Your Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show will differ from mine as it is different every day. Let me tell you the format, why it works and then about the comedians I saw.
Four comedians are curated by talent spotters from this year’s Fringe to come and give you a 10-minute sampler of their material. The fifth is the host, a comedian, and someone you can also go and see.
In my experience, the event is usually a sell-out; regular Fringe-goers know the show is good value and an excellent way to make a choice. The risk of the most well-known comedians being sold out is there, but that’s weighed against the chances of finding the new talent you hadn’t heard of before.
The gig is in the Cabaret Bar, one of my favourite venues, even when it’s packed to the roof. Even better, this year there’s a big air conditioning machine that’s silent and effective.
Markus was our host for the night. Like some comedians, he talked to the audience, got a bit of banter, and learned names. Like all the comedians in this gig, he didn’t poke fun and wasn’t mean, and I hope that’s your experience too.
Brilliant throughout, chatty, social and pitched perfectly to warm the crowd up and giveaway to the next act.
Birdman wasn’t on my radar before but is now. I note that Marcus is also a stroke survivor, so here’s a link to Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland. That won’t be the charity that helped him, but it is an Edinburgh one.
Markus is at the Banshee Labyrinth this year.
I thought I’d been queue jumped by a rough-looking drinker from the Pleasance Courtyard while I waited to get into the show, and I hadn’t been; the person moving to the front to ask a question of the staff in attendance hadn’t been drinking. He just needed to speak to staff.
Actually, it was Eddy Brimson who was the first comedian that Markus introduced. He immediately opened by apologising “for his face” and how he looked. I felt guilty but also relieved at the same time. We shouldn’t judge.
While Brimson swears plenty, I thought he tackled some cultural issues wisely and with humour. At the heart of one is the importance of self-expression and identity, but how that might also clash against changes society might need to make.
It’s not a surprise to discover that Eddy’s act is 18-rated. He’s at the Beehive this year.
Michelle’s set is funny but absolutely put me in mind of Tortoise’s excellent Queen of comedy article about just how terrible the misogyny is in the industry.
The 10 minutes from this talented Canadian were hilarious and very personal, warming me to Michelle immensely.
I always try and see a diverse range of acts; Shaugnessy reminded me why that’s a good idea.
Also, I think it’s perfectly fine and wise for couples to have location sharing on their phones. Sure, ti’s not for everyone but apps like Zenly are up-and-coming social/mobile networks for a reason. They’re helpful!
Michelle has a high profile gig at Underbelly’s Bistro Square.
Hey, I know you! I don’t watch much TV, but I recognised Ian Stone. Don’t ask me from where; TV is generally a background buzz for me, but seeing an unexpected TV comedian was still a thrill.
If we spot a trend, Ian also explored the evolution of society and how things have changed. He did so with great wit and careful steps.
One of the thoughts I had throughout all five shows, one which crystalised as Ian made the audience laugh, was the ‘threat of cancel culture. Now, I’m one of those people who’d be called ‘woke’ by a gammon, and I bloody well won’t go see a comedian if they do something arsehole despite previously liking their entertainment in the past, so I guess that puts me in the cancel culture crowd too.
Why did Stone make me think all this? It was the careful writing and navigation of topics of weight through light and safe channels. It was an art.
Ian’s gig is rated 16+ and is at the Counting House this year.
The surprise act of the night for me was Chris Turner. He looked (and therefore probably is) so young when he stepped out on stage.
Maybe Turner is young, but he’s evidently squeezed a lot into his life and developed some impressive wisdom.
Even more impressive – and I kid you not – is his ability to take improv prompts and turn them into a rap. It was, well, an experience you have to experience to get fully!
I do like a bit of music in my comedy, and comedy in my music, so a trip to the Pleasance Dome is a possibility.
Grab them if you can still get tickets to the Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show. I suspect you’ll like all the acts, even if you have a clear winner (and I did not). It’s a great way to sample the festival in a short time.
Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show