Some of our favourite Bristol-based comedians have deserted us for August, to tackle the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Rather than take it personally, we’ve decided to help them brag about how great their shows are. When they become world-famous, just remember you saw them first in a pub or theatre round here, yeah?
Becky Brunning: Bloom
Laughing Horse @ The Lock Up (Venue 238), 3:00-3:55pm – click here for tickets
Becky is incredibly easy to watch. A Funny Women finalist in 2013, and Bath New Act of the Year in 2014, she balances comedy with acting, and has managed to ace both. You’ll recognise Becky from loads of Bristol comedy nights, including Comedy at the White Harte and How Lazy Is He?
Bloom is about Becky wanting to have kids, and the hurdles she and her wife have to overcome to get there, like the huge price tag on sperm donors. It’s also about her slightly embarrassing dad.
Becky Povall and Jessie Nixon: Claptrap
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters (Venue 272), 11:30pm-12:25am – click here for details (free, non-ticketed)
When you see Becky and Jessie appearing on a Bristol comedy bill, either as hosts or performers, you know it’s going to be a great night – no wonder they’re each semi-finalists in the Funny Women Awards 2019.
Former secondary school teacher Becky ditched the classroom to win over comedy audiences with her relatable, confident brand of comedy; born and bred Bristolian Jessie has perfect comic timing and the kind of dating stories that should be made into a sitcom. Expect bare-faced honesty about relationships, bodies, work, and being a woman, from two acts who deserve to go far.
Bristol Improv: Dynamite!/Offscript!
Dynamite! – PBH’s Free Fringe @ BrewDog Lothian Rd, The Garage (Venue 102), 8:25pm – click here for tickets
Offscript! – theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Theatre 2 (Venue 53), 10:10pm – click here for tickets
Bristol Improv Theatre has reliable taste when it comes to comedy scheduling, so its regular improv team is in good company. With two shows heading up to Edinburgh, you’ve just doubled your chance to see this energetic bunch of Bristol students outside their usual Clifton habitat.
According to the warnings for these shows, you can expect audience participation, strong language and swearing, so that’s three big ticks from our point of view.
Bristol Revunions: Party/Roadtrip
Party – Just the Tonic at La Belle Angele, La Belle (Venue 301), 5-6pm – click here for tickets
Roadtrip – Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre, The Little Kirk (Venue 27), 10-11pm – click here for tickets
Forget Footlights – the uni students of Bristol Revunions have two Edinburgh sketch comedy shows to tempt you this year. Party is your late afternoon option for ages 12+, though apparently you can bring a baby for free (we recommend only bringing your own baby and not borrowing one), whereas Roadtrip is for ages 14+.
Either way, you’re in for a fast-paced hour of madcap sketches from these guys. They come with a four-star recommendation from industry critics Broadway Baby, too.
Gary Tro: The Greatest Superhero Movie Never Made
Gilded Balloon at Old Tolbooth Market (Venue 98), 3:30pm-4:30pm – click here for tickets
Gary was one of Bristol Comedy Guide’s top Edinburgh Fringe recommendations for 2018, but when he’s not being talent-spotted in Scotland, you’ll find him rocking Bristol comedy nights left, right and centre. He also has that Bristolian knack of wearing both dungarees and sequin jackets very well.
Superheroes are everywhere right now – on your telly, at the cinema, occasionally climbing on buildings in the name of Fathers 4 Justice – so Gary’s onto a good thing with his superhero-themed show.
And as a bonus, catch Gary as part of an improv duo, taking on the entirety of the Marvel Universe, and probably not sleeping for the entire month of the Fringe:
MARVELus: Improv the Marvelverse – Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire, Long Room (Venue 338), 1:20-2:15pm – click here for tickets
MARVELus: Awww Snap! – Gilded Balloon Teviot, Nightclub (Venue 14), 6:45-7:45pm – click here for tickets
George Rigden: Spooning with Uri
Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88), 6:15-7:15pm, click here for tickets
George Rigden is probably one of the best-known faces on the Bristol comedy scene. Even though he doesn’t live here (and yes, we do take that personally, George), he’s often found hosting A Bunch of Japes at Smoke and Mirrors, and popping up at other nights across the city with his trademark tweed jacket. According to the blurb for this show, he’s also appeared on most BBC TV channels and radio stations at some point, so he must be doing something right.
You might have heard a bit about George’s childhood friendship with spoon bender Uri Geller; this Edinburgh show lays it bare and mines it for comic potential. In light of Uri being such close friends with Michael Jackson, we really hope George has lawyered up…
Jessie Johnson: Mumblebrag [group show]
Laughing Horse @ The Brass Monkey (Venue 153), 11:15am-12:15pm – click here for details (free, non-ticketed)
Jessie recently shared a bill with Harriet Kemsley and Bobby Mair, and absolutely smashed her set, but she’s the last person to tell you how brilliant she is. This up-and-coming comedian is never afraid to try something new on stage, from ad-libbing about Tracey Beaker to reeling off a list of frog facts.
For 2019, Jessie’s part of a group show in Edinburgh. Mumblebrag is free with a bucket collection at the end, and it runs in a very handy pre-lunch slot, so you have no excuse not to see her take to the mic with her fellow comedians and chuck in a donation before you grab an overpriced Fringe meal.
Laura Fell: Simply Filthy
Paradise in Augustines, The Snug (Venue 152), 5:15-6:15pm – click here for tickets
If you like your comedy high-brow, but delivered by your most uncensored and unfiltered friend, let us introduce you to Laura Fell’s new show. She’s previously supported Simon Munnery at The People’s Comedy in Stokes Croft, but now it’s time for her Edinburgh debut, and she ain’t holding back.
The trailer for Simply Filthy features Gail Platt from Coronation Street, a traffic cone, and a Mexican wrestling mask. There’s also a nudity warning. Bring an open mind, and don’t bring your nan.
Louise Leigh: Identifiable
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (Venue 170), 1-6 August only, 10:30-11:30am – click here for details (free, non-ticketed)
Here at the Louise Leigh Fan Club (okay, so it doesn’t exist yet, but it should), we like our comedy dressed up in a yellow anorak and occasionally bursting into song. She riffs on marriage, motherhood, perfectionism and the awkwardness of body hair.
Louise also hosts the South West chapter of Funny Women, and is a champion of Bristol’s female comedians. Basically, it’s your duty to see her at the Fringe and find out about the two alter egos she’s trying to balance.
Martin Pilgrim: I Write Jokes, Not Tragedies
Just the Tonic at The Grassmarket Centre (Venue 27), 4:40-5:35pm – click here for tickets
Martin won’t tell you he’s big on Twitter, but his follower count is impressive. Either that, or his mum has a lot of fake accounts and too much time on her hands. When not gaining followers by the thousands, Martin is a regular at Bristol comedy nights, usually regaling us with stories of awkward or tragic things that have happened to him (or just the fact that he works in the Post Office, which ticks both boxes).
For this year’s Edinburgh show, Martin’s trying to break away from being the poster boy of sad Millennialism, with stories of teenage ska punk bands, his year abroad in Spain, and the weirdness of having a birthday on New Year’s Eve. The show is produced by fellow Bristolian funny man, Sam Schafer, and it’ll leave you laughing like a drain.
Mat Ewins: Actually Can I Have Eight Tickets Please
Just the Tonic at the Caves (Venue 88), 9-10pm – click here for tickets
Bristol University alumnus Mat is the antithesis of a spiky political comedian – he’s imaginative, silly and a breath of fresh air. The Guardian (accurately) called him ‘a very strange man’. He knows his way around PowerPoint, video editing software and Photoshop, and he isn’t afraid to use all three to wrap the audience around his little finger.
Mat’s 2017 show, Adventureman, was nominated for Best Show at the Fringe, and it won Best Show at the Comedians’ Choice Awards. His 2018 show was a sell-out hit, so expect big things. And yep, that’s a stock image he’s using, not FaceApp, so don’t be shocked when a young whippersnapper turns up instead of this generic-looking granddad with a timeshare in Spain.
Morgan Rees and Riordan DJ: Coming to Terms
Just the Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88), 11:45am-12:45pm – click here for tickets
Yes, it’s another two-Bristol-comedians-for-the-price-of-one show. Morgan Rees is quick off the mark; this Welsh storyteller (and finalist of BBC New Comedy 2017) mines his family and friends for comic potential. He also helps run Oppo Comedy, which hits The White Rabbit in Clifton every Wednesday.
Riordan DJ is a doctor-in-training (just insert your own joke about a funny bone here), and Chortle Student Comedy winner 2017. If the comedy and doctoring things fail, he could be a professional Harry Potter lookalike, but he’s too bloody talented to need those wizarding robes any time soon.