Edinburgh – ow my sides hurt

September 23, 2008 at 9:03 am | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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The main reason I wanted to visit Edinburgh was for the fringe festival, mainly the comedy shows. So the night time was devoted to stand up, and the day was sight seeing. My lovely colleagues gave me a farewell present of a Falconry experience at Dalhousie Castle so I had that to look forward to. Let’s start with that…

Falconry: What an incredible experience. It was raining in the morning. Raining half and hour before the session, but then managed to clear up. Unfortunately we couldn’t actually take the Falcon’s out because they won’t fly in the rain. So just had to make do with the Owls and the Eagles! The words to sum up Falconry? Graceful, elegant, intelligent, beautiful and heavy!

Bill Bailey: Weaving music with stand up observational witty wordsmith. I felt that he has now moved more towards music than stand up. Not that I am complaining, as I believe that he is an incredible musician. If you’ve seen Black Books you’d know be aware of his musical skill. This was the first show I went to at the festival and felt it was a nice way to break in.

Russell Howard: One of the last shows I went to, and if you’ve read my blog you’re well aware of how much  I love his radio show with Jon Richardson. He has recently left the show with Jon Richardson now taking over. Back to his stand up. He delivers all stories with this school boy energy and charm that makes you like him despite the content (not that it wasn’t funny). My sister didn’t actually find him as funny, I think his humour perhaps wasn’t to his liking. But he was incredibly entertaining, and attracted a huge crowd.

Mark Watson: One of the only comedians that I had seen previously… on a number of occasions. I believe that he is one of the most intelligent comedians I have seen. Just the way he structures and presents his stories are interesting. One of the images he presented was a pigeon flying into the forehead of a man. Just conjuring up that image in my mind makes me laugh.

Michael McIntyre: The funniest comedian with the floppiest hair. If you ever watch him you’ll be mesmerised by his hair movement when he shakes his head about. But besides that, he is incredibly hilarious, lots of observational humour and delivered by a consummate professional.

Ed Byrne: One of my biggest fears about going to watch Ed Byrne was not being able to understand him. In actual fact he was perfectly understandable and just as funny as I expected. This was the first time I had seen Ed Byrne live after seeing him on TV back in the early 90s when he did a lot of comedy galas, one of his most famous pieces of material is about Alanis Morrisette and her lack of irony in he song Ironic.

Jason Byrne & Adam Hills: A midnight show, that was a huge surprise. I have seen Jason Byrne on many festival galas on TV and thought he was quite ordinary (probably because he only has a couple of minutes). He was an absolute laugh in this show. I felt that he upstaged Adam Hills. Far more natural and believable. It was pretty funny hearing Adam constantly asking “Excuse Me?” to Jason because he couldn’t quite understand him with his thick Irish accent.

Jon Richardson: After listening to his and Russell duel it out on a week to week basis it is great to put a face to a name. He is still quite new to the scene and it does show in comparison to the seasoned professionals, but he is getting better and does have some unique qualities, mainly his OCD.

Jimmy Carr: The king of the one liner. It isn’t for everyone, and my sister proved that. She didn’t really like a lot of his stuff, I think because a lot of it is quite in your face and as they are one liners, it’s hit after hit after hit. His show was quite long as well, so my cheeks were hurting quite a bit throughout the show.

Danny Bhoy: I’m afraid I am not sure whether I can see Danny Bhoy for a long time. He tours quite a bit, particularly in Australasia, but he recycles material. I have seen him I believe twice before, and left quite a big gap between last time and the festival and he is still throwing up some old material. I think it’s great to throw in some safe ones, but after a few years I would have thought that they wouldn’t be used. Ah well.

Henry Rollins: Also probably one of the biggest surprises of the festival for me. I had never seen him do ‘stand-up’ before … there’s debate over whether it’s stand-up or spoken word, so I had no expectations. I was a fan of Black Flag, he’s got tattooes, he’s rock and roll so he’s bound to be cool yeah? But he’s also quite funny, very passionate and delivers everything with conviction. He went overtime and was given the red light many many times and didn’t go off-stage. He was doing a limited run at the festival with the hope that next year he could perhaps do a full run. Given the popularity (there were people outside asking people to sell their tickets to them), I wouldn’t be surprised if he got it.

There’s far more to Edinburgh than the shows that I went to, but unfortunately I didn’t get to see as much as I liked, nor did I get to climb Arthur’s seat. Ah well, I am only a few hours away and will probably head back to the festival next year…

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