August is the one month of the year in Scotland when it doesn’t rain every day and Edinburgh turns into one of the world’s biggest parties and celebrations of everything weird, funny, and wonderful in the realm of art.
This year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival (August 2-26) is booming with 2,871 mind-blowing, tear-jerking, belly-jiggling acts. To make it easier for you to choose from this pick-a-mix lineup, I’ve chosen 10 comedy sketches you should see if you’re in the city…or if you’re on the other side of the pond and just need a laugh.
1. Claudia O’Doherty — “Pioneer”
Aussie Claudia O’Doherty has slowly gained a cult following at the festival. She rocketed up the comedy ladder after being nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2012. “Pioneer” is O’Doherty’s most out-there and absurd show to date — she takes the audience on a journey into her brain and shows them the paint-splattered walls.
2. The Wrestling II
There’s blood, jokes, tears, and wrestlers. Need I say more? Tickets are sold out, but head on down early and chat up the lassie on the door — they always keep a stash in the back.
3. Tig Notaro — “Boyish-Girl Interrupted”
Where to start? I am completely and utterly in love with Tig Notaro. She makes me laugh my head off, and this is one of my favorite sketches. Enjoy folks, enjoy.
4. Stuart Laws — “Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You Are Dead”
If you’ve spent all your money on wellie boots, an overpriced hostel, and deep-fried sausages — I can say this as a Scott — then check out Stuart Law, a regular host of Laugh Out London, video entrepreneur, and fan of marmalade-on-toast ice cream. What’s his show about? It’s summed up like this: “Ornithology, Center Parcs, Terminator, milkshakes, The Bourne Supremacy, colour blindness and Hawaii Five-0.”
Check out his sketch above, “A Difficult Discussion with a Penguin.”
5. Bo Burnham — “What”
Bo Burnham dicked around on YouTube and became one of the planet’s most-loved young comedians, starring in his own MTV sitcom.
6. Pat Cahill — “Start”
The Edinburgh Fringe Guide states, “Once it starts you’ll get: gags, tunes, turns and bits, pausing occasionally to breathe/fart/wink. Once it stops, you can go. ‘True star quality’.”
7. Susan Calman — “Always”
Scottish comedy doesn’t come much funnier than this. Believe me you don’t have to be Scottish, nor Glaswegian, to enjoy her sketch. She’s honest and upfront and ridiculously quick witted.
Her new show asks questions about ‘women’ such as: What is she doing with her life? And can she put “cat wrangler” as her occupation on a mortgage application?
8. Aisling Bea — “C’est La Bea”
Winner of the 2102 So You Think You’re Funny? Award, Aisling Bea debuts at Edinburgh Festival this year with her sketch “C’est La Bea,” a highly anticipated standup show about life, death, and hip-hop.
9. The Hill and Weedon Fan Club
Musical comedy duo, best friends, and part-time spider breeders Hill and Weedon rock out — sometimes nude!
Note: This one’s free.
10. Ronny Chieng — “The Ron Way”
A big shot in Australia, Ronny Chieng is out there to tell the world that being Chinese is really neat. He uses his comic skills, academic brilliance, and all-round credentials in bold, matter-of-fact ways that tackle world issues head on.