I wasn’t going to do this post this year, seeing as I’ve posted before about things to do in Edinburgh during the Fringe and really, who wants to listen to some eejit a few thousand miles west of Dingle who won’t be getting anywhere near Scotland this summer?
And then I saw an acquaintance asking about one of my favorite comedians, and I realized that I couldn’t let the Fringe pass without putting in my two cents on what to see (and where to eat!) if you’re going to Edinburgh in August– giving helpful and informative recommendations for travel is one of my favorite things, so how could I resist??
If you’ve ever been to Edinburgh in August, you know the drill- there’s a million shows on every single day, all of them are touted to be “genius” and “laugh-out-loud funny”, and it can be hard to sift the wheat from the chaff. Only have a few days and don’t want to waste a minute? Here’s my top recommendations for comedians that have been excellent any time I’ve seen them before- don’t forget to check the dates!
Comedians I have seen and would book first:
Only on for 12 nights, from July 31st through August 11th, but definitely worth going if you’re in town- consistently funny, charming, and as an added bonus proceeds from these shows go to charity. What are you waiting for?
If you didn’t already have DO’D on your list, shame on you. Professional bringer of whimsy, and consistently excellent. Go.
Matthew’s one of my favorite people, and a great comedian to boot. Plus it’s free- why wouldn’t you?
I love, love, love Josie Long. She’s funny, she’s clever, and you’ll fall in love too. I promise. If you don’t you have no soul. Never miss an opportunity to see this one.
I distinctly recall laughing so hard my stomach hurt at more than one of his shows. I thought he wasn’t doing Edinburgh any more, and am delighted to see I was wrong. The only problem is that I can’t go…. But you (yes, YOU) can go instead.
The man went to China, learned enough Mandarin to perform a set in Chinese, and lived to tell the tale. The least you can do is go laugh at his jokes. Seriously though, he’s well known for being great at observational comedy about cultures he’s immersed himself in- I’d love to hear his take on living in China. And don’t worry, it’s in English…!
I booked a ticket for one of Nick Helm’s shows a couple of years ago on a whim, and it turned out to be one of my favorite shows that festival- extremely funny. He’s only in Edinburgh for 2 nights, so book early- he’s bound to sell out.
When I saw his “The Search for Happiness” show in 2011, I mentally filed him in the same group as DO’D and Josie Long- comedians who are consistently funny, self-deprecating and absolutely charming. Don’t miss.
I was first introduced to Conor O’Toole’s comedy through a show he did about fonts, which was both amusing and educational. That should tell you a lot (about whom, I’m not sure…).
Consistently clever, consistently funny. Go.
I haven’t seen an audience yet that can resist Damian’s energy and infectious goodwill. His jokes aren’t half bad either. 😉
The words “madcap” and “unpredictable” are so overused in Edinburgh promotional materials as to be almost meaningless, but they do actually apply here. Fun, fun, fun.
If you have time after that list, the tried-and-true guaranteed laughs:
If, after you’ve booked the above shows, you have time in your schedule and are looking for some reliable, consistently funny comedians, you could do much worse than booking shows by Jimeoin, Andrew Maxwell, Glenn Wool, Mark Watson, The Nualas, Axis of Awesome, Tom Stade, Stephen K. Amos, Hamell on Trial, Shappi Khorsandi, and Robin Ince and Michael Legge (who are also doing individual shows, I believe).
People I would take the chance on:
Chris Coltrane – There’s No Heroes Left Except All of Us – I always like to add a little political comedy to spice things up
Mark Cooper-Jones – Geography Teacher – because I’m a map addict and I’d be curious to see how someone could do a show around geography/teaching
Joey Page – This is Not a Circus – I’ve only seen Page once, but I would bet on his show being worth investing the ticket price.
In the “other” category, I’d go see “Austentatious: An improvised Jane Austen Novel“. Given the many theatre shows on at the Fringe, it’d be a shame not to attend at least one- and I’d be interested to see an improvisation of a Jane Austen novel. Also keep an eye out in case Scottish drums and pipe band Clanadonia are playing in Hunter Square- it’s great fun to see them perform, if they are at Edinburgh this year.
Also be sure to check out the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is also on during the month of August- even just to hang out, have coffee and soak up the atmosphere. There are some pretty impressive authors there, too. Wonderful.
I always liked to fit in proper touristy things while in Edinburgh too, and I’ve made some suggestions in this post from a while ago. Don’t miss eating at Gordon’s Trattoria on the Royal Mile, if you can get in (it gets busy, but it’s totally worth it- delicious food, fantastic atmosphere and excellent service), and the Well Hung and Tender stand in the food court outside next to the Gilded Balloon venues is a good deal (and does free refills on coffee if you use their mugs! Or, at least, they did…). If you have three hours to spare, I highly recommend the bus-and-boat tour to the Firth of Forth. Close-up views of the road and rail bridges, seals, etc…. Well worth it. And of course, I’m always updating my Edinburgh board on Pinterest (now with map option!).
Most importantly: have fun!!