If it’s August, then it must be Edinburgh.
As is now annual, I headed to Edinburgh for the festival recently. Having taken in the last week (2009) and the first week (2010), I decided to take the middle week, and it turned out to be an inspired choice.
Instead of the festival just getting started or winding down, it was in the full swing of things when I arrived.
If I could afford to stay in Edinburgh for the whole month. I would.
I flew in on an early morning flight on Saturday 13th. So early in fact, I managed to be at the ticket office before it’s 10am opening time.
Pleasantly, I was surprised to have been able to get tickets for all the events I wanted tickets for, without resorting to second choices.
Like the previous two years, I was sad enough to make a timetable of what I wanted to see, and it helped me plan my time in the city.
It was time to leave the culture to one side as I headed to Tynecastle for Hearts v Aberdeen. A blog of the match can be found here.
That night, I saw Ed Byrne at the EICC, and he was very funny, even if he did rehash a couple of jokes from Mock the Week, giving his views on immigration, pointing out the irony of Irish people complaining about immigration and stating he has no problem with the number of Eastern Europeans living in Dublin ……… except for the fact they work as doormen and don’t watch Mock The Week, meaning he can’t pull the “Do you know who I am?” line.
After a nice relaxing sleep, I headed to see some free shows on the Sunday afternoon.
One which caught my attention in the programme was Him and Me TV which turned out to be an inspired choice, as it was laugh a minute stuff.
It was a live sketch show poking fun at television and popculture, much in the style of The Kevin Bishop Show, but if the exception that it was brilliantly executed, such as the sketch of a superhero called “Councilman”, a masked vigilante who fixes road and infrastructure, that the local council won’t, and the continuity announcement of an upcoming movie premiere of Batman Biggins, a superhero epic starring Christopher Biggins.
The next show I saw was “Ze Hoff Und Friends”, which to be honest, was dreadful.
Yes, the Germans love David Hasselhoff and yes, they speak in what appears to be funny foreign accents, but it’s hard to do a show about such a thing.
Later that night, I saw David O’Doherty who I saw in 2010, and he was as madcap and erratic as ever, a must see.
Following on from his facts about Panda Bears, he moves on to facts about Sharks, pointing out that 9 out of 10 shark related injuries happen at sea, clarifying that the remaining 10% include incidents such as people falling out of bed after a shark related nightmare, or stufed sharks in museums/aquariums falling from where they are displayed an injuring people.
From there, I headed to EICC to see Jason Byrne who was one of the star turns in 2009.
He didn’t do the joke about how he injured his knee while doing a poo (Youtube it) but still managed to entertain in the most novel of ways, most notably, how many audience members can they fit into a pair of spanx.
The first act I saw on Monday was the one i’d been waiting for the most – Michael Winslow
If you don’t know who he is, he’s the voice effects guy from Police Academy, taking his live show to Edinburgh for the first time.
He enters the arena with a great opening line, informing the audience that it is a crime to impersonate the PA system on an airplane, a fact he found out the hard way, and then saying he is banned from every Tesco and Sainsbury in Scotland for the same reason.
A fantastic show well worth seeing if you get the chance, Winslow managed to interact with the audience, pointing the spotlight on people leaving to go to the toilet while doing comedy sound effects to their footsteps.
And yes, he even did his much famed Jimi Hendrix tribute.
The next show I saw was by Jason John Whitehead , title “Letters From Mindy”, going through the story of a break-up, but, as he entered the stage holding cue cards for the audience to see, it wasn’t the story of a breakdown, it was a breakdown of a breakdown.
I’d previously seen him before, and this was a darker show by comparison, but there was still heartwarming moments as he spoke about his companionship with his dog, a relationship where he forgives his dog for pooing in the kitchen, something he wouldn’t do for his human friends.
Unfortunately, on the Tuesday, I managed to sleep in and miss MacAulay and Co which I had tickets for.
At teatime, I went to see Isy Suttie, best known as Dobby in Peep Show, for a musical tale of a holiday romance brought back to life later in life via the internet.
That night I went to see Neil Delamere, who i’d seen before in Edinburgh. The master of the quick witted banter, he managed to tease and taunt his audience in equal measure.
When someone in the front row returned, he told them not to worry as they hadn’t missed anything, apart from him getting Madeline McCann on stage to perform a dance, to which an audience member groans “Too soon”
It was one of those types of shows.
I then went to see Rich Hall who was typical Rich Hall, ranting away at all the things he hates about America, complete with all the things he likes about Scotland, before bemoaning the fact that he couldn’t think of a good way to end the show, and that he should have possibly ended when there was racaous laughter at a joke he did five minutes earlier.
On Wednesday, I saw Rosie Wilby in a show called “Rosie’s Pop Diary” recalling her days as columnist at a magazine called Making Music, whilst persuing her dreams of music stardom.
It wasn’t laugh a minute, but there were still some enjoyable moments.
Next up, was Seann Walsh, currently being seen on 8 Out Of 10 Cats.
The show seemed to struggle at times as he had nobody to bounce banter with, as came be the case when panel show regulars do their own shows.
However, the magic moment of the show came when an audience member left to go to the toilet. In such an intimate setting, it’s hard to escape unnoticed.
If there’s a moral to the story, it’s to never leave during the middle of a show to go to the toilet.
Walsh hatched a plan where the girls friends would swap with another group.
There was another woman also going top the toilet, so Walsh sat in her seat, talking to her friend in a Kilroy style whilst waiting for the other woman to walk in, only to find someone else sitting in her seat, and her friends nowhere to be seen.
It was a prank that Jeremy Beadle would have been proud of.
Later that night, I saw my favourite show of the festival, by Angelos Epithemiou, star of Shooting Stars, wheeling out his segments into a laugh a minute, hour long show.
The show began on a travel theme, explaining that he’d come back from Afghanistan, entertaining the troops, and that The Taliban were a hard audience to please.
He also spoke that he was heading to the North-East after Edinburgh, and hoping it was nothing like the Middle-East.
His trusty keyboard was there, as his keyboard went on a blue theme, playing sex noises, before accidentally hitting the wrong note, when a monotone American voice says “Dictionary”
What was in his bag? A blind man’s walking stick, which Epithemiou boasted the victim he stole it from never saw it coming.
On the Thursday morning, I managed to see MacAulay and Co, where guests included Michael Winslow and Jimeoin, whose Northern Ireland accent was mocked by Winslow, which made me smile that one of the voices of “The Man Of 10,000 Voices” was North Coast accent.
That night, I went to Tynecastle to see Hearts take on Spurs, and thus, my Edinburgh adventure was over for another year.
Already counting down to August 2012.