Thursday 27 August 2009

Och aye the giggles.

First of all, I have awesome news! Remember how back in June I was whining about having to revise for a tedious exam and also posting a lot by way of procrastination? Well.... I passed! (Kind of set that up at the beginning of the paragraph) This is kind of a big deal because it was my third shot at the module so I was really really sick of it, and also because it means I NEVER HAVE TO DO AN EXAM AGAIN. Hells yeah.

I just got back from the Edinburgh fringe festival, which was incredible. Edinburgh is super pretty.

Whenever I tell people I'm off to edfest, they often assume that I'm going to camp and see bands and get muddy and gross. This is not what Edinburgh festival is about at ALL, which you probably know. But in case you don't, it's not.

The Fringe lasts for the month of August, and is a showcase of theatre, music and comedy in Edinburgh. Venues, pubs, church halls, random social clubs and fudge shops all over the city let performers through their doors to, um, perform. You can see all sorts, but it's really all about the comedy. Every comedian of note is in Edinburgh during August. Last year I bumped into David Cross from Arrested Development and Kristen Schaal from Flight of the Conchords. This year, Rhys Darby from Conchords was doing a show up there too. It's where pretty much every comedian - at least in the UK - got their break. The Mighty Boosh started up there, for instance. Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr, Simon Amstell, the cast of Mock the Week... they've all done or are doing shows.

My friends and I normally go for a long weekend and try to cram in as much as possible. Normally we make it there over the last weekend, because it ties in nicely with the bank holiday, but this year we went on the second-to-last weekend. Which means I am hurrying to get this blog post up this week (seriously, I have half-written posts from June that I need to get up at some point) so I can recommend things in the hope that maybe someone going this weekend will see this and go to them!The Hotel (The Assembly Rooms, £13)
This wins the prize for the weirdest thing I saw this year, but also the most memorable. My mind is constantly returning to it because it was so damn
interesting. Directed by Mark Watson, it's part art installation, part performance art, part comedy theatre thing. You meet outside the Assembly Rooms (tickets in hand) and are led round the corner to a small hotel. It's staffed by a team of actors and stand-ups, including Dan Atkinson, Lloyd Langford and The Penny Dreadfuls. Apparently Tom Basden, Tim Key and Mark Watson himself have also been amongst the staff during the run. And then you're let loose to explore, if you're not dragged into the restaurant and away from your friends as soon as you enter (this happened to me = was terrifying. But ultimately, hilarious). I don't want to give any more away, but it was incredible - if you get a chance to go, go. It might take you out of your comfort zone, but trust me, you'll remember it.

Jon Richardson - This Guy At Night (Pleasance Courtyard, £12)
He's just been nominated for an Eddy! And he's hilarious. And generally a rubbish human being, which in comedy, is always the best kind. If you've never heard of him, you should listen to his 6Music weekend show, and then you'll be all like, 'I want to see this guy do standup!' This is ALL TRUE.

Richard Herring - Hitler Moustache (Underbelly, £10.50)

Herring grew a toothbrush moustache as a stunt for his show. Yeah, it was a stunt, even though he called it research. But interesting, because he talked about the reactions to it and how he was trying to reclaim it in the name of comedy. Because comedy did it first - hi, Charlie Chaplin - before evil took over. Yep, Adolf, that's you. It was very funny, but also very well researched and well done. He talked a lot about racism and perceptions and also had a long rant about how the BNP got voted in by the backdoor in the recent European elections. Made ya think. Anyway, I recommend. I'm sure he'll tour it.

Daniel Kitson - We Are Gathered Here (The Stand, £10)
Kitson is often regarded as one of the world's best stand-ups. I've only seen him twice, and he's fascinating because he's so different. He's got a stammer, he shuns TV (he was in Phoenix Nights, which was apparently such an awful experience that he swore off it forevermore) and he thinks nothing of calling out an audience member for being overly drunk or having an annoying laugh. Anyway, his show this year was all about death, but really it was all about him, and his life, and it was funny. Just go and see him, if you ever get a chance, promise me that? He's brilliant. Plus, he has a beard.

I wish I'd seen...
Fordy's Lock-in
Because I love the indestructible team of Matt Forde and Jon Richardson. Who is not always there, but I think mostly is.
The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church by Daniel Kitson
Because 66a Church Road was amazing, and so is Daniel Kitson.
Mark Watson's 24 Hour Show
24 hours, people! Apparently he got Simon Amstell onstage to tell showbiz gossip, but it was too scandalous to repeat. Lame! But amazing.

If you are going to Edinburgh this weekend, firstly, I hate you. And secondly, have fun! And thirdly, you should go to some or all of the shows I recommend. If there are tickets available, because hype is a bitch.

Have a good bank holiday everyone!

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