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)
In this exclusive article for Comedy Blogedy, Nish Kumar ruminates on his most niche obsessions…
We’ve all got a niche, be it a musician, a movie or a variation of pornography. For the record mine three would be:
I have pursued these niches, sometimes to the detriment of other areas of my life. My teenage years were spent, not kissing girls, but rather listening to countless hours of music about how great kissing girls was. Instead of seeking confirmation of this, I busied myself reading about the people who had created the music that I was obsessively listening to. I left school a virgin, but on the plus side I can tell you that George Harrison played bass on “Drive My Car”, and he modelled said bass line on the one from Otis Redding’s version of “Respect”. Stick that in your kissing pipe jocks! You may have had your afternoons of pashing in the schoolyard but I’m the one with the copy of Bob Dylan’s unreleased docudrama/shitfest Eat the Document! It’s really bad!
In this internet era of YouYube and Robocops it’s easier than ever to feed your niche. Websites and social media are incredible tools for performers to use to reach an audience. It’s vastly easier to track down obscure cultural artefacts than it was in my day. Let me tell you, young people these days have no idea the hardships we endured. I mean sure, we did have the internet, but it was dial up which took ages. Our mobiles phones were not “smart” in any sense, being as they were solely capable of telephoning people. Can you imagine? I mean my grandmother grew up in a village without even a radio to furnish them with goings on in the outside world, but once, my internet cut out while I was in the middle of downloading some Rolling Stones live tracks on Napster. So I think it’s fair to say I have suffered.
Unable as we were to simply google any piece of information that we could possibly conceive of, we were forced to trawl second hand CD fairs, in the hope of picking up Janis Joplin bootlegs and live recordings of Lou Reed farting into a dustbin in what was clearly a satirical attack on the Vietnam war. As a Simpsons obsessive, I had to go round my friend Matt’s house because he had Sky. As soon as the show ended we would immediately get out our episode guides to see what jokes we had missed, and then both pretend we understood the references to Solvent Green and Ross Perot.
I spent countless hours reading terrible biographies of Woody Allen (big news guys, apparently he is quite “neurotic”), while listening to every single song Cat Power ever recorded on a CD player that skipped every time someone in France coughed. These crappy tomes were the only portals into the worlds of these totemic figures and if you wanted You are Free you had to trawl through the dusty racks of HMV/Zavvi/Virgin/Fat Dan’s Media Emporium to get to it.
Now I’m not saying that those days were better. In fact they were significantly worse. I love the fact that I saw Tuneyards by complete fluke at a festival, and was able to immediately return home and buy the album that day. Now I can relive that extraordinary experience any time I want, by playing the album and then going outside, getting covered in mud and then taking a piss in a hedge. Wikipedia has consolidated all the salient information from those dreadful Woody Allen books and put it into one, easy to access webpage. I wouldn’t trade my days at CD fairs and my battered VHS of Grosse Pointe Blank for anything in the world but I’m savvy enough to know that things are way better now for young, aspiring nerds.
My only concern is that it’s almost too easy to disappear into your own niche. Spotify and Netflix have spent a huge amount of time and money cultivating complex algorithms designed to constantly keep feeding us more of what we want. Ostensibly, this should be a good thing. I can feast on culture that has been scientifically proved to be to my taste and never have to interact with anything that doesn’t fit into those parameters. I can kick back and relax, confident I’ll never have to know the difference between Justin Bieber and One Direction.
However, I’m increasingly uncertain that this is a good thing. If you eliminate the risk of ever coming across something you might dislike, we’ll lose the ability to dislike something in a proportionate and reasonable way. That’s surely part of the fun of ingesting culture. I can’t tell you how much pleasure the film Drive has given me. I mean, I hated every smug, trendy second of it, but so many of my friends enjoyed it and I took great pleasure in explaining to them why they were completely wrong and they did the same to me. Differences of opinion are part of what makes being a human interesting.
My other concern, is that it’s getting increasingly difficult to be surprised by something. There is a pure thrill to discovering something new, or expecting to hate something and finding yourself having to back down in the face of your own delight. I was in a trendy clothes shop, pretending I belonged there, when a song started playing that motivated me to run hurriedly over to the person behind the desk and demand the tell me who it was by (actually I used Shazaam, which I guess is the modern equivalent of this action). The band was called Against Me! and the song was called Fuckmylife666. It’s not something I would normally listen to, and there’s no formula in the world that would have calculated I would enjoy it. It’s the best thing I’ve heard in ages.
Niches are great, particularly when you find a new one.
Nish Kumar will be performing his show ‘Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity’ at the Edinburgh Fringe from 30th July – 24th August 2014, Pleasance Courtyard, 7:15pm (1 hour) 16+. Tickets
Photo Credit: Idil Sukan at Draw HQ
Julian McCullough is an American actor, writer and comedian, residing in Los Angeles. He has performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, who he has been supporting on tour, NPR’s This American Life and hosted three stand alone specials for VH1. Julian is best known for his appearances on Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Lately and MTV’s Guy Code and hosts America’s Very Funny News.
The US comic debuts at this year’s Edinburgh Festival with his show ‘Dream Girls’. Julian offers unparalleled access to his catastrophic love life, combining epic pop songs, deeply insightful commentary and a killer power point presentation. He is a dreamer, but unfortunately love only exists in reality, or as he puts it: “Finding love is easy when it’s mostly in your own head”.
‘Dream Girls’ recounts romantic discoveries of the girls he dated, with bothan embarrassing amount of truth and the slow and devastating (for the people in the story, not the audience) realisation that girls are much more than a combination of Radiohead lyrics and Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years.
In 2011 he won the New York’s Funniest competition and his Comedy Central Presents stand-up special aired. He has also taken part in the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.
“His stories are so funny you’ll almost forget they made you cry…He has a way of making a long, funny, heartfelt story feel like it took three minutes. The hour will fly’ IRA GLASS (THIS AMERICAN LIFE)
Julian McCullough: Dream Girls
30th July – 24th August 2014
22:45 (1 hour)
For those wanting an evening of stand up comedy away from the norm look no further than comic Stuart Black who performs at the Counting House on the Free Fringe for the whole month this August. His show, ‘The Crossroads’, is a collection of tales from life filled with debauchery and soul searching that strings together a collection of witty anecdotes an opinions designed to open your eyes and heart whilst all the time exposing you to the extremes life can throw at you.
Stuart Black invites audiences to experience a blend of poetic story telling and shockingly visceral stand-up comedy. Black examines a life spent in a variety of jobs intertwined with drug and alcohol indulgence all the while flagging up the question of where to find a moral compass in life.
Black’s comedy comes from his real, but incredible, life in a way that follows in the footsteps of Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, and Doug Stanhope (who he has been compared to). This is the comedy of truths. Truths from a life less ordinary. His show examines these truths in a brutally honest and hence refreshing style.
His father was a former boxer (and alcoholic) and after failing every school exam – twice – Stuart followed in his footsteps training to be a boxer. After leaving home he lived at the YMCA, but eventually gave up his boxing dream after being side-tracked by girls, drink and drugs.
Fast forward to the early 90’s and he was living in Brighton penniless and living on the dole in a loft sleeping on chipboard with woodlice and living a nocturnal existence. Although not gay himself he ‘lived’ in the gay clubs of Brighton & London with his friends that were drug addicts or rent boys (and no he didn’t try it but had many offers!). Sadly he spiralled into several years of depression at one point not leaving his house for 6 months or even taking a bath. After getting treatment for depression he got himself together he had various jobs, like putting lids on dog shampoo bottles or selling computers from his car boot. He then moved back to Somerset and in another extraordinary change of life became a Diamond Valuer.
In his late twenties he got bored of the diamond trade and bought a book about computer programming for dummies and self- taught. He became so good he ended up working for Microsoft writing payroll software for clients as diverse as Bank of America, Coca Cola, Saatchi and Saatchi, and Wandsworth Council. This period of success enabled him to buy a house, but by night was drinking heavily and frequently fell asleep at work, as it was a really stressful job. He left the job sold the house and all his belongings and moved to Cape Town South Africa where he found adventure and danger travelling and meeting extraordinary people. Including a genuine psychopath with whom he spent many nights in brothels drinking hard, playing pool for money, and going up stairs with the women. After running out of money came back to the UK and started to take his stand–up seriously…
Stuart Black will be performing his show ‘The Crossroads’ at the Edinburgh Fringe from 2nd – 24th August 2014, 10pm at the Counting House (Free Fringe). More information.
Johnny Depp and I have a lot in common. We’re both scintillatingly good looking, former lovers of Kate Moss, and obsessed with Groupon. A friend of Depp’s told Heat magazine ““If he can get a good price for something, he’ll go for it. He just bought a new barbecue for the patio of his house in LA.” I’ve never bought a BBQ, but I do two of three Groupon deals a week. And, like an addict, I now require bigger and bigger hits of novelty for it to have any effect. My current hobby is to buy stuff on Groupon which I can customize with photos of my own face:
It wasn’t meant to get like this. My Groupon Adventure started in November last year as an attempt to inject some fun and spontaneity into my life. I’d got out of the habit of having fun. I’d become a workaholic bore, stuck deep on a rut. Groupon was my ladder out.
I’ll never forget the day I discovered Groupon. On the front page alone was “Learn how to fly helicopters!” “Drive Ferraris!” and “Go Wakeboarding!” Suddenly the world felt full of possibility again. I could do all these things! But helicopters and wakeboarding seemed a bit extreme to me. I wanted to break myself into my new lifestyle slowly, and so when I saw “Acupuncture and Massage” come up I thought: “This is much more my scene”.
Which is how I ended up in Oriental Healthcare in Leyton. The first stage was the consultation with the Chinese doctor, who spoke with a perfect cockney accent which really freaked me out. He reassured me about what was about to happen:
“Don’t be scared! This acupuncture guff is a piece of piss! Anyway, have you seen the guest book?”
I had seen the guest book, and it was impressive: testimonial from testimonial from delighted client, all written in the same handwriting.
“Oh yes”, I said, “I had no idea Tom Cruise was such a loyal customer”.
Next, he leads me into a small room and asks me to undress and lie face down on the bed, before leaving me to it. I do as I’m told: I take off my clothes and lie on the bed which felt oddly moist. He comes back in, and goes: “Why have you taken your pants off?!”
I said, “You told me to get undressed?!”
“Yeah, but obviously keep your pants on! What sort of place to you think this is? We’re from Shanghai not Bangkok. But I suppose we all look the same to you don’t we? Look…Just put your pants back on.”
He leaves. I put on my boxers. But I was in such a rush that I accidentally put them on back to front. So the flap was now on the back, like I had deliberately left a door to my arse.
Luckily, he seemed not to notice, and he began stuffing my back with needles.
Acupuncturists believe that illness is caused by an imbalance in our life energy, our “qi” (pronounced “chee”), and acupuncture unblocks the flow of “qi”.
And it acupuncture wasn’t my cup of qi, then his next treatment certainly wasn’t either. It was called “cupping”, and basically they stick a load of jam jars on your back, but they burn out the oxygen first, so the effect is that the oxygen sucks up your skin. It’s a bit like getting a love bite off a hoover, a friend has told me.
As he did it, he said “this might leave a bit of a mark, but nothing serious”. This is what my back looked like two weeks later…
A BIT OF A MARK?! I LOOK LIKE IVE FALLEN ASLEEP ON THE HOB.
Now it was time for my massage. The doctor tells me to lie there and wait for the masseuse. I was worried about the massage. I’d never had one before and I was really concerned I might get an erection, which would be terribly awkward to explain away especially after the pants debacle. The masseuse came in. I thought I’d have a lovely little Chinese lady. It turned out to be a massive Spanish man called Juan. So immediately my erection worries trebled.
And God he was good. With his big Catalan hands, like warm plates. And so strong, riding me with his powerful thighs like a Pamplona bullfighter. I was heaven. Anyway, he flipped me over and finished me off-not like that-lit a candle, (nice touch), and with that disappeared off into the night like Zoro.
“Thanks mate” I said, as he headed off. “No worries son”, he replied, also in a cockney accent.
I dribbled into the reception area, too relaxed to move. The doctor was there again and giving it the hard sell like a fruit and vege man down Romford market. “Juan’s the dogs bollocks isn’t he?” “Yes”, I said, “Terrific”. “So I suppose you want to sign up for some more sessions?” He assumed. “Umm….I’m a bit hard-up at the moment to be honest”. “Alright…I’ll give you six sessions for the price of four and I’ll throw in a bag of turtles cocks for free” he said. I politely declined.
Cut to today. My Groupon Adventure has taken in colonic irrigation, bee-keeping, graffiti, becoming a Lord and a million other things besides. From a deep rut I‘ve slowly emerged a new man, having rediscovered my passion for life, resuscitated by the oxygen of new experience. But it’s suddenly begun to feel a bit superficial. Groupon doesn’t hold the same mystique that it once did.
Back in November, I thought filling up my life with new experiences, new things, would make it feel less empty. I poured Groupons into my life, as if were a bucket, believing that once it was full I’d be happy again. But the thing is, I’ve realised that life isn’t like a bucket at all: it’s got a massive hole in the bottom. It’s more of a tube. You can never fill the bucket up, it’s futile. If you want to be happy, you’ve got to somehow transcend the bucket. It dawned on me that what I really need is love. And I thought: “Groupon has solved every other problem in my life, perhaps they can solve this one too?” So I put out a plea to Groupon: help me find love by selling a date with me on your site.
And they said yes! From today you can buy a date with me on Groupon. It’s totally free, I’m literally giving myself away. Anyone can buy the voucher, which could be dangerous. I might end up going on a date with a fifty-year old male cockle-picker from the Shetland Islands. Two years ago I had a stalker: I might end up going for tapas with her. Or I might end up having a candle-lit dinner with my Mum who, true to Valentine’s Day form, will definitely buy a voucher in case no-one else does. So, if you are a sassy singleton looking for a giggle then why not make a purchase? We’ll have a fun evening and you’ll end up being name checked in my Edinburgh Festival stand-up show all about My Groupon Adventure this August. I promise it will be less painful than acupuncture.
Max Dickins will be performing his show ‘My Groupon Adventure’ at the Edinburgh Fringe from 30th July – 24th August 2014 at 3:30pm, The Pleasance Courtyard. Tickets
More information about how to win a date with Max Dickins on Groupon.
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