Edinburgh Special 2018

I’ve not seen as many Edinburgh previews as I’d have liked owing to work, distance and the weather. However, these are the ones that I have seen over the last month or so:

Ahir Shah: Duffer

Tom Houghton: Tom Houghton the Honourable

Thomas Green: Doubting Thomas

Will Mars: Candid Cafe

Danny Ward: Dansplaining

Josh Pugh: The Changingman

Lost Voice Guy: Inspiration Porn

Kai Humphries: Team Smug

Chris Washington: You Beauty!

Scott Bennett: Leap Year

Gary Delaney: Gagster’s Paradise

Bethany Black: Unwinnable

Alistair Williams: Great White Male

Phil Nichol: Your Wronger

Adam Hess: Seahorse

Justin Moorhouse: Northern Joker

The thing that struck me the most out of what I saw was just how underprepared some of the shows were. In fairness, some were early-ish previews in June and a few were billed as works in progress, which is fair enough and I wasn’t expecting perfection in any case. Even so, it was amazing how many were 2-3 months preparation behind what I’ve seen in previous years. This wasn’t people working off of notes, but instead, miscellaneous routines without a lot of structural narrative holding it together. The end result was that at worst, some felt like a series of random routines instead of a show. 

This isn’t to say that they weren’t funny and that the audience didn’t enjoy them, because by and large they were and they did, but it was very much a case of being served a chocolate bar with the wrapping still on. 

There were some exceptions: Bennett, Moorhouse, Pugh, Mars, Houghton, Delaney and Ridley all had shows that were ready for Edinburgh and from day one, audiences will get the full experience.

The funniest three previews I saw were:

Scott Bennett: Leap Year

This show is the best that I’ve ever seen. The jokes come almost with the pace of a one-liner comedian and there is a huge level of coherency to the whole that leaves you with a nice warm feeling of fulfilment. If there is any justice in the world, this will be Scott’s breakthrough year into becoming a household name.

Justin Moorhouse: Northern Joker

This is very close to Bennett’s in quality. The writing is superb. It is insightful, hilarious and with Moorhouse’s down to earth delivery, the end result is amazing. This show has 5 Star written all over it, unless some git writes it off (probably before they even see it) as a Northern comic’s club set. This show is absolutely piss funny.

Thomas Green: Doubting Thomas

Ironically I saw this show under adverse conditions. The room was boiling hot, everything had been delayed, the audience were drunk and just wanted banter and it was at an early stage. However, there was a lot of great stuff there and Green has the magnetism to bring it all together in a most satisfying way.

Previews that I’d like to have seen, but didn’t:

Roger Swift: Pun-U-Matic (the second leg)

I like Roger, he’s an underrated act who is better than he thinks he is. I did have chance to see this last night, but it was too bloody hot to travel for 90 minutes.

James Cook: Sarcasmic

Cook is one of the most technically excellent acts that I’ve ever seen and should be a lot better known than what he is.

David Callaghan: Dead Man’s Chest

I’ve only ever seen Callaghan once and that was at a gong show (he won), but I’ve got a strong feeling that there is a lot of gold here and this should be good.


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