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Non-stop joke shops: all-day Edinburgh Fringe preview festivals

Ben Williams

Top London comics are performing for next-to-nothing (or nothing at all!) as they workshop their Edinburgh Fringe shows. Here are three all-day mini fests for a good, cheap, pre-Fringe binge.

Gits and Shiggles Comedy's Snappily Titled Free Daytime Mini Edinburgh Preview Festival

What is it? Clue’s in the title, isn’t it? Sunday afternoon comedy preview shows, back-to-back, from 1pm.

Who’s on? It’s mainly sketch comedy here. Max and Ivan are the biggest draws. The Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated duo’s latest Hollywood-style epic is set in a small town on the brink of the apocalypse. We also recommend catching trio Massive Dad. Their skits are chock-a-block with bold, daft jokes.

Where and when? Proud Archivist in Haggerston, Sunday July 26, from 1pm to 7.30pm.

And how much? Free! Says so in the title, remember?

More info? See our Gits and Shiggles Preview Festival listing.

Liam Williams

Liam Williams

The Comedy Grotto – All-Day Edinburgh Preview Special

What’s this? Seven whole hours of work-in-progress shows from some top names. Plus, after the laugh-a-thon it all winds down with a disco (for those who have survived…).

Who can we see? You’re in for a treat. There are previews from surly thinker-comedian Liam Williams, the quizzically minded James Acaster, scatterbrained stand-up Lou Sanders and the ‘king of Edinburgh’ (who’s not actually going to the Fringe this year but is still putting together a new show) Richard Herring.

Tell me where. Star of Kings in King’s Cross, Saturday August 1, from 1pm.

And what’s the damage? £14 for the lot. That’s two quid per preview.

More info? See our Comedy Grotto All-Dayer listing.

Sofie Hagen

Sofie Hagen© Karla Howlett

Balham Free Fringe

What’s this one? An entire weekend of comics workshopping their new shows – for free! 50 previews in three days. Each show is unticketed: just turn up and see as many as you like.

Who’s previewing? We rate the sharp-tongued David Mills and offbeat stand-up John-Luke Roberts on the Saturday. Our Sunday picks include upbeat pessimist Mark Stephenson and young gag-slinger Rory O’Keeffe. Plus, on the Friday night, we suggest you catch Danish comic Sofie Hagen and that sneaky stalwart Richard Herring.

Give me the details! Friday July 24 to Sunday July 26 across three rooms in The Bedford pub.

And it’s definitely free? Yep! But there’ll be collection buckets at the end of each show – just give what you can.

More info? See our Balham Free Fringe listing.

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