All Day Edinburgh – a benefit for PBH’s Free Fringe

It seems amazing that it has been 2 years since the first All Day Edinburgh. While that one was a benefit for Shelter, this one is going towards Peter Buckley Hill’s Free Fringe. Tickets were announced a few weeks ago and they sold out in half an hour. Luckily I got one of the 100 tickets available, as did a fair few of my comedy friends.

I got to the pub around 1230 and met Neal for lunch, soon to be joined by Bob, Hitch, Heather, Jack and Sarah and others and got downstairs nice and early, in plenty time to grab a front row seat.
Anyway, the announced line up was ace, including Robin Ince, Simon Donald, Tony Law, Thom Tuck, Cariad Lloyd, Liam Mullone, The Trap, Richard Herring, Tiffany Stevenson, Matt Kirshen, and Dan Antopolski, amongst others. It works out at around 25 acts for £20. I decided I would attempt to be relatively sensible as it was obviously going to be a long long day. I’ve decided not to write about everyone as this blog would be far too long, but concentrate on the acts that I loved the most.

Michael Legge
Matt Kirshen

The show started with Michael welcoming us to the show, raging against the weak female comedians who were unable to come to the show as they were ill, before speaking about Kate Smurthwaite’s accusation of Robin Ince’s sexism for wearing a Hefner t-shirt. The phrase “paper mache bastard” was mentioned. Can anyone guess who he was referring to? After a short while he introduced us to the first act, Matt Kirshen.

Matt presents “Set List” which is an improvised show where comedians don’t know what the topics of their set are going to be till they flash up on a screen. These have all been selected by the audience. Today Matt was going to do it himself with topics written by Michael, and on an appropriately low-tech sheets of paper. Most comedians say that Set List is a terrifying, but ultimately great experience where they are free to experiment even though the results can be very varied in quality!

Matt is a very likeable comedian whose baby face disarms you at first. He got through such topics as “fizzy houmous” and “what’s the deal with airline foo” (no, I haven’t misspelled it!) with the same expected mixture of success! We also learned what people on each side of the Irish divide call a vagina. Go and see Set List if you get a chance. I went to a recording a while back as they are turning it into a TV series.

Dan Antopolski

Bravely stepping into the missing Nick Doody’s shoes was Paul Litchfield, appearing as his Sean Goldsworthy character. Sean has appeared a few times before, mainly as part of Los Quattros Cvnts (RIP) who is one of Somerset’s leading online erotic fiction writers. Today, as it was so close to Halloween, he read us one of his erotic vampire stories, about Count Florentine Daggerpoke, trying not to corpse while uttering such ludicrous phrases such as “then the gong would be gonged” and “ofen he would take home a sack of tits as a doggy bag”. There was to be more of Paul later as part of the amazing sketch group, The Trap.

Liam Mullone was on next. I had never seen him before but had heard a lot of good things about him. With his thick glasses and delivery style he reminded me of Harry Hill. He discussed how much hard manual labour his wife would have to do in order for him to be happy for her not to change nappies. He’s definitely someone I would much prefer to see a full show from.

Rachael Parris

Jigsaw couldn’t make it, but we did her one third of them in the shape of Dan Antopolski. A very very funny man, with a combination of one liners and unusual thoughts. Some excellent thoughts such as “What do you prefer? Her bridal train dragged behind her like a prolapsed rectum…. or vice versa”! Dan is always guaranteed 100% funny and never seen him perform at anything less.

After a brief interval, it was time for Rachel Parris who gave Michael a bit of stick back for his comments earlier about the sick female comics! normally I dread musical comedy but Rachael is genuinely excellent. She did a great song that she has “submitted” to the new High School Musical, followed by the next X Factor winners song, which had all the cliches you would expect: the inspiring verses, the wobbly show off vocals, and the chorus “I’m Amazing”. She also did a middle class blues song, which reminded me a lot of Diamanda Galas’s blues vocal style.

Simon Munnery
Tiff Stevenson

There was a new addition to the bill: the legendary Simon Munnery. I’ve seen Simon a few times now and he is one of the best comedians in the UK. He did his standard routines, nothing as experimental as some of his full shows, but as ever, totally on form, starting musical statues (which I ended up losing) then his “Stop the war” song. Another song ended up like a football chant from a Sainsbury’s fan, railing against Tesco and Morrissons. Simon has been going for many years and still has a punk style to his comedy.

Stuart Goldmith and victim.

Tiff Stevenson was up next . She hosts the Old Rope new material night at the Phoenix every Monday and came runner up in “Show Me The Funny” and is great fun. She can be pretty filthy (which we like) and spoke about cosmetic surgery, joked about people thinking she is pregnant while she drinks wine (“Don’t worry, I’m not keeping it”) and went down a storm, climaxing with shouting “Smash your back doors in!” to Sarah!

Marlon Davie

Stuart Goldsmith came on next. I had seen him before at Michael Legge’s Private Hell. He was another “Show Me The Funny” contestant too. He was trying to condense his entire Edinburgh show down to 10 minutes, and confessed it should be quite easy due to the amount of padding. Stuart does a great podcast called “Comedian’s Comedian“. It’s not a comedy podcast as such but a podcast about comedy, focussing on established comedians speaking about their writing techniques and is aimed at up and coming comedians. But if you’re a comedy nerd like me, it’s worth a listen. He noticed that both Neal and I were in the front row again, and had to pick on someone in the 2nd row who after telling us about his lesbian hen night, proceeded to climb on his lap and caress him.

Cariad Lloyd

His set ended with the shortest ever Comedian’s Comedian podcast with a 3 second interview with Michael. I hope this joke goes further than the gig and ends up being released. Stu assured me it will!

Marlon Davis is someone I had never seen before. And my, wasn’t he lovely. He brought out my maternal side, He has a lovely smiley face, which he acknowledged doesn’t give him any authority at all, along with his voice.

Cariad Lloyd came out as Joey Bechemal. Joey is a kooky,clumsy and extremely annoying Californian girl. she broke character a couple of times just to make sure we all realised this. She took a liking to Hitch, bellowing at him “Are you hard yet?” as she tried to make herself unthreatening to the girls, but attractive to the guys. “I’m not a model, I’m a geek!” She left the stage, doing the “call me” mime to Hitch.

Michael Legge and Robin Ince
James Acaster

Robin Ince joined Michael on stage to vent some pointless anger and righteous ire. Robin railed against Michael for looking so young. Well, he had shaved his beard off, and Robin was also furious about people who tell people to “grow a pair”, James Dellingpole, before Michael shared his vegan sausage with him which tasted of the memory of gravy made be a relative with dementia. By the end though, Robin declared that Michael had made him happy again.

Simon Donald

Dab & Tench arrived to kick off the next section and gave us a quick acting lesson, wihch was very silly indeed. Then came James Acaster. He’s a guy I’ve heard so many good things about but this was the first time I had seen him. He asked myself how many crumbs there were in a loaf of bread. I guessed 24000, but the next girl to guess got it spot on. (15000). I was mocked for getting this wrong. Then we had to guess how many breadcrumbs could coat a Scotch egg. Again, I got it wrong and my nemesis was spot on. The final question though I redeemed myself by getting it spot on and my competitor was humiliated. Go and see James Acaster immediately!

The Trap (Paul, Dan and Jeremy)

I’m going to a show in November where Michael Legge and Simon Donald (yes, him off Viz) are going to perform their 2012 Edinburgh shows. I got a taster of Simon Donald next where he discussed swearing in rather a lot of depth, which I guess wouldn’t surprise you. He spoke about how adding the letter “e” to shit makes a whole new swear word up north and in Scotland, but doesn’t necessarily work on other words. He also told us about Threadneedle Street, which in Victorian times, part of which was called Cuntgrope Lane, and ended up railing against the rise of the double negative. I’m looking forward to the main show already.

Catie Wilkins

You’ve heard about me speak about The Trap many times before, and after being introduced as “the fat ones from Los Quattros Cvnts” by Michael, they took to the stage where Dan Mersh explained their Bad Musical show that they were going to do a couple of excerpts from, and was keen to try to put it into context for us. They started with the “Touch In, Touch Out” song and ended with Paul singing a very emotional musical style song that went on for eternity as Dan and Jeremy looked on with increasing frustration.

Aisling Bea

Catie Wilkins finished this part of the show, and seemed a much less nervous as I’ve often seen her before. She spoke of herself as a “sex positive feminist on the go” and updated some Yo Mama jokes through the ages, and went on to speak about feminism ina genuinely funny way. Yes I know, I shouldn’t be surprised by this, but her demeanour meant that there was no feeling of being preached at.

We were now on to the final section opened by the amazing Aisling Bea. Again, I’ve seen her before at Los Quattros Cvnts. She spoke about women dancing like men having sex and her theories of dancing. “Dance music is the easiest form of music to dance to as it is named after the main form of dance, which is dance”. Unfortunately this wasn’t as long as I had hped for as I think they were running over time.

Tony Law

Without further ado, Tony Law was introduced by a babble of Irish words by Michael. Tony tried to carry on the accent but gave up after a few moments thankfully. Tony is one of my favourite comics on the circuit today. he spoke about his part pirate part iking look, and about the times he spent on Viking raids and playing the old traditional game of scoopmud. His stream of nonsense was almost hypnotising as you became part of his extremely silly world.

Richard Herring

The penultimate act was one of my favourites, and the reason I got into the stand up scene in the first place, Richard Herring. I had hoped for the mini-RHEFP, but this was not to be. He gave us a short 10 minute section of his current show, Talking Cock, which I have talked about at length elsewhere. It’s always good to see Richard, and looking forward to seeing him “interview” Dave Gorman on Monday at RHLSTP!

Thom Tuck

And finally we were here. the final act of the night. The Penny Dreadfuls closed the show 2 years ago, and tonight it was one of them, Thom Tuck that had the honour. Thom’s stage persona of a rather posh ex-student is surprisingly likeable. He told us that Thom Tuck was his real name and he wasn’t from a fairy tale as his name might suggest. His Tescometron joke was his opener (if you haven’t heard it you won’t get it) and spoke of his problems with coming across as masculine and his annoyance with the lack of semi-colon in cigarette packet warnings.

Soon it was all over, and Michael brought Peter Buckley Hill to the stage to say a few words. Peter is a lovely man, like your favourite uncle and I think anything people can do to support his free fringe is worth it.

A few of us stayed till the Phoenix closed, which was sooner than I thought. We headed to The old Explorer which also closed. Eventually Hitch and I went to a bar in Kings Cross I know and had a couple there. to be honest, things were getting a bit fuzzy by then.

Michael had earlier told us that he woldn’t be doing All day Edinburgh again, as it is so hard to organise, but I for one am looking forward to All Day Edinburgh 2013. Bring it on!

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