Comedy is one of the most recognised genres of the Fringe, with hundreds if not thousands of comedy acts happening across Edinburgh. It always surprises me just how much new material can be created and how many laughs can fit into purely the month of August.
A close friend asked me the other day if I would do stand up comedy if I had the chance and even though I would love to say ‘of course’, I think it takes a very special kind of person to stand up on stage, be entirely vulnerable and connect with an audience to such a degree that they feel comfortable rather than uncomfortable. The writing skill and organic ability to recite and convey an excitable, often charged emotion through words is commendable and I almost envy how easy it looks.
But then of course, with the Fringe you get to experience when it goes completely wrong as well as very right. There’s the shows you go to with only five people in attendance or those where the material is really rather awkward; I always think its one of the joys of the Fringe… you just don’t know what you’re going to walk into and I think this blog post is a perfect example of that.
The first show was a week last Tuesday (2 for 1 tickets on a Tuesday!) in the Underbelly in Bristo Square and it was to see the infamous Australian comic, Rhys Nicholson. I must admit, like Nicholson says in their set, that I was dragged along to his show by a fan and I had in fact never heard of them. But I am so glad I went! This enigmatic, funny personality fills the stage and unlike a lot of comics at the Fringe, you are getting a seasoned professional who performs at the highest of levels.
To that degree, its not a surprise their shows have received a load of 5 star reviews and epic recommendations – they are worth every late night drink when you have work the next day.
Rhys has the capability to engage with the audience without poking fun out of them unnecessarily and never lowers the tone to a point of it being uncomfortable. It is a conversation with a friend who has a lot of fun and bizarre things to say.
Even though Rhys may not be from Scotland, or the United Kingdom for that matter, Rhys’ commentary on social issues and life is still as relevant here as it is in their hometown and the amount of laughter that filled a sold out, small lecture theatre on one of the hottest days of the year, was to show for that. Also props to you Rhys for wearing a full suit under the glaring bright light. If anything, that was just as impressive as the show.
I would recommend Rhys 10 times over although a lot of their shows are sold out, if you want to have a look for tickets, they do have some availability left. It is not a show to miss!
Next up on my comedy list was Dan Cook’s ‘Loud Bit, Quiet Bit, Loud Bit, Quiet Bit’ which was a random show we decided to go and see the week after Rhys’ show which also happened to be in another one of the Underbelly’s venues. Now this was an experience, not necessarily because Dan’s comedy was bad, because it wasn’t but we unfortunately went on a night where there were probably 20 of us in a room and 4 of them consisted of hecklers who either had never been to a comedy show before or were obnoxiously rude and felt they deserved to have an opinion on everything.
Dan’s show was high in energy and definitely leant more on the ‘loud’ aspect of the title of his show. He over pronounced every letter and engaged with the audience A LOT. In that sense I could see a direct contrast with Rhys’ show as the pressure of people butting their nose in definitely took affect.
I was impressed with Dan’s energy and the connection he made between stories however, for my personal experience it was made really difficult when Dan asked the hecklers to leave (and they didn’t) by staring them straight in the face. There were continuous snide comments that really lowered the tone of the whole show. And I don’t blame Dan for standing up for himself, in fact I’d hope anyone would protect the space they are performing in, but I do think it could have been done slightly differently where it wasn’t so much at the expense of everyone else.
Dan’s comedy reminded me of Joe Lycett; he used his whole body to reinforce the joke and his facial expressions were just as important as the words coming out of his mouth. I would implore you to give him a chance to make up your own mind, and Dan, if for some bizarre reason you’re reading this – I hope you know you’re worth a lot more than the ignorant fools that were sat next to me.
I’d love to know what you thought of Dan’s comedy if you’ve seen him before!
You can buy tickets to his show here.
The Fringe is still in full swing and I am hoping I can squeeze in a few more things before the month ends so be prepared for more Fringe content! I’m off to see Nish Kumar at the end of the month which I am ecstatic about – it was the first show I booked – and I am seeing a Fringe favourite tomorrow night (I’ll update you next week).
Have you been to the Fringe before? Would you want to if you haven’t? Let me know in the comments below!