen years. I hope it will be equally therapeutic for me, and as thought provoking, moving and joyful for audiences as last year’s show, Love, Life & Death was. I hope so. I could do with a laugh. “Birdman packs his show with more affection, positivity and healthiness than you're ever likely to find in any pharmacy. It's thought provoking, endearing and it tackles some difficult subjects head on. Genuine loveliness, that is hard to explain and even harder to capture. Fortunately for us, Birdman has captured this superbly. Funnily positive and positively funny.” SKINNY Things you might not know about Markus. 1. Last year’s show, received seven reviews. That’s SEVEN! (Scotsman, Chortle, Skinny, Fringe Guru, Fringe Biscuit, Broadway Baby, New Zealand Theatre Review) 2. He once did warm up for Jimmy Saville (not in that sense, on a TV show!) 3. He was the drummer in a band that did a PEPSI ad. 4. He’s had a stroke, a hole in his heart and is partially sighted. (which practically makes him a blues musician) 5. He has a sinking feeling that 3 and 4 might be connected. Markus Birdman is one of the leading comics on the UK and international live circuits. He regularly headlines The Comedy Store and has performed sell out solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Comedy Festival and New Zealand Comedy Festival. He has delighted audiences from China to Mumbai, and from Singapore to Sweden. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio Scotland & Wales and on BBC and ITV television shows in the UK as well as regular appearances on Paramount/Comedy Central and Live at the Comedy Store. He has filmed comedy specials for Scandinavian TV (Kanal 5), and another in The Netherlands (Vara TV), which is now available on Netflix. He’s even baked a pie on Good Morning New Zealand! (which is very nearly a comedy channel!) SHOW DETAILS: Venue: The Stand 2, 16 North St Andrew Street Time: 21.30 (55mins) Dates: 2-25 Aug (12-no show) Tickets: £7/ 8 11th June 2013 - PRESS RELEASE MARKUS BIRDMAN – HAPPILY EVER AFTER Award winning comedian Markus Birdman brings his hilarious sixth solo show to The Stand Comedy Club for the Edinburgh Fringe. TIME OUT - TOP TEN COMEDIANS 2013 Last year I talked about the stroke I had. It was very therapeutic for me, and many people agreed it made for a very thought provoking, moving and yet joyful show. “By the close of this hugely enjoyable, sharply structured hour I was feeling glad to be alive – vowing to grab life by the balls and determined to live long enough to see Birdman again next year.” SCOTSMAN This year I’m talking about the split with my partner of fourteen years. I hope it will be equally therapeutic for me, and as thought provoking, moving and joyful for audiences as last year’s show, Love, Life & Death was. I hope so. I could do with a laugh. “Birdman packs his show with more affection, positivity and healthiness than you're ever likely to find in any pharmacy. It's thought provoking, endearing and it tackles some difficult subjects head on. Genuine loveliness, that is hard to explain and even harder to capture. Fortunately for us, Birdman has captured this superbly. Funnily positive and positively funny.” SKINNY Things you might not know about Markus. 1. Last year’s show, received seven reviews. That’s bloody SEVEN! (Scotsman, Chortle, Skinny, Fringe Guru, Fringe Biscuit, Broadway Baby, New Zealand Theatre Review) 2. He once did warm up for Jimmy Saville (not in that sense, on a TV show!) 3. He was the drummer in a band that did a PEPSI ad. 4. He’s had a stroke, a hole in his heart and is partially sighted. (which practically makes him a blues musician) 5. He has a sinking feeling that 3 and 4 might be connected. Markus Birdman is one of the leading comics on the UK and international live circuits. He regularly headlines The Comedy Store and has performed sell out solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne Comedy Festival and New Zealand Comedy Festival. He has delighted audiences from China to Mumbai, and from Singapore to Sweden. He has appeared on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio Scotland & Wales and on BBC and ITV television shows in the UK as well as regular appearances on Paramount/Comedy Central and Live at the Comedy Store. He has filmed comedy specials for Scandinavian TV (Kanal 5), and another in The Netherlands (Vara TV), which is now available on Netflix. He’s even baked a pie on Good Morning New Zealand! (which is very nearly a comedy channel!) SHOW DETAILS: Venue: The Stand 2, 16 North St Andrew Street Time: 21.30 (55mins) Dates: 2-25 Aug (12-no show) Tickets: £7/ 8 https://www.edfringe.com/search#q=show_performer%3AMarkus%20Birdman&fq=dates%3A%5B2013-08-01T06%3A00%3A00Z%20TO%202013-09-05T06%3A00%3A00Z%5D LINKS TO LIVE SHOWS ONLINE http://youtu.be/42bIuY4o-OQ http://www.theworldstandsup.com/Comics-A-Z/Birdman.aspx http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_8De_J87DQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce6R-HCNsAo REVIEW Ex-pert Comedy Broadway Baby Rating: We gave this show 5 stars Only Markus Birdman can talk about the most taboo of topics and get away with it. His brand of comedy is a unique blend of witty and risqué material delivered in a reflective prose-style manner. Last year Birdman suffered a stroke and wrote a show about it. This year he recounts the end of a relationship that had lasted fourteen years. Throughout the hour he candidly recounts good and bad times during this relationship as well as other significant events from his life. As the title suggests, even though the inspiration for the show comes from unfortunate circumstances, just like the stroke, it all ends well. The show is far from bleak; in fact it has the reverse effect. Be it somber or controversial, Birdman knows how to inject humour into any topic whatsoever. You can expect swearing and definitely some inappropriate, audacious subject matter at hisshow, however Birdman does it in a way that never offends, something I think is a rare skill. Things that would cause most to blush or shy away, he just discusses matter-of-factly without blinking an eye. Birdman’s greatest strength is his gift of the gab and extraordinary way with words. He is a gifted and eloquent storyteller, conveying his material so naturally and with confidence – nothing comes across forced or rehearsed, yet his set is extremely polished. The anecdotes he shares are all superbly written with impeccable comedic timing and well-structured story arcs. His relaxed and conversational style also means he comes across very genuine and relatable. Markus Birdman bears the hallmark of a great comedian because put simply, he knows how to make an audience fall about with laughter. His show packs a comedic punch, is wildly entertaining but also unexpectedly incredibly uplifting. Reviewer: Faith-Ashleigh Wong Faith-Ashleigh Wong has written 10 reviews for Broadway Baby since joining the team in 2013. VENUE LOCATION Contact JJ Kane for opportunities