Tag Archives: Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards

Edinburgh Fringe, Day 20, Part 1: The Malcolm Hardee Awards nominations

The nominees for the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards have been announced. And the nominations are…


THE MALCOLM HARDEE AWARD FOR COMIC ORIGINALITY
(The award is for performers, not for shows although, obviously, that has some effect)

Terry Alderton
Rob Kemp
Elf Lyons
Mark Dean Quinn


THE MALCOLM HARDEE CUNNING STUNT AWARD
(for a cunning publicity stunt promoting a performer or show at the Fringe)

Damian Kingsley
…for handing out flyers while wearing a security guard’s jacket at venues other than his own, on the basis that punters are more likely to take flyers from a security guard rather than a normal flyer.

Martha McBrier
…for a publicity stunt for her Balamory Doubtfire show so complicated that even an explanation by her with a timeline does not fully unravel the layers. I still have no idea where the truth begins or ends and the scam starts or finishes.

Mark Dean Quinn
…for sundry flyering scams on behalf of other people but, in particular, for attaching stars and quotes from other shows on his own flyers, thus potentially subverting the Fringe ‘star’ system.


THE MALCOLM HARDEE ‘ACT MOST LIKELY TO MAKE A MILLION QUID AWARD’
(Means what it says on the label)

Rob Kemp
His Elvis Dead show and subsequent similarly-formatted shows could end up worldwide (if the music copyright problems could be overcome) and/or could be franchised.

Al Porter
Already presenting his own Irish radio show and the Irish version of Blind Date, he has now been commissioned for a BBC Radio one-off, showing potential to make the leap to the UK and beyond.


You will no doubt have picked-up that, highly unusually, two performers are nominated for two awards each…

Rob Kemp for the Comic Originality and ‘Million Quid’ Awards.

And Mark Dean Quinn in the Comic Originality and Cunning Stunt categories.

This is the third consecutive year that Al Porter has been nominated for the ‘Million Quid’ Award.

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Edinburgh Fringe: Why the Counting House is now free from Ballooning fees

The Gilded Balloon’s Counting House The signposted entrance on the left on the left is not the entrance

Gilded Balloon’s Counting House last year. The prominently signposted entrance on the left is not actually the entrance!

It was recently announced that The Counting House venue is reverting to the Laughing Horse Free Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, after it was last year poached by pay venue The Gilded Balloon.

I blogged about this in February last year under the title Gilded Balloon venue’s deal excretes on the spirit of the Edinburgh Fringe and, in August, under the title The Edinburgh Fringe venue that doesn’t know where its own entrance is.

The successful poaching expedition by the Gilded Balloon last year ousted the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show and the Grouchy Club comedy industry chat shows from their traditional venue of many years.

I thought I would ask Laughing Horse Free Festival boss Alex Petty about it and tracked him down in Thailand, on his way to Australia for the comedy festivals out there.

Well, “tracked him down” is a slight exaggeration. I FaceTimed him in his hotel in Thailand.

“Which festivals are you going off to?” I asked.

A selfie by Alex Petty in Thailand

A selfie taken by Alex Petty in Thailand

“Perth Fringe World, then the Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne Comedy Festival,” he told me. “The Australian festivals are basically like a three-month long Edinburgh. I get back to the UK at the end of April or beginning of May, then it’s straight down to the Brighton Fringe. It’s non-stop on Fringes and Festivals these days.”

“Are you looking at any other ones?” I asked.

“We have an eye on doing maybe either New Zealand or Sydney… and we are looking at Glasgow and Leicester in the UK.”

After these polite starters, I asked about The Counting House.

The Gilded Balloon (where acts pay to perform and audiences pay to watch) had billed their newly-acquired Counting House venue as Pay-What-You-Want – free for audiences to enter and they can (if they like) pay at the end plus they can guarantee themselves a seat by buying a ticket in advance. But, whereas under the Free Festival, performers did not pay to hire the venue, the Gilded Balloon charged performers a hire fee and various other fees which meant the venue was free for audiences but relatively expensive for performers.

This cynical dog’s dinner got – it seems to me – the reception it deserved.

“My understanding,” I said to Alex Petty, “is that the bar did not take as much money under the Gilded Balloon at last year’s Fringe as it had at previous Fringes under the Free Festival. And the Gilded Balloon did not take as much money from the shows as they expected.”

“I don’t know the numbers,” replied Alex, “but I think it was pretty obvious to anyone going there that the venue was a lot quieter than expected. And a lot of the performers were saying that. The Counting House very kindly said they would like us to go back and offered it to us for this year.

“I think,” he continued, “that the Gilded Balloon, with the whole Pay-What-You-Want thing, tried to ride on the coat-tails of Bob Slayer (who created the concept), but it wasn’t really Pay-What-You-Want. People who went in told me that audiences were turning up expecting shows to be free and the Gilded Balloon staff were trying to get people to buy tickets in advance. In the end, the Gilded was trying to sell tickets up-front and there were not the same numbers of people hanging around that there had been in previous years.”

(L-R) The Peartree courtyard, Counting House and Blind Poet in Edinburgh

(L-R) The Peartree courtyard, Counting House and Blind Poet

The Counting House is part of a triple venue – three pubs next to each other all with the same owners – The Blind Poet downstairs, The Counting House upstairs and The Peartree downstairs with a courtyard.

“The venue is being renovated, isn’t it?” I asked.

“They’ve just started now,” Alex explained. “It sounds like what was The Blind Poet is going to become the back end of the Peartree bar and become a performance space like it was before but letting you walk through into the Peartree courtyard. That will also give people access up the inside stairs into the Counting House as well.  So, in the Counting House, there will be the Lounge and the Ballroom and, upstairs from them, the Attic and the Loft.”

I asked: “Is Brian going to be back sitting outside on a stool by a barrel?”

The pub’s manager Brian had tended to sit on the pavement outside the entrance, giving information to audiences and interested passers-by. This was missing last year with a swarm of (in my view) officious and often ill-informed people in Gilded Balloon tee-shirts. On one occasion, the Gilded Balloon ‘helper’ on the pavement thought the entrance to The Blind Poet was actually the (entirely separate) entrance to the Counting House.

“Brian was very keen to have us back,” said Alex. “He had put so much work into things the year before (2015) and it really pushed the venue on and we had had so many plans for last year (2016) which did not happen when the Gilded Balloon took it over.

“We are going to try to sort out a slightly better place for him to sit in the Edinburgh ‘summer’ weather. I think, for a lot of people, Brian and his barrel were two of the mainstays of the Fringe a couple of years ago.

“It was such a shame to lose it but I completely understand what the owners did. It was a business decision.”

“I’m glad it’s back,” I said.

“So am I,” said Alex.

The increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show will be held 11.00pm-01.00am in the Ballroom of The Counting House on Friday 25th August. And The Grouchy Club will be in The Lounge live every afternoon for the second half of the Fringe.

The Blind Poet and Counting House with The Peartree on West Nicholson Street, as seen on Google StreetView

The Blind Poet and Counting House with The Peartree’s courtyard wall beyond (Google Street View)

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A serious song about being a comedian

Ursula Burns in Belfast this afternoon

Ursula Burns at home  in Belfast this afternoon

Ursula Burns – 2013 Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award nominee and dangerous Irish harpist – has just posted online the video for a new song – about being a comedian. So, obviously, I Skyped her about it this afternoon at her home in Belfast.

“It really is a serious song about comedy!” I said.

“Yes,” she laughed, “It is, isn’t it? The whole new album is serious. It’s not comedy.”

“What’s the album called?” I asked.

The Dangerous Harpist.”

“Of course it is,” I said.

Ursula’s upcoming Dangerous Harpist album

The upcoming Dangerous Harpist album – released in May

“It’s a collection of songs,” she explained, “that got sort of swept aside when I was on the comedy circuit for three or four years. There was a backlog of songs written along the way. I wasn’t just writing comedy stuff in that time. Some of the songs were written when I was on the road with the circus; some are more theatre-based, about when I was writing for theatre. I wrote a musical: we did 41 performances. So the album has theatrical, circus, comedy elements in the songs… and there is actually one happy one!”

“What’s it about?” I asked.

“It’s about crying in the toilet,” she laughed. “But it’s a very happy song. The songs are all slightly different flavours – snapshots… I suppose it’s like taking a picture wherever you are. Lots of songs had built up. It’s five years since I made an album and the last one was so different.”

“How?”

Ursula in a previous creative incarnation

Ursula in a previous creative incarnation

“It was really kinda Celtic and there was an esoteric aspect to it. It was inspired by a book of poetry I found in London by a poet called Fiona McLeod, who was actually a Scots guy called William Sharp, who was actually a mate of W.B.Yeats. The poetry was very spiritual, very nature-based. It was almost like John O’Donohue in his book Anam Cara. It was very Irish, very Celtic, very poetry, very musical, intensely musical.

“It was just before I wrote the Comedian song – There was that kinda crash of the dark side, going to somewhere. It was like I went from the light to the dark.”

“The light was the Celtic,” I asked, “and the comedy was the dark?”

“Sort of. Within myself. I think the thing about being funny… I think you have to tell the truth and, for me, it felt like a darker aspect – engaging with something dark.”

“You mentioned writing for theatre,” I prompted.

Little Red Riding Hood,” Ursula told me, “for the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. I composed the music. I wrote the wolf’s songs in the style of Tom Waits and Little Red in the style of Kate Bush and Björk.”

“And your album is called The Dangerous Harpist.”

“Yes.”

Ursula, on stilts, plays her harp in Belfast

Not dangerous? Ursula, on stilts, plays her harp in Belfast

“Are you dangerous?”

“No,” she laughed.

“The Comedian track,” I pointed out, “says you are ‘dangerous on the inside’.”

“Well,” Ursula replied, “you know the stereotype of comedians being depressed? It’s this on-the-edge feeling. I’ve been operating as a self-employed artist for 20 years and it’s about how that kind of really takes its toll on you. The aspect of smiling on the outside – making people laugh – but, behind it all, on the inside, there’s an intensity or a dangerous on-the-edge aspect to how you are living and how you are feeling.”

“When is the album being released?” I asked.

“On May the 4th – Star Wars Day.”

There is a video for the Comedian track on YouTube.

and here she is as a harpist.

 

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A comedy award winner in tights; fifth Fisting Day; and confused linguistics.

spectacularspectrumofnow_logoLast night, my comedy year was completed when I went to The Spectacular Spectrum of Now (image above) – Cassie Atkinson and Neil Frost’s quarterly show in London’s King’s Cross.

It was billed as a Psychic Strippers show and – sort of – delivered on both. But I went because the bill was such a cracker – Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award nominee The Story Beast, the very talented Katia Kvinge and Beth Vyse, very intelligent musical comedian Luke Courtier and Fred Strangebone as a walrus. There was also a bit of nudity at the end though I am not sure if this was 100% planned or not.

Michael Brunstrom last night - as Mary Quant

Michael Brunström last night – as Mary Quant

But the cherry on the cake – if cherry he be – was this year’s Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award winner Michael Brunström re-performing the act he sadly did NOT include in his Edinburgh Fringe show this year – 1960s fashion legend Mary Quant talking about her time on an Antarctic whaling vessel, dressed in a pageboy wig and tights, holding a home-made harpoon and speaking in what I still think is a slight German accent. Michael Brunström tells me it is not a German accent, so maybe it is a residual Chaucerian accent. But it is the second time I have seen it and I can but dream of a third time. Comedy gold.

After this welcome oddity, I went home to find an email from visual artist Marc Seestaedt, one half of the Berlin-based performance duo Sticky Biscuits who insinuated their way onto the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show in August this year by gatecrashing a live Grouchy Club show and auditioning unasked.

They are very good at self-promotion.

Which is what the email was about.

Hey John it said. This Wednesday is International Fisting Day (yes, that’s a thing that exists) and, if you feel like mentioning it, this video we did  is just right for the occasion.

I, perhaps foolishly, DID think he might be making it up but – No – tomorrow is, indeed, the the FIFTH annual International Fisting Day. Further than that, dear reader, I could not bear to investigate. But I should mention that Sticky Biscuits’ video is perhaps not for people who are easily offended. I might also say it could make some people uncomfortable. But I won’t.

But now to grander things – linguistics.

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that the Facebook computer translated

Тетка на идише шпилит, лучче, чем мы с тобой на иврите. Кроме того, она стендапистка и , реально классная!
as
Aunt in Yiddish nail, лучче than we are with you in Hebrew. In addition, she стендапистка and, really cool!

And Google Translate rendered the same
Тетка на идише шпилит, лучче, чем мы с тобой на иврите. Кроме того, она стендапистка и , реально классная!
as
Aunt Yiddish spiers, better than we are with you in Hebrew. In addition, it stendapistka and really cool! 

Which left me none the wiser.

I did two years of Russian at school but can only barely read Cyrillic.

However, my eternally-un-named friend (who neither reads Cyrillic nor understands Russian but has a Monk-like ability to uncover the truth) told me that стендапистка should, in fact, have a gap in it:

стендап истка

And, indeed, Google Translate successfully renders this as meaning:

Cleaning the stand-up – presumably stand-up comedian or stand-up comedy.

Thus the sentence becomes:
Aunt Yiddish spiers, better than we are with you in Hebrew. In addition, it is cleaning the stand-up and really cool!

It still means bugger-all, of course, so the linguistic mystery remains.

But I just thought I would clear that up slightly.

до свидания товарищ

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Alarm in the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show at the Edinburgh Fringe

John Fleming bearded in his den (Photograph by Nick Awde)

John Fleming bearded with plastic bag (Photograph by Nick Awde)

Yesterday’s penultimate live Grouchy Club involved a discussion not about comedy but about the difficulties of scripting and shooting pornographic movies – one of the comedians present had enquired about entering the profession.

My afternoon was then taken up by getting the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award trophies engraved and boiling eggs for the annual Scottish National Russian Egg Roulette Championships which were to take place at the increasingly prestigious two-hour Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show that night.

At the show itself, the awards were announced as:

Comic Originality – Michael Brunström
Cunning Stunt – Matt Roper
Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid – Laurence Owen

Mr Twonkey at the point of triumph (Photograph by Blanche Cameron)

Mr Twonkey at the point of his egg triumph (Photograph by Blanche Cameron)

The Scottish National Russian Egg Roulette Championships appropriately included performer George Egg and ‘Mr Spunky’ – an anonymous member of Mensa, which allowed one member of the audience to yell out: “He’s an egg head.” Fortunately the puns ended there and the worthy, if somewhat surprised, new Scottish National Russian Egg Roulette Champion is Mr Twonkey.

Comedy critic and Malcolm Hardee Awards judge Kate Copstick presented most of last night’s show, as co-host Janey Godley had to go off and be Spanked. (It’s a show… It’s a show.)

Miss Behave, who turned up halfway through from another show had been going to co-host on her arrival, but somehow it turned into an act where she unexpectedly swallowed a giant pair of scissors and two flaming torches. As the torches produced a fair amount of upwards-drifting smoke, I was rather relieved no smoke alarm went off in the room, because I knew what was going to happen at the end of the show.

Chris Lynam with a banger-up-the-bum last night (Photograph by Garry Platt)

Chris Lynam with his banger last night (Photograph by Garry Platt)

This was Chris Lynam, former member of The Greatest Show on Legs, who performed his famous or possibly infamous banger-up-the-bum routine. This involves him putting a firework between his buttocks and having it lit (on this occasion by Malcolm Hardee’s sister Clare) to the strains of Ethel Merman singing There’s No Business Like Show Business.

As this is not an act which is easy to follow, it ended the show and, sure enough, just as it ended, the room’s smoke alarm did go off. It seemed a fitting end.

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The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards shortlist etc etc at the Edinburgh Fringe

Papa CJ with publicity for his extra show

Papa CJ with publicity for his extra Edinburgh Fringe show

At the Edinburgh Fringe, time moves simultaneously fast and slow. It seems interminably long but we are already a week away from it ending. They say a week is a long time in politics. At the Fringe, in a few brief hours things can change dramatically.

At about 6.30pm last night, I had a chat for a future blog with Indian comedian Papa  CJ. He was flying home today. Then, this morning, I got a message that he was going to do an extra show tomorrow night at 5.15pm.

No idea what happened there and haven’t had time to ask.

Among other shows yesterday, I saw Jordan Brookes’ Adventures in Limited Space. Before the show actually started, he mentioned to his techie (in front of the audience) that he had had six Fosters Comedy judges in and had had a Daily Mirror 5-star review that morning. True or false, it’s a terrible way to start a show. Also, mentioning me being in the audience three times is counter-productive. Jordan – an actor – has a show in there somewhere, but in another three years perhaps.

The always excellent Alexander Bennett is only annoying because of his youth and the amount of hair he has. His show which promised I Can Make You a Moron largely failed to because he attracts and retains non-moronic audiences (myself excluded).

Chris Lynam has changed his entire act and is now Eric The Fred

Chris Lynam. New act. New face. Eric The Fred

Then there was Chris Lynam’s Eric the Fred. Chris was, legendarily, one of the Greatest Show on Legs troupe with Martin Soan and Malcolm Hardee. He gained some fame/infamy by sticking a firework (ideally a three-stage Roman Candle) between his buttocks and having it lit to the strains of Ethel Merman singing There’s No Business Like Show Business. Malcolm Hardee had tried this first but, with less buttock control than Chris, had let the incendiary droop and set fire to his own pubic hair. Chris was and is made of sterner stuff.

Chris’ Eric The Fred show is far from this and brings to mind Monte Carlo style mime and clown shows of the 1950s and 1960s and very up-market performance art shows. It would not go amiss in Las Vegas and is astonishingly sophisticated, complex and professional. It demonstrates where a bit of pyrotechnic nudity can take you if you have immense talent.

Which brings us to the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards. We drew up a shortlist this afternoon. There are three categories:

  • The Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality
  • The Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for best publicity stunt plugging an act or show at the Fringe
  • The Malcolm Hardee ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ Award
The bare image promoting the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards

The man it commemorates – Malcolm Hardee

The judges this year are: Marissa Burgess, Kate Copstick, John Fleming, Jay Richardson and Claire Smith.

I reckon there should probably ideally be three nominees in each category.

We started with 13 possibilities for the Comic Originality award and cut them down to 4.

There were 3 for the Cunning Stunt Award.

And 3 (which became 4) for the Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid Award.

The reason we had 4 not 3 nominees for the Comic Originality and Million Quid Awards was that we could not agree on whom to knock out. So it should be an interesting discussion we have at Friday lunchtime when we decide the winners.

The acts we finally agreed on for the shortlist were, in the nearest I can manage to alphabetical order:

COMIC ORIGINALITY

  • Michael Brunström
  • Richard Gadd
  • The Story Beast
  • Mr Twonkey

CUNNING STUNT

  • Miss Behave – for spreading around town large bits of brown cardboard with odd sayings on them and no show title but the hashtag MBGS (promoting Miss Behave’s Game Show)
  • Matt Roper – for getting access to critic Kate Copstick’s Facebook account and posting a message apparently from her praising himself)
  • Abigoliah Schamaun – for adding review stars from non-existent publications to her posters

ACT MOST LIKELY TO MAKE A MILLION QUID

  • Sarah Callaghan
  • Phil Ellis
  • Laurence Owen
  • Al Porter
Lewis Schaffer: creating a cult

Irrelevant but surely not unexpected picture of mentioned Lewis Schaffer

During our lively discussion, the name of Lewis Schaffer – almost inevitably – cropped up.

After Lewis Schaffer’s shocked reaction to his recent 5-star review in The Scotsman, Kate Copstick suggested: “If we really want to devastate Lewis Schaffer and possibly his chances for a future career, we should give him the award for the Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid.”

We decided against this as it might have made him tumble into an even steeper spiral of depressed hopelessness at the possibility of imminent success.

On a more tragic level, my toothache pops up occasionally, though still at a low level, and today, when I phoned up my dentist to make an appointment next week, I found out he was on holiday in India until 14th September.

I can only pray his plans are as fluid as Papa CJ’s.

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Naked ballet dancers, pigeons and Egg Roulette shock at the Edinburgh Fringe

Candy Gigi

Candy Gigi: one of her more reflective moments

More pigeon news. On Thursday in this blog, I mentioned the tussle performer Adrienne Truscott had with pigeons inside her flat.

Yesterday, Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards judge Claire Smith of The Scotsman told me she had seen last year’s Malcolm Hardee Award winner Candy Gigi running out of a sandwich shop.

She ran out of the shop shouting: “There’s a pigeon in there!  A pigeon!  It’s a really nice sandwich shop!  Don’t let that put you off!  There are not normally pigeons in it!”

On the final Friday of the Edinburgh Fringe, the increasingly prestigious 2015 Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards will be presented during the annual 2-hour variety show at the Counting House, as part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival.

I got another message from Claire Smith this morning:

Get the naked ballet dancers. They are called The Two Wrongies. They are in Miss Behave’s show. Completely naked except for swim caps and goggles. And they lift up their legs a LOT

As normal, part of the Awards show will be the annual National Scottish Russian Egg Roulette Championships. Or, as some might say, comedians smashing eggs onto their foreheads.

Alas, it looks like the President of the World Egg Throwing Federation will not be there to supervise it. I got this message from Andy Dunlop this morning:

Andy Dunlop weighs the alternatives

Andy weighing the alternatives in happier times

John, as I’m currently lying in the cardiac care unit of Lincoln Hospital sniffing nitroglycerin like there’s no tomorrow (indeed there might not be – so it goes), I am not permitted to promise I will make the trip up to Edinburgh for the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show. My deputy John Deptford is already briefed and is seeking a glamorous assistant for “his show”.

I was admitted to Lincoln Hospital last Tuesday and hope that the intended invasion via my groin into that important and but often mistreated and under-rated piece of muscle in my chest will sort out issues it has recently informed me about.

On a positive note, as per the last time I was unable to attend the show, I will donate my intended accommodation costs to Kate Copstick’s Mama Biashara charity…. as soon as I am able via a proper machine rather than this Kindle.

The Explorer 1 payload

Explorer 1 payload lost on way to International Space Station

On another issue, you sadly missed the World Egg Throwing Championships this year, but the English Graduated Gravitational Systems project to resupply the International Space Station had a successful test flight at Swaton when we launched our payload via the Eggsplorer 1 craft to 31,500 metres before it suffered a catastrophic failure to land 60 kilometres off Hull. It came ashore in Holland last week with egg payload still intact. The discovering Dutchman broke open the capsule to find that a raw egg does go bad after 6 weeks of floating in the North Sea.

Back on the bubble that is Planet Fringe, the mystery nameless girl mentioned in my blog yesterday, was grassed-up by performer James Hamilton and others as being Emma Levin. I confronted her on Facebook:

Emma Levin (left) revealed with Kate Copstick

Emma Levin (left) revealed with Kate Copstick

Have you any explanation for the secrecy (for quoting in tomorrow’s blog)? If not, I shall just make it up and ‘out’ you as part of an Oxbridge cabal.

She replied:

I guess, like a great many people who occasionally perform, I’m incredibly shy off-stage. It’s quite a boring explanation, but at least it’s logical. I know it’s an unconventional situation – someone asking *not* to have publicity during the Fringe –  but I think there are loads of  brilliant performers who actually want and deserve a mention in your excellent blog.

Which brings us to the weird shows I saw on the Fringe yesterday. they included:

James Hamilton is So Lonely
Emma Levin’s ever-weird grasser-upper in his first even weirder solo show after several years creating the weirdness of Casual Violence. I don’t think the time-travelling goggles will save him from the wrath of Emma Levin

The Church of Malcolm
This is billed as “a live rock gig sprinkled with a Kurt Vonnegut like worldview…Like a more positive take on the Rocky Horror Show.” It is the apparently true story of Malcolm Doherty who got leukaemia, saw an angel and is preaching the power of love and music by singing songs with his son on organ, a Brazilian on guitar and guest spots for a full-throttle stand-up routine by Ashley Storrie (children were temporarily removed from the room), a man singing an apparently anti-US capitalism song and a small lady of large proportions gyrating around quite a bit. I was confused. The audience were encouraged to wave their hands around a lot and shout out: “I agree!”

Mark Dean Quinn holds a flyer for his show

Mark Dean Quinn holds a flyer for his show

Mark Dean Quinn: Observation Without Comedy
Last year’s Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award nominee in an indescribably odd show with an unexpected monologue at the end. Apparently different audiences react totally differently each night. Last night there were a few embarrassed giggles intermingled with stunned and possibly confused reaction. The potential is there for tears, too. I liked it immensely.

Mark had flyered me in the street before the show. It was a tiny flyer.

“Drawing attention to yourself again?” I asked. “Any drawbacks.”

“Well,” he told me, “the main problem with tiny flyers is people lose them very easily. So, although it drums up loads and loads of interest, it doesn’t necessarily generate an audience. I suppose a tiny flyer generating a tiny audience is appropriate, but I will be making new, bigger flyers next week.”

Mr Twonkey brought along some stinking bishop cheese

Mr Twonkey brought along some Stinking Bishop cheese to the Grouchy Club…

Oh…

Yesterday was also the first in Kate Copstick and my daily live hour-long Grouchy Club shows at the Fringe.

23 people turned up: not bad for a minor Fringe show – one which did not appear in the Fringe Programme and had no flyers and no posters publicising its existence.

Possibly a lesson there.

Yesterday’s Grouchy Club included discussions of mass murder in Kenya, awful audiences/performers in Edinburgh, making porn films in Europe and an explanation of the term ‘stunt cock’.

And that is just in the brief 11-minute extract I posted online:

http://thegrouchyclub.podomatic.com/entry/2015-08-15T16_52_14-07_00

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