Friday 4 April 2014

Top 10 Stand Up Comedians

This is a perfect example of one of my "bad blogger" traits...
I'd half written this post and planned for it to be published on April Fools Day - not as a joke or anything just a simple celebration of my favourite comedy people.
And yep, now it's Friday, a whole four days after April Fools Day and the whole point of this post has kind of past it now. Except that...obviously all these fabulous funny comedians are amazing to see all year round!
(see what I did there...smooth wasn't it?)

Edinburgh Fringe Pleasance Dome Posters
Anyway, we've seen a lot of comedians; at the last count it was up to about 40 and I think it's pretty safe to say, it's one of our favourite things to do. I reckon 75% of the shows we see at the Edinburgh Fringe are comedy and we're fairly lucky that quite a few local small venues seem to attact fairly big names.

We're both fans of the observational storytelling type of comedian (as opposed to the one-liner gag merchants) so if you're looking for some people to go and see, in no particular order, here's our top 10 recommended comics (all people who have you crying with laughter so much that you almost can't concentrate on the show)...

We saw Seann for the first time in Edinburgh last year and he was so funny with his tales of surviving alone in London. It was one of the few gigs where I took photos (whether I was supposed to is another matter!) and his best sketch? What the iPhone TV advert should really be like - "sorry, battery's dead"

Seann Walsh in Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We've seen Josh a few times, the first time we saw him he was playing a room in Edinburgh that only seated about 30 people and it basically ended up being a free for all with the audience. It's quite amazing it didn't completely descend into chaos and Josh managed to hold the whole gig together at the same time as leaving us lot in fits of laughter.
His best sketch? I love his cash machine routine and his rendition of a massage chair at Exeter St Davids train station.

For starters, Marcus' views on society and the economy are spot on and he's incredibly good at weaving together current issues and politics into comedy gold. His show at Edinburgh last year saw him doing some 90s nightclub podium dancing during which in one of the first shows, he managed to injure himself and had to do the rest of the month on crutches. Fair play to him though, we saw his gig two days after did it and his dancing was still as manic as ever.
Best sketch? Teaching everyone how the banks made their money by using real notes from audience members.

I'm one of those annoying people ("I saw him before he was famous...") and first saw him back when he used to play in a tent at the Ashton Court Festival in Bristol. He was spectacularly funny then and when we saw him back in February he was just as funny now as well. He's so good at coming up with surreal childlike images and puns and has you crying with laughter all the time (plus his grandparents live in my home town!).
Best sketch? Far too many to list but telling a call girl "the customer is always right" ranks pretty high up there!

Russell Howard Wonderbox Tour

Shappi Khorsandi
She's a delight to watch (and Andrew has a bit of a thing for her!), her stories about her darling little son and rocker ex-boyfriend are so funny. She didn't do a show at Edinburgh last year because she had her second child so her shows this year may well include tales about that!
Best sketch? A tie between teaching her son to eat his vegetables and her complaints to a dating website about their skin colour matching service.

Rich Hall is American (from Montana I think) but he's someone who has definitely been living in the UK too long; he has the same view that UK people have about Americans! His observations about differences between over there and over here are fab and he can do a pretty mean set of banjo songs, all written by himself.
Best sketch? Now Kraft own Cadburys, what they're going to do to chocolate in the UK!

The self-defined "third Russell of comedy", the amount of energy on stage is just unbelievable. His gigs always overrun (which can be a major problem in a tight Edinburgh schedule) and you end up leaving the place shattered just from watching him! His stories about his childhood and dramas in and out of love are really really funny and his enthusiasm is just infectious.
Best sketch? All his stories about how he won his fiancee Lindsey are fab.

Just a very very very funny man *and* he read out my tweet on stage last year in Weston Super Mare! He puts such a positive spin on everything and interacts with the audience amazingly well. Co-incidentially we've also seen his wife (she was a guest at Nicolas Parsons' show last year in Edinburgh) and she is an amazing singer!
Best sketch? It actually has to be his "you're being a dick" routines from TV's The Last Leg.

Adam Hills Happyism Tour Posters

 Danny is someone who should have a lot more TV exposure than he actually gets; I first saw him in 2003 at Edinburgh and then looked out for him over the next few years. When we saw him in 2012 his show (called Dear Epson) was all about letters written to different companies picking them up on the sort of useless facts which annoy everyone - things like "why does a new printer cartridge cost more than an actual new printer!?"
Best sketch? Pretty much all of the letters he wrote and talked about in his 2012 show.

 If I had to choose my top 3 comedians I think Ed would be pretty much up there in first or second place (it's a toss up between him and Russell Howard). I love the way he interweaves stories and anecdotes; something you heard at the start of the show will be skillfully linked to something in the second act. I remember seeing him back in Edinburgh in 2003 when he was a bachelor with a drink in his hand and now he's making people laugh with his tales of married life and babies.
Best sketch? At the moment, his story of how you juggle looking after two young kids on a Saturday morning when you're both knackered!

And a couple of extras, not strictly stand up comedians, more musical comedy but still fabulous nonetheless...
Tim Minchin
I can't really express how much I admire Tim, he can do no wrong in my eyes! I know his views aren't exactly everyone's taste but his songs are so completely true, really hilarious and very cleverly crafted together. If you ever see him play live, you also won't be able to believe the speed and enthusiasm in which he plays the piano.

 A favourite of Radio 1's Scott Mills, Frisky and Mannish turn your average piece of popular music into something a lot funnier and more witty. So we get things like Rihanna's 'Rude Boy' sung in the style of The Beegees and what Gotye's 'Somebody I Used To Know' would be like if it was a duet with Danni Minogue. Frisky also wears the most fabulous and outrageous costumes!

If you get a chance to see any of these, please please do! They're fab!
So tell me, who have you seen? Any recommendations?


  1. I love Tim Minchin, and used to love Russell Howard (also saw him "before he was famous") but after forking out an exorbitant ticket price to see him in a big London venue, Tom and I were both bitterly disappointed/cross to discover that all of the jokes (bar 3) in his were repeated from his recent TV show.

    I love Ross Noble, Eddie Izzard (more his older stuff), Bill Bailey, and Sean Locke (who I saw last weekend in Waitrose, and got all star-struck by :p). xxx

    P.S. Comedy is definitely an all-year-round kinds of blog post topic :)

    1. Aw no! That's no good! I think a tiny bit of repetition is to be expected but not a whole show - that's definitely not on!
      I saw Eddie Izzard last year at the Eden Project (who was fab) but we'd love to see the rest on your list. Bill Bailey is definitely one we want to see - he played Bristol last year but we didn't manage to get tickets. Next time though, we'll be booking early! :-) xxx

  2. I like Russel Howard and Josh Widdicombe too. I love David O'Doherty, Ross Noble, Greg Davies, Sarah Millican and Rhod Gilbert.

    1. We've seen Greg Davies but I'd love to see all the rest you've mentioned! We almost booked tickets for David O'Doherty a couple of years ago in Edinburgh - I'll have to see if he's got a show again this year! :-) x

  3. I seriously need to book some more comedy shows. One day I will see Russell Howard - the bf's not a big fan of him though. I've only seen the ones on your list on tv so this needs to change :) x

    1. Ooh yep, go for it! The best time for comedians to tour is Autumn and Spring (fresh from their shows at Edinburgh in August) - lots of them play smaller venues so hopefully they'll come somewhere nearby :-) x

  4. some of my favourites in that - Russell Howard local boy is fab, Adam Hills is hilarious and who doesn't love Shappi?!
    I still have never got around to seeing any live stand up it's definitely on my to do list and I am not sure what has taken me so long! Maybe some great comedians will start selling tickets around my birthday and someone will treat me! A girl can hope.

    1. That sounds like a good idea! Definitely put some tickets on a birthday list methinks :-)
      A lot of people often play the Colston Hall but slightly cheaper is the Tobacco Factory who still get lots of good names - we're going to see Rich Hall there in May! :-) x

  5. Ooh I've never been a Russell Howard fan but I do love pretty much all of the rest of these, Rich Hall is hilarious!
    We've seen Lee Mack who was much funnier than I was expecting, Bill Bailey who I will always love and John Bishop who was far less rude than I thought he'd be and very funny! I also caught Hal Cruttenden in Dartmouth last year, he's a very funny man! Definitely worth a look :o)
    M x Life Outside London

    1. Weirdly I've seen Hal Cruttenden in a theatre show (in Edinburgh last year) but never seen him do a live comedy show! We'd quite like to see all the ones on your list though - I must keep checking to see who's playing Edinburgh this year! :-) xx


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