Comedy Picks

Who will be funniest at this year's Fringe? Ben Williams selects the best of the bunch

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Foxdog Studios
Published 16 Jul 2016

Sam Simmons: Not a People Person

2015’s triumphant Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner returns with more exhaustingly funny high-energy nonsense. Made-up jingles, karate suits, deer hooves and "big thoughts" are just some elements that make up the Adelaide-born comic’s new show. Sound odd? Somehow, Simmons makes all his ridiculous daftness remarkably accessible.

Underbelly Potterow, 8:15pm, 3-28 August, not 15

Foxdog Studios

Ever thought the comedy circuit’s lacking IT consultants? Never fear, Foxdog Studios are here. Lloyd Henning and Peter Sutton are two computer programmers who’ve created a bunch of silly games the entire audience plays, all to a soundtrack of rock ’n’ roll musical comedy. Bring a (charged) smartphone and prepare for battle.

Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey, 11:15pm, 4-28 August

Spencer Jones Presents the Herbert in Eggy Bagel

Spencer Jones’s garishly attired lovable idiot alter ego, The Herbert, had one of the most joyous shows of last year’s festival. Jones’ DIY prop comedy, made from household items and impulse eBay purchases, is gloriously silly. He’s back with a brand new hour of nonsense and reviving last year’s at Underbelly Cowgate.

Heroes @ The Hive, 8:50pm, 4-28 August, not 15

Amir Khoshsokhan: Shhhhhh

Amir Khoshsokhan’s been quietly making waves on the circuit for a few years, and we do mean quietly. His apparently innocent stories are so softly spoken it’s like he’s trying to secretly make a phone call in the quiet carriage. But Khoshsokhan’s worth your full attention – his punchlines are (nearly) silent killers.

Laughing Horse @ Dropkick Murphy's, 9:00pm, 4-28 August

Sam Campbell: The Last Dreamer

Could this be the cult comedy hit of the festival? Comedians and critics are raving about this Aussie absurdist, whose strange, whimsical stories and one-man skits stay loosely in reality. Campbell’s already won Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival and been nominated for the same award in Melbourne.

Assembly Roxy, 8:15pm, 3-28 August, not 15

Lou Sanders: What’s That Lady Doing?

The totally daft Lou Sanders just keeps getting funnier. This year’s show looks set to be the giddy standup’s finest yet, focusing on her decision to quit drinking after a bad experience with Arthur Smith (it’s not what you’re thinking) while veering off on disjointed tangents and telling scatterbrained stories.

Pleasance Dome, 8:10pm, 3-28 August, not 17

The Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) Live on Stage!

Way back in 1988 these anarchic Australian musical comedy merchants were nominated for the Perrier Award, but they disbanded six years later. Well, they’re back – having reformed in 2013! Now all in their 50s, they’re still as rude and lewd as ever, and Al Murray’s presenting their ten-night stint.

Pleasance Courtyard, 10:00pm, 3-14 August, not 8, 9

Liz Miele: Mind Over Melee

Straight-talking standup from this no-nonsense New Jersey-born comic, making her Fringe debut. Miele started performing when she was just 16 and has been aggressively touring Europe over the last couple of years. Here, she talks about travelling, dating, anxiety and, probably, cats – she’s obsessed with ’em.

Underbelly, Cowgate, 6:40pm, 4-28 August, not 15

Katy Brand: I Was a Teenage Christian

Back in Edinburgh for the first time in 11 years, Katy Brand (of ITV2’s Big Ass Show fame) talks openly about her fundamentalist Christian upbringing in this autobiographical show. It’s a far cry from the brash characters that made Brand’s name on telly – here she’s thoughtful, honest and candid.

Pleasance Courtyard, 4:45pm, 3-29 August, not 15

Jenny Collier: Jen-Hur

The debut hour-long show from this Welsh wonder. Collier’s been a finalist in most of the new act competitions, is a regular on BBC Radio Wales and has written for The News Quiz. It’s impressive writing, too, with plenty of rug-pulls, punchy lines and exquisite wordplay in her relatable tales.

Underbelly Med Quad, 5:30pm, 3-28 August

Robert Newman: The Brain Show

The erudite comic—who found fame in ’90s as half of Newman and Baddiel (guess which half)—explores whether some grand claims made by neuroscientists are actually true. Expect surprising, meticulously researched theories and the odd ukulele ditty in this part-comedy show, part-lecture – you’ll laugh and learn.

Summerhall, 7:15pm, 5-28 August, not 15

Tom Ward: Sex, Snails and Cassette Tapes

Tom Ward has one of the most impressive voices in comedy (ranking just under Matt Berry). Unsurprisingly, he’s an in-demand voiceover artist, too. This is Ward’s Fringe debut. Expect a mix of offbeat tales, ad breaks and bizarro observations, all performed with an intriguingly aloof persona.

Pleasance Courtyard, 9:45pm, 3-28 August, not 15