It's Tuesday. It is warm. And I am in London. Panicking. It is now officially a fortnight until the Edinburgh Festival begins - when hoards of hopeful comedians make their pilgramage to the home of the largest festival in the world. It is the equivalent of exam season for the comedy world - with every comic cramming as many previews and revision sessions in as they can before their shows officially open from the 4th of August.
In preparation for the marathon ahead I decided to take an early holiday. Thus, last week I was in Provence in the South of France. Ten days were spent living in a twenty person chateaut with my french family, surrounded by the bubble of the french language, excitable children and a big swimming pool full of suicidal crickets. We played Platonk, drank rose and read novels - mainly the novel of friend and writer Lolita, whose blog you should read if you speak/want to read French. Our chateaut was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and hills with shapes that, as the sun set, were reminiscient of the curves of a womens' body lying down. It was very beautiful and the heat was manipulative. One minute you were fine and tanning slowly, the next you were faint, with a wave of exhaustion overloading you. My skin now is a huge constelation of freckles (in french they call them 'Red stains' which I think is deeply offensive) and my hair is a bright carrot orange from the sun.
Now, back in London, lots of texts are coming through from friends asking 'What shows should I see in Edinburgh?'. So, below are a few comedy shows that I think are going to be bloody fab, and if you have a chance to, you should go see....
*These aren't all the shows I recommend, but I'll blog in the next few days with other recommendations too.....
Andrew is not only a charming and wonderful human-being, he is also a fine comedian. He's the comedy equivalent of drinking a magnum of one of the most luscious French bordeauxs. He's on at 7.50pm at The Stand (so, heartbreakingly I won't see his show), but his stand-up is so beautiuflly well-crafted and intricately put together you can't help fall in love with his candour and wit.
Alexander Bennett is a peculiar man and because of that I love him dearly. A complete fire cracker on stage with a hugely likeable rage, his material is bizarre, open-hearted and funny/ He is endearing, likeable and honest on stage which allows him to seduce you onto a path of very weird ideas. Go see him.
Alfie Brown is one of my absolute favourite comedians. He is bloody brilliant. Passionate, political and unique. His show last year, 'Divorced from reality (and my wife)', was one of the funniest and most innovative shows I saw at the festival. He is on at 7.20pm this year at Assembly, so annoyingly I will miss his show as we clash, but I highly recommend you go and see him.
The most debonair clown around, Brainchild is sumptuously funny and ridiculously silly. If you fancy something heartwarmingly eccentric and funny, which allows you to let off some steam and be silly too, do go watch Dan. He is a very charismatic and loveable clown with ridiculous accents and costume changes to match his endearing nature.
Helen previewed part of her new show Smasher at PLAYGROUND last month.If the previews are anything to go by it is clear Smasher will be just as super as Duff's previous show Vanity Bites Back. Duff, like Lees, is a master clown and improviser. Naturally naughty and funny, this show involves her aiming to create a collective orgasm with her audience. Go, watch and help her achieve it.
Joe is just a super funny and genuinely great bloke. Imagine if one of the Minions from Descpicable Me and Eddie Izzard had a baby... it would be Joe. Nerdy, fast-talking, surreal Joe. If you like your comedy with a hint of historical and scientific accuracy, then he is the man for you. He is also a very talented footballer.
James is effectivley an unwritten character from Roald Dahl's 'Tales of the Unexpected'. His mind is a vortex of obscure, weird and sinister characters which Hamilton brings to life on stage with serious intensity and panache. A hugely diverse comic performer with superb writing ability, he is performing his debut hour at Voodoo Rooms this year, so do go watch him. He is cult.
Jim Smallman is a very cool man and a super storyteller with so much love to give his audience. I've always loved watching Jim do stand-up and his warm-hearted and honest stage presence means you are watching a truly masterful comedian. He is fantastically funny. His new show 'My Girls' was nominated for Best New Show at Leicester Comedy Festival this year.
Every gig I have ever watched Tamar do she has blown the audience away with her likeability, super singing voice, stage presence and brilliant jokes. Her balance between audience banter, improvisation, singing and joke telling is very powerful and mindblowing.. She is a feminist powerhouse with an incredible load of talent. She makes me roar with laughter.
So these are just a few shows that I would recommend....