Sara Shulman interviews the winners and nominees for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014.
Best Newcomer Nominees – How did you find out you were nominated?
Best Comedy Show Nominees – How did you find out you were nominated?
Phil Ellis: Funz and Gamez – Panel Prize
Alex Edelman: Millenial – Best Newcomer
Best Comedy Show
John Kearns: Shtick (Winner)
Alex Horne: Butterfly
James Acaster: Recognise
Liam Williams: Capitalism
Romesh Ranganathan: Rom Wasn’t Built in a Day
Sam Simmons: Death of a Sails-Man
Sara Pascoe: Sara Pascoe vs History
Alex Edelman: Millenial (Winner)
Dane Baptiste: Citizen Dane
Gein’s Family Giftshop: Volume I
Lucy Beaumont: We Can Twerk It Out
Steen Raskopolous: I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business
John Hastings is an award-winning stand-up comedian. Having started performing stand-up comedy in 2006, Hastings has since performed all over his native country Canada and around the world. In 2010, Hastings won the Best Newcomer Award at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy award in the category of Best Newcomer and was named on of the five ‘comedians to watch’ by the Canadian Comedy Network. Hastings was the youngest featured performer at the 2011 Winnipeg Comedy Festival and in the United States, Hastings was the youngest and only Canadian finalist of the 2011 San Francisco International Comedy Festival.
Hastings’ stand-up comedy special was chosen to be the last special to be shown on the 15 series run of Canda’s only stand-up comedy showcase seriesComedy Now. The Canadian Organisation of Campus Activities voted John as the ‘Comedian of the Year in 2012′. That same year, Hastings moved to the UK in July and currently performs all around the UK, entertaining audiences with his sharp punchlines delivered through his observational storytelling style. Hastings was featured in The Comedy Reserve at Pleasance at the Edinburgh Festival in 2013 and is set to perform his new show ‘Adventure’ at the Edinburgh Festival this year.
“A strong calling card from a thoughtful and observant comic with enjoyably wry sensibilities…we’re in the hands of an appealing consummate pro.”
“He was fast, polished and had an original slant. We will hear more of him.”
John Hastings: Adventure at Edinburgh Festival
Eric Lampaert and Jack de Havas’ podcast ‘Coffee Ramblings’ featuring Kyle Simmons (Bastille) and Sara Shulman (Comedy Blogedy).
Eric Lampaert is a comedian and actor that has appeared on BBC2, BBC3, Ch4, Ch5, E4, ITV2, HBO including shows such as Life’s Too Short, Cardinal Burns and The Midnight Beast. Eric is also in Dizzee Rascal’s music video ‘Bassline Junkie’ and Scouting For Girls’ ‘Love How It Hurts’ respective music videos as well as Sky’s advert with Bruce Willis. Eric studied at École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris & Middlesex University in London.
Eric also won the Latitude Comedy Competition (2010), the Laughing Horse Big Comedy Competition (2008), was a Raindance Short Film Nominee 2011 and named a T4 Rising Star of 2012.
In 2013, Eric performed at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, where his set recorded for TV went out on Comedy Central UK last month. 2014 sees him performing at Latitude Festival, an appearance on Alex Zane’s ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ for London Live a large role in the new The Lennox Brothers film ‘AM✮DAM’, out this Autumn and Eric is currently filming a new feature, ‘Moonwalkers’.
“★★★★ He makes it look so easy. This is a man with very funny bones” – DAILY EXPRESS
“★★★★ Likeable and enjoying, sweeping up the audience in the sheer energy of his performance. The strength of his scatty character rips through the room like a mini-hurricane” – CHORTLE
“★★★★ Delightfully Weird” – TIME OUT
“Uniquely talented stand up and expert improviser” - GQ
“Quirky, with an eye for the absurd and a couple of near-Izzardian flourishes… energy is such that it’s almost osmotic” – THE STAGE
Testiculating (Waving Your Arms Talking Bollocks)
Venue: Laughing Horse at The Counting House
Time: 7.45pm Dates: 1st – 23rd August inclusive
Comedian’s Cinema Club
Venue: Just the Tonic at the Tron
Time: 3.40pm Dates: 31 July – 23rd August (except 12th)
Stand-up is already an unusual art-form, but one of the most unusual things about it is that you start in the most difficult environments.
Nothing else is like that.
If you were teaching someone to ski, you’d pop him or her on the bunny slopes until they figured out how to turn, or decelerate, or at least angle their skis in a way that doesn’t make them look like a six-year-old snowplowing down a hill.
In standup – especially in New York, and Boston, where I incubated – you start in the roughest rooms, in front of impatient audiences that are persnickety, drunk, and generally unforgiving. The lighting is rarely focused on you, so you get to see the frowns on every disapproving face as you disappoint them. You’re not gently introduced by the experiences; you’re forged by them. In stand-up, when you’re starting, there are no bunny slopes. There are only black runs.
But that environment produces comedians that are, in a way, unbreakable. When you’ve done three short minutes in front of a scattering of people at a Chinese restaurant, or spent ten agonizing moments sitting in utter, careless silence created by an audience solely comprised of other acts waiting for their turn to spend some time in silence, there isn’t a whole ton that fazes you.
Still though. I’ve been doing comedy solidly for about seven-eight years now; I’ve never heard a first-time-onstage story with a collection of circumstances more unfortunate and pathetic than mine. Count the cringe-inducing things, if you can bear it. You’ll need more than two hands:
My first set took place not at a comedy club, or a bar, or a University talent show or something, but at a pizzeria called Roggies in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. It was a Tuesday night near a college campus during a winter break, so the college kids were gone home, for the most part. It was daylight outside, still when I roller-bladed to the gig. I was on pretty close to the end, but not so near to the end that there weren’t still four or five bands and singer-songwriters that were furious that a bona-fide child was onstage trying stand-up. Because the night was not a comedy night, it was a music open-mic, and when I showed up, the lady running it, a blonde named Chrissy who always hosted the mic and played songs with a Sheryl Crowish bent, looked me up and down and said, with justifiable concern, “you want to try stand-up comedy?”
“You look about twelve.” Yeah. It was 2005, and I was fifteen years old. The reason I was performing in a pizza joint was because, at that age, I wasn’t old enough to get into a bar, and I didn’t even consider a comedy club, because I was pretty convinced that there were only about ten comedians who played in them, and they were all famous like Bill Cosby. She was right, by the way, I did look about twelve. It was something I was sensitive about, and a source of real tension at home, where my parents were beginning to become worried that I wouldn’t grow. Out of desperation, they had begun urging me to take second and third helpings of food. I didn’t tell her any of this, obviously.
“I’m fifteen. My name is Alex.”
“OK, Alex. How much time do you want to do?”
I considered my material, which was about a page of scribbled notes I had put in the back of a Maths notebook. “Well, how much time do the musicians do?”
Chrissy told me they did about ten-to-fifteen minutes, and I nodded obliviously.
“Well, I guess I’ll do about that.”
About an hour later, she brought me onstage with—God, this is really a pathetic story—“we have someone here who wants to try stand-up comedy. Yeah. Well, I don’t know. Clap for him, his name is Alex.” I had been planning to do fifteen minutes on how I had recently seen U2 and they weren’t that good. The material lasted me more like three minutes, and about halfway through, I realized that U2 was actually great and maybe the best thing my fifteen-year-old mind had ever seen. The songwriters looked at me blankly, looked at each other blankly, looked at Chrissy blankly. There was a lot of blank in the room. I tried an ad-lib about looking like Macauley Culkin to no response. One of the waiters at the pizzeria walked directly in front of me holding a tray of soda.
I don’t remember what else I tried onstage, but the most vivid detail, the one that summarizes the set to me, is the only two audience members—a husband and wife who had shown up to support a trio of college students who were doing some original stuff mixed with Neutral Milk Hotel covers—looking at each other before one said, softly, but still loud enough for me to hear: “Are you understanding this at all? Because I’m not.” I think it was the wife, but I can’t be sure. In my occasional nightmares about that night, the voice would usually be my own, anyway.
I came offstage, flushed and ashamed, to sparse applause that managed to sound sympathetic, angry, confused, and relieved all at the same time. Chrissy went back on.
“That was Alex. Doing stand-up. Which doesn’t always work here.” I was close to tears, and readying my rollerblades for a hasty retreat. And then—and maybe she was just thinking out loud, but it felt like a lifeline—she said “perhaps he’ll get better and come back.”
Alex Edelman will be performing his debut stand-up show ‘Millenial’ at the Pleasance Courtyard from 30th July – 24th August at 20:15 (1hour). Tickets.
Joz Norris is a stand-up comedian, character comic, writer and actor based in London. He started working on the stand-up circuit in 2011 and has since become a critically lauded and well-respected figure on the alternative comedy, character and clowning circuits, as well as working prolifically in other media and collaborating frequently with some of the best alternative comics.
In 2011, he was one of the winners of the “Huge” competition to perform at the UK premiere of Ben Miller’s film Huge at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square. His first solo character show in 2012, Joz Norris Is Matt Fisher: Uberperson, was greeted with unanimous praise from critics, comics and audiences alike. 2013′s Joz Norris Has Gone Missing was his first full Fringe show and was similarly well-received, being chosen as one of Time Out’s Top Ten Free Shows and Laugh Out London’s Pick of the Free Fringe, as well as being Fringe Review’s Pick for its venue.
He is a frequent collaborator with other comics, being a part of the Chortle Award-nominated Weirdos Collective, with whom he had a part in their sellout performance of Hook in 2012, and he will also have a regular role in Weirdos’ new monthly project, Blueprint. He is also a frequent collaborator with several performers on the clowning circuit and had a regular guest role in the children’s clowning show Are You Serious? A Whimsical Stupid Circus at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe.
In other media, he is one half of the popular online What Not Comedy Podcast with Karl Schultz and is a prolific writer, performer and producer of online sketches, as well as taking roles in sketches by other comics including Bec Hill and Barry Ferns. He is currently working on the early stages of a new webseries currently titled What Not Dating. In May 2012 he was the host of the student-produced online panel show, Punchlines, by UCA Maidstone, and he was also featured as a guest of Tom Wrigglesworth for BBC Radio 4 Extra’s The Comedy Club Interviews in July 2012.
He has worked extensively in theatre, having set up the No Answer Theatre Company in 2007 as a showcase for local acting and writing talent, through which two of his own full-length plays were produced by Salisbury Playhouse. More recently he had a role in two immersive theatre projects by Christopher Green, Late at the Library: The Party Rules at the British Library and This Show Has No Name at the London Wonderground.
Joz Norris will be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe from 30th July – 24th August 2014 at the Underbelly at 16:20 (1 hour).
“Norris has created a genuinely brilliant character, performed with a confidence that belies his years and a pomp that defies the room. The audience loves every second.” – The Skinny
“Quality moments of silliness…Norris performs with indefatigable gusto and not a hint of pretension…the kind of cheeky grin that must have been a hit with the dinnerladies.” – London is Funny
“One of the most exciting comic character creations on the up-and-coming comedy scene…If there’s a space to watch, it’s this one!” – Comedy Blogedy
“Norris is uber-confident, but he has the material to back up his tenacity.” – Time Out
“Actually pretty good.” – Terry Pratchett
“Joz Norris may have gone missing, but his comic ability is still evidently present.” – Three Weeks
“For this young and talented comic, the future is obviously bright.” – The Comedy Journal
“Some of the most original and involving comedy I’ve seen for some time.” – Theatre Geek
Sara Shulman is the Founder and Editor of Comedy Blogedy, TEDxUCL Speaker on ‘The Power of Funny’, specialist comedy blogger for Ticketmaster and blogger for The Huffington Post. Sara was the former Head of Comedy at UCLU Rare FM and produces the Comedy Blogedy podcast ‘Humour Me’. Sara is currently a student at the National Film & Television School and occasionally gigs on the comedy circuit
Live Nation proudly presents: McQueen
Pleasance 10 Dome, Edinburgh
July 30 – August 24, 11pm
“This show is mad funny! Dudes doing something crazy original, it’s going to be huge man!” DAVE CHAPPELLE
“An original show that showcases immense talent and wow factor!” HUFFINGTON POST
“It was like watching Jimmy Fallon and Reggie Watt’s love child bringing down the house!” BUZZFEED
“Nothing I have ever seen compares to the originality and hilarity that went down last night! So much going on with one constant! FUNNY!!!!” CNN NEWS
“It’s just brilliant!” THOM YORKE, RADIOHEAD
Whilst touring with Radiohead one fateful night in Miami, McQueen Adams impressed the band with an impersonation so fresh an idea was born. Together with drummer Timothy Oakley (Phantogram), Adams has created a fusion of music, comedy and video, which parodies pop stars, movies and a variety of celebrities. It’s a jamboree of songs, stunts and sketches, and the material’s range stretches from subjects as varied as the sounds of Daft Punk to the magic of the wizard Gandalf, with some Jason Statham, Orlando Bloom and Coldplay along the way.
Transmitting a hi-tech audio-visual experience, McQueen and Oakley create an incredibly unique new universe. It collides with planet Edinburgh for the first time this summer, so prepare for a blast!
Elf Lyons and PBH’s Free Fringe presents
Elf Lyons: Underground Success
Elf Lyons, the creator behind The Secret Comedians and Funny Women Finalist (Runner- Up) 2013 debuts her first solo hour of unconventionality and empowering comedic happiness. And it’s all about the London Underground. Mostly
In her first full-length show, Elf Lyons aims to prove how successful she really is through a mixture of stories, erotica and games all based around her long term love for the London Underground. From the creation of the tube, to the Metro Crush, to the life of Harry Beck, the underground for Elf is metaphor for her life thus far. Yet, she still wants to begin the show dancing to Katy Perry on stage, for no reason other than that she wants to, despite the fact it has no relation to the tube whatsoever.
A supersonic stand-up show, Underground Success is a hilarious, sincere, shocking and feisty collection of tales of the unexpected. The Red Hatted 6ft chameleon celebrates her eccentricities and wildest fantasies through the subjects she finds interesting and overlooked in modern society.
Lyons is a regular performer on the stand-up and cabaret circuit, known for her alternative storytelling abilities, fast-paced ramshackle style and compering skills. She has been featured both on London Live and Reuteurs talking about her experience as an M.C and work as a comic. Her previous show Pervert performed at the Camden Fringe in July 2013 received great attention in the press, being the ‘Pick of the Fringe’ in both Londonist and MOUTH London magazine and featured in the Evening Standard twice after attracting Boris Johnson to come see the show.
‘The Angelina Jolie of Comedy’ – MOUTH, London
‘She is just too talented[...] expect her to be a major star’ -One4Review
‘A clever observer and raconteur [...] her unabashed, suggestible humour reminds one of Noel Fielding’ – Ed Fringe Review‘
“Refreshingly real” – Broadway Baby
“Real highlight of the night” – Feminist Times ‘One to Watch’
“Effortlessly charming, wonderful at warming up a crowd! Book her!” – Luisa Omielan
“A joy to watch. One of the best acts we’ve had at the Etcetera – she certainly has a bright and glittery future ahead of her. See her. Now!” – Etcetera Theatre, London
Elf Lyons: Underground Success
2nd – 24th August 2014
Voodoo Rooms, 19:30 (20:30) 1hour) 16+
“Will Franken is a master of delusion”
Critically acclaimed, surrealistic character comedian with a myriad of personalities Will Franken returns this year to the late-night, rock & roll, filth’n’fury ethos of the Just The Tonic at The Caves at 10.40pm with another violent explosion of his kaleidoscopic, manic, and hysterical imagination in his new show The Stuff They Put In Sleep.
The show is his latest rapid-fire absurdist assault on the fragilities of human identity, platitudes of postmodern sanctimony, and naïve presupposition of collective reality. Be prepared to meet Simon Schama as he invites viewers to see the world of ancient Egypt through the eyes of an asshole and an up-to-date chauvinistic urban gangster Sigmund Freud. Meanwhile, an alcoholic LA businessman holds a conference call with a talking can of Coke and bottle of whiskey, whilst a doctor bears the ambiguous news to a patient that the thing he thought was a brain tumour is actually a testicle.
Franken’s lifelong Anglophilia and his adventures since he has relocated to the UK come to life when you meet the first working class actor to be hired in Britain since the ‘Great Ban of 1983’, struggling against his Cockney pride to make it through the taping of a Nando’s advert. He even dares to tackle the Scottish accent in a metaphor-laden, politically-searing sendup of the SNP on the eve of the independence referendum. Be forewarned: this is not a show for the faint-of-heart, hyper-sensitive, or just plain daft.
Will is a one-man “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” served American style. He has recorded material for BBC, BBC Radio 4, and Berrum og Beyer (NRK Norwegian Television) and made a pilot for Channel 4 as well as being featured in numerous international comedy festivals including Montreal’s prestigious Just For Laughs Festival, HBO’s Comedy Festival in Las Vegas and The New York International Fringe Festival. In the UK, his show ‘Things We Did Before Reality’ debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was rated amongst the British Comedy Guide’s top 15 shows, before transferring to London’s Soho Theatre to critical acclaim.
“Masterful, mind-altering comedy that pokes fun at the world without standing loftily outside it. Join the remarkable Franken on his nightly journey down the rabbit hole – you won’t regret it.” ★★★★★ Spoonfed
“Strange, sometimes awkward, often funny and always interesting, Franken’s act is like Marmite – fucking awesome” ★★★★★ ThreeWeeks
“He gallops along a comedic road less travelled and has found the sweet spot where absurdism and satire combine, both super-sweet and surgically sharp” ★★★★ The Scotsman
“…simply hilarious” ★★★★ The Times
“…you can’t take your eyes off these inspired outpourings.” ★★★★ Guardian
“Will Franken is an astounding character comedian who makes almost everyone else in his field look like lazy chancers… He’s a one-man sketch machine, with scores of personas, all perfectly realised” ★★★★ Chortle
“The most whistle-stop character comedy that you’re likely to see…” ★★★★Independent
“Franken has a bionic ear for hot air. He’ll undercut right-wing jingoism and left-wing piety alike.” ★★★★The Times of London
“…fresh and funny routines” ★★★★ Sunday Times Culture
Will Franken: The Things They Put in Sleep
30th July – 25th August 2014
Just the Tonic at The Caves
10.40pm (1 hour)
Bound & Gagged are proud to present the highly anticipated sketch show Harvey, Garvey And The Kane making their debut as a trio at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year at the Underbelly Dairy Room.
Although this is a new ensemble for the Festival, they’ve a good deal of experience when it comes to taking successful shows to Edinburgh and are the team behind the sell-out comedy sketch show, Men Of War. Marcus directed three runs of Watson & Oliver (BBC2), and has appeared in Scratch Impro alongside Gareth, the co-creator and producer of The Reduced Edinburgh Fringe Improv Show. Stephen Harvey was one half of the Perrier nominated double-act Toulson & Harvey, and hosted the long-running Underbelly comedy/horror show, The Witching Hour, with special guests including Tony Law, Marcus Brigstocke and Les Dennis
This is a show about three grown men inspired by what both excites and winds them up about day-to-day life. We see the ups and downs of friendship, family life, and some of the best gags to have come out of the Second World War. Sharp dialogue delivered at a blisteringly fast pace one moment, and then a bit of darkly comic absurdity the next, the show evolves to encompass audience participation and interaction mixed with some well-observed character comedy. This is intelligent silliness with a touch of stupid cleverness.
Stephen Harvey won Best Actor at the Sitcom Mission sponsored by Hat Trick in 2011 and performs regularly on BBC Radio 4 for the Comedians Theatre Company. Credits include Broken News, Nathan Barley by Charlie Brooker and Noel Clark’s 188.8.131.52. He has just finished working on The Javone Prince Show for the BBC.
Marcus Garvey has a list of TV credits including Peep Show, IT Crowd, Psychoville, Last Tango In Halifax, Broadchurch, Wolfblood, Count Arthur Strong, White Van Man, Starlings, Shameless, Trollied, You Me & Them, and Pat & Cabbage. Film credits include Four Lions, and The Incident.
Gareth Kane was nominated for a What’s On Stage award for Best Book in 2010 and is the resident compere at The Funnyside Club. Theatre work includes runs at The West Yorkshire Playhouse and The West End, whilst he has also appeared in So Graham Norton (CH4), Secrets (BBC) and Ross Lees Ghoulies (NICKLEODEON).
Underbelly, Bristo Square — Dairy Room
30th July — 24th August 2014
Second City Graduate and Oxford Revue veteran returns to Edinburgh with a brand new one-man sketch show. Go Thank Yourself! is a finely crafted hour of solo comedy glowing with rich splending and warm characters who’ve all tried seizing the day while smelling the roses and spent a golden afternoon picking thorn out their hands. And better yet this crushing bear hug for the soul is totally free! ‘A masterclass in restrained comic performance’ (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk).
1st – 25th August 2014
7:15pm (55 minutes)
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