Sunday, 30 June 2019

History Of Edinburgh Fringe, Part 1 to 6


Brand new from the Socks, a complete history of the Edinburgh Fringe in a series of videos to be released between now and August. Today (Sunday) we recorded the first half dozen episodes, and this is the first to go live. Part 1: The Big Bing.

Part 2: 'Fringe'

Part 3: Free Festival

Part 4: Beyond The Fringe

Part 5: David Frost

Part 6: Too Big

Enjoy.


The Scottish Falsetto Socks brand new show ROLL UP! is previewing Nationwide:

June 27 - Neath Comedy Festival
July 4 - Maesteg Town Hall 
July 8 - Barnes Fringe
July 12 - Kings Arms Salford, GM Fringe
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 28 - Derby Bar One 

July 31st - August 25th, The Scottish Falsetto Socks ROLL UP! at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose 9.30pm, every night of the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Sexy new venue, sexy new timeslot. Book now!

Friday, 28 June 2019

And then there were five… previews left. Notes after Neath


We do Neath Comedy Festival every year, pretty well, and The Old Duke is our regular venue for previews. The biggest challenge is not hitting your head on the low-lying beam above the stage (I avoided it this time). The second biggest challenge is making sure you entertain an audience who might not have seen you before (it was about 50/50 when we asked them) and definitely need you to keep up the laugh quotient. Not necessarily a tough crowd, but closer to a comedy club audience than a Socks-fan-filled theatre show.

Unlike our last preview in Grassington, Neath were harder work, but when we got them on board they were great. We were wrong-footed at the start (always a bad thing) by technical hiccups. Tony the owner, and acting technician, had a great lighting set up for us. Then, as soon as Noel James took the stage to introduce us, flicked from full white lights to red, for no obvious reason. So the Socks had to get him to put the lights right in our opening moments, which is hard to do when you’re trying to make a funny impact and give them confidence in you.

Then the sound balance was bad, which meant me adjusting the volume on my iPod during the first number (to be honest, I’m not sure Tony’s hearing is what it was back in the day when he was DJ-ing at The Marquee and rivalling Emperor Rosko for biggest touring rig in the country. Yes, we had a great chat at the start of the show, I like Tony.)


Once we’d got over that stumbling start, we started winning them round with the opening gags and what they could hear of I’m A Sock. The rest of the show’s running order was the same as Grassington with these notes:

Annie The Elephant - dropped this, it’ll stay dropped
Audience suggestions - Fire eating was excellent. Sadly their first choice was juggling so we did Juggling Dr Who. This is always going to look less great when it happens, just cos it’s not spontaneous, but we’ll have to live with it.
Australian Accents Song - getting better, still needs a stanza cutting
Nicole & Clown - after a good first half, which peaks with the Magic Routine, we’re still suffering a trucker’s gear-change when the second half is more sitcom than sketch show. Good laughs, but not the same as first half.
Pagliacci - struggles when the room’s not totally swept up in the show. Not bad, but a harder room makes you want to make every bit funnier
Grand Finale - intro (two scripts) really needs to be clearer, but lots of good laughs from this whole routine, right up to the punchline.
Ended with Sweary Poppins. Again a cop out, but a damn good ending for a club-type venue (we were the first half of a double bill, with Noel James doing his hour afterwards.)

So, lots of stuff to work on. The next day (Friday) I sat out in the sun in the garden with a biro and did some solid rewriting. Let’s see how much of the new material, including rough things called Cold Dead Hands, Susan Calman gag, Accents Challenge, Stealers Wheel gag, Stalker subplot, Out Of Your League routine, and Fair Dinkum, make it into the next preview on July 4th in Maesteg.

UPDATE: July 4th Maesteg. The above script amends, written in the back garden while I got my back sunburned and performed a week later as the skin peeled, went in and they worked. Maesteg were a smaller crowd (another hottest day of the year) but more warmed-up than Neath and the show was tighter, with no false starts.

Audience suggestion was firing from a cannon. The second time we've tried it, and fresh as ever, v good. Accents challenge worked well. The new Greggs prop with longer stick worked, and is now choreographed properly. New Clown gags worked, Fair Dinkum worked, Stealers Wheel got very good laughs. New Nicole Kidman outfit debuted (Hev sewed this week, so the two match) and almost worked, except I lost the prop just before its final appearance, one of the small performance cock-ups I have to avoid. Most reassuringly good laughs are for the Finale which is now very tight. The punchline of the whole show is still anticlimactic and, as always, we ended with Sweary Poppins. I fear we may have to make that our official closing number. (Goes off to Google if we've ever actually ended the Edinburgh show with it).

UPDATE: July 8th Barnes. At the OSO Theatre we gave them that same basic script again. Once more the biggest problems are the fluffs. I have to get the props on cleanly, and have smooth material flowing to cover the costume changes, otherwise it really makes the show stutter.

Greggs prop - hand came off in middle of routine, that's not good. Fix it. Also it's messy in the finale when they are all wearing each others costumes but could be clearer. Need to open the show with confidence when we're acting as our own warm-up act, so try and avoid ad-libbing before the audience have 'got' the characters and you've delivered good funny lines. Audience suggestion was lion taming, which got a shout of 'fix' when I produced the lion prop, but still went well.

UPDATE: July 12th Manchester, Kings Arms Salford. A small crowd in a hot room, and a good test of the material. Really need to make the opening section stronger, it's still a bit bitty. And I want to move the Pagliacci routine to earlier in the show, it holds the flow up being where it is. Everything else was good, but I want to make it better still. Lots of lovely audience Sock-selfies at the end, which is a real feelgood factor.


The Scottish Falsetto Socks brand new show ROLL UP! is previewing Nationwide:

June 27 - Neath Comedy Festival
July 4 - Maesteg Town Hall 
July 8 - Barnes Fringe
July 12 - Kings Arms Salford, GM Fringe
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 28 - Derby Bar One 

July 31st - August 25th, The Scottish Falsetto Socks ROLL UP! at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose 9.30pm, every night of the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Sexy new venue, sexy new timeslot. Book now!

Monday, 24 June 2019

Travels With My Art & Facebook notes


My School ID photo from just one of this month's many visits, no problem recognising me.

It's been such a busy month of travels, with Comic Art Masterclasses and Socks shows, that I find my blog and my Facebook & Twitter have been quite thin on material. I've had nothing much to say, few observations to make. It's almost like I've been spending half my life driving, and the other half either colouring comic book covers by kids or rewriting the Socks script. So, a quick speed through the last month's travels, let's see if I did anything remarkable.

I did classes at the Royal Academy in May. Hev tells me I should put things like that on my website, and perhaps I should. For me the outstanding memory is that I called Tim Marlow Quentin Wilson. I'm sure he's forgotten it too.

I've done three trips to Ireland in the past six weeks, of various profitability. Kennedy College in New Ross cost £89 in flights, £45 car hire, £35 parking, and £45 for hotel (£225 costs); Strule Arts in Omagh cost £203 in flights (including hold bag for the Socks, which wasn't used), £59 car hire, £60 hotel, and an infuriating £64 parking (cos I forgot to prebook), making a fruitless £386 in costs. Think of my trips to Ireland as paid holidays, not profitable parts of my business. (Ardhowen in Enniskillen fell somewhere between the two).


Imogen and Ben's wedding was in May, a very pleasant affair. I caricatured as part of our present. Here's just one of the many photos we took.

In all, through May and June, my travels have taken me to Newcastle, Horris Hill, Royal Academy, New Ross, Henley In Arden, Enniskillen, Manchester, Halifax, Vauxhall, Brighton, King's Heath, Redhill, Neath, Manchester, Backwell, Swindon, Uley in Gloucestershire, Hendon, Grassington in North Yorkshire, Omagh and home (with Hertfordshire, Leeds and Neath to come this week).

Random Facebook jottings:

Who knew what Ochlocracy was?

Thanks to Brain of Britain I know a new word. Quite appropriate, given that it means a nation ruled by the mob. #Brexit

June 5: Just watched 3 hours of 63 Up/ 7 Up and half an hour of Mum. No you've got no blooming tear ducts left.

Captain Clevedon Schoolkids Special - calling all schools.

I've already had some promising response to my idea of kids making a Captain Clevedon comic. If you're interested in helping this happen, read on...

What I do regularly is go into schools and give my Comic Art Masterclasses, at the end of which every class has produced an A5 photocopied comic containing a strip by every one of them, and I’ve done their individual caricatures. This week alone I’ve done them in Backwell, Manchester, Neath and Swindon, and next week I’ll be doing them in North Yorkshire.

Recently, as a development of my classes, I’ve worked with various organisations putting together fully printed colour comics by school kids, which they’ve been able to give away locally. The most recent is Hounslow Histories wherein the kids had interviewed some local old folk, then we turned their stories into the finished A4 8 page magazine. You can see the whole thing here.

The idea came up on Twitter of reviving Captain Clevedon, the local superhero who I last make a comic about back in 2011, and making a new comic of his adventures, co-written with and drawn by local school kids.

I have an idea for a story in which the kids get to invent villains and monsters, however crazy, and have them trying to attack bits of Clevedon. A good excuse to get them drawing some local geography and architecture as well as making up their usual unpredictable nonsense. I’d then knit this together into a coherent comic.

How we’d get this printed is the bigger question, and one I’m happy to look into. I have a notion for selling ad space which would fund it as a free comic.

To produce the basic components, I’d propose coming into school to give my classes - I can do two in a day with up to 30 pupils in each class - and do this at my normal school rate.

It wouldn’t take many kids for us to end up with a comic’s worth of stuff under my guidance. The Hounslow Histories comic came from just two classes, in one day. Though previous comics (Magna Carta in Barking and Lincoln, and Migration in Milton Keynes) were the fruit of three or four days of classes.

If you are part of a school that might be interested in participating in the Captain Clevedon Schoolkids Comic, then email me at kevf.sutherland@gmail.com and we'll compare diaries.

If you’d just like my regular Comic Art Masterclass, it comes to the same thing, I’d love to come and share my expertise, in my role as The Man From The Beano Who Also Worked For Marvel.

June 16: And today's good news, Talking Pictures TV is about to start showing Get Some In. I loved this at the time, and it's written by Esmonde & Larbey of Good Life fame. Starting next month TalkingPictures TV https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_Some_In!

June 21: No need to boycott the BBC, as Sun readers are saying they'll do today. I haven't watched it since this morning, and apart from Killing Eve, Mum, Years And Years, Ghosts, The Unexplainers, Trust Me, The Victim, Alan Partridge, Back To Life, Have I Got News, Only Connect, University Challenge, Top Of The Pops 1987 and 1988, Gentleman Jack, Les Miserables, Fleabag, Line Of Duty, Baptiste, Eastenders, Pose, The Eurovision Song Contest and BBC Breakfast, I've hardly watched it in the last 6 months.

(And apart from John Finniemore, The News Quiz, Radcliffe & Maconie, Popmaster, Brain Of Britain, The Media Show, The Film Programme, Word Of Mouth, The Now Show, Pick Of The Pops, Counterpoint, More Or Less, The Today Programme, reruns of Hancock, Clare In The Community, Cabin Pressure, The TED Talk, The Moth Radio Hour, The Archive Hour, and those three hour long compilations they do every Saturday morning on 4 Extra, I've hardly listened to BBC Radio either)

June 21: Just watched a really frustrating documentary: Yacht Rock. It's half an hour of doc, squeezed into 60 minutes, with spurious theories and not enough detail. And then it ends abruptly. I had to go online to find that that was only part one, and it continues next week. What a dreadful bit of editing, and all the more annoying cos I'm interested in the subject.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Pigs, Wolves, Goats - kids comics from Grassington Festival


My great thanks to the Grassington Festival in North Yorkshire, who not only arranged a sellout show for the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre on Monday night, but also scheduled four days at the primary schools of the area. In all I visited six schools and every one of them produced excellent comics and were a delight to work with. These were from Grassington Primary itself.


Boyle & Petyt School has a fascinating history (which you can read here) and, like all this week's schools, occupies impressive old buildings in a stunning rural landscape. The kids managed to include the name of the village in both comic titles, and I was quite pleased with the cover designs I knocked up. The colour, by the way, is done by me after the fact then emailed back to the schools (a little bit of aftercare I like to throw in, you're welcome).


Threshfield school in the morning, Burnsall in the afternoon. These schools have done a marvellous job of joining forces to keep themselves open despite their very small class sizes. Most of this week's classes were just 16 to 18 pupils, and that included two years together. The resulting attention the kids are able to get from their teachers makes these a perfect place to send the kids, and great fun for me to work with. Even if they mentioned Donald Trump and toilets in their title.


This morning's school was in the village of Kettleton and Starbotton, so inevitably I made a running joke of calling it Starbottom and pretending I didn't understand them trying to correct me. Yes, I have the sense of humour of an eight year old. Cracoe is pronounced Cray-ko not Crack-oh, for the record, and was a fine final school of the week. Excellent work all round, thankyou again Grassington Festival.


The celebrities these eight groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were David Walliams, Lady Gaga, Michael Whittaker (a showjumper, I'm told), Michelle Obama, Jeremy Kyle, Ariana Grande, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump.


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Grassington Preview - notes after a great show


I wish the Socks had posed with a different costume, this is the same shot we took in Brighton. Sigh.

Thanks to the good people of Grassington Festival in North Yorkshire, the Socks just had their best Roll Up Preview yet. A selllout in advance (80 bums on seats I believe) and the best laughter throughout we've had yet. A lot of that was down to them being a beautifully receptive and supportive audience, and I don't fool myself that the script's strong enough yet for that to happen across the board, but very promising. Here are my notes.


First half of the show - solid and hilarious. Last third needs the most work.

The brand new material tonight was Australian Accents Song which actually didn't get as many laughs as I thought it would but is still good, and is staying. The rest of the show had had a trim, and a re-ordering and now needs smoothing. Here's what they got:

Intro gags / Socks Song / Circus gags
Music Hall Medley - moved to first song since Redhill, perfect
Performance Artist - perfect
Philip Astley - now first half and music only, perfect
Audience suggestions - tonight we did fire eating (1st time) and lion tamer, both good
Annie The Elephant - now in a good position, it can stay
Juggling Dr Who - went well, can stay
Magic Routine - perfect as always, but now it's not the first good thing. By now we're almost at the half hour mark.
Nicole Kidman - good
NEW: Australian Accents Song - not as many laughs as I wanted, but it'll get them. May shorten.
Lady In Pants - good
Ask her out - good
Clown  - good
Clown's Song - now moved to earlier in order, very good
Pagliacci Routine - moved, now much better
Greggs Song - moved and shortened by a stanza, very good. I'm worried at this point there have been too many songs clustered together, though they were going down increasingly well.
Nicole Kidman spoken for - good
Eurovision Song - good, but is the drama good enough here and is it too many songs in a row?
Grand Finale intro - messy costume changes, but gets the laugh when it's clear
Little Baby Jesus first scene - good, needs clarity
Mixed costumes - good, but more by accident than design, needs clarity
Final clown scene - good but could have clearer action
Trapeze scene - good, first time that's really worked
Punchline - good, but audience still don't like that's the end of the show.

We closed with Sweary Poppins, (preceded by adlib songs which went well) which then got praised on Facebook as someone's favourite bit, which is a shame cos it's a bit of fallback material and I'd rather close on something new. Up till that point we'd done 57 minutes, which is about right.

So, work needed on the final third, and we need to look at the cluster of songs that are all bunched up in part two.

While I'm thinking about that, I am taking great pleasure from the current state of our advance sales. I know from past experience that this can change on a sixpence, but right now Roll Up's advance sales are beating any previous year ever, as you can on this snapshot of the graph. Minging Detectives (2015) had the best June sales then levelled off to equal the same as its surrounding years, while 2010's On The Telly continued to skyrocket, remaining our biggest final total ever. Let's see whose trajectory we follow from here. Onwards and upwards.




The Scottish Falsetto Socks brand new show ROLL UP! is previewing Nationwide:

June 27 - Neath Comedy Festival
July 4 - Maesteg Town Hall (NEW DATE)July 8 - Barnes Fringe
July 12 - Kings Arms Salford, GM Fringe
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 28 - Derby Bar One 

July 31st - August 25th, The Scottish Falsetto Socks ROLL UP! at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose 9.30pm, every night of the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Sexy new venue, sexy new timeslot. Book now!

Sunday, 16 June 2019

TV of the Year so far - Favourites & Better-Thans


Halfway through the year’s telly and, from the viewing point of someone who used to think he watched way too much telly, I don’t think I’ve heard so much telly discussion in ages. Inevitably people are talking about TV I’ve not seen (eg Chernobyl, Love Island, and Game Of Thrones) but the worst thing for me is people not having heard of, let alone watched, TV that I think is outstanding.

So here are a few favourites, hidden gems, and “Better-Thans”, from this year’s TV so far, most of which is still available to watch.

BETTER THANS

Better Than Line Of Duty: Trust Me 
(The second series of Trust Me (BBC 1), with a totally new line up & storyline, was the tensest thriller on primetime TV this year, unlike Line Of Duty (BBC 1) which just looked low budget)

Better Than Baptiste: Cheat
(One written by Harry & Jack Williams on BBC, the other showrun by them on ITV)

Better Than Good Omens: Ghosts
(One a bit outdated with echoes of Horrible Histories (Amazon), the other brand new & by the creators of Horrible Histories (BBC 1))

Better Than MotherFatherSon: anything 
(Hard to believe this was written by the guy who wrote Assassination of Versace, it truly was awful. BBC 2)


HIDDEN GEMS

The Unexplainers (BBC Wales - Mike & Eggsy from Goldie Looking Chain investigate mysteries, hilarious)
Back To Life (BBC 3 - Daisy Haggard creates, co writes & stars)
Urban Myths (Sky Arts - excellent 3rd series, best yet, including the trial of Joan Collins, Freddie Mercury & Kenny Everett taking Princess Di to the Vauxhall Tavern, and Macca writing Yesterday)
Shadows (Talking Pictures TV - rerun kids ghost stories from 1975, just one of the brilliant treasures to be found on this splendid archive channel)


FAVOURITES

This Time With Alan Partridge
Mum 3
Fleabag 2
Derry Girls 2
Years And Years

And your suggestions would be..?


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here


The Scottish Falsetto Socks brand new show ROLL UP! is previewing Nationwide:

June 17 - Grassington Festival Yorkshire
June 27 - Neath Comedy Festival
July 4 - Maesteg Town HallJuly 8 - Barnes Fringe
July 12 - Kings Arms Salford, GM Fringe
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 28 - Derby Bar One 

July 31st - August 25th, The Scottish Falsetto Socks ROLL UP! at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose 9.30pm, every night of the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Sexy new venue, sexy new timeslot. Book now!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Masterclass - a little bit of detail


To be honest, in most of my Comic Art Masterclasses there isn't a lot of opportunity to go into details with the pupils and their work. I work with quite large groups, only for a couple of hours, so I do a lot of demonstrating from the flipchart, but only a little bit of helping the kids out individually. And inevitably, given the size and mixed ability of many of my groups, there's sometimes more effort goes into crowd control and attention-grabbing than in going into detail on how each kids work could be improved.

So this week's day long class at Backwell was a treat. Not only was it a small group of only 17 pupils, but they were all interested in the subject. (There is nothing as dispiriting as a kid who's ended up doing your class against their will. None of those today.) Which meant I was able to answer their questions about how to draw things, and tackle a few challenges. For those of us who write and draw comics all the time, these things might seem obvious, even cliches. But to year 7 and 8 pupils who are just getting into their manga and comics drawing, I like to think it was invaluable.

Above, for example, I rather went to town on the challenge of showing a giant chicken attacking a city. I'm rather pleased with how the perspective turned out - remember I'm drawing this quickly, on the hoof, while talking to a class full of kids, doing most of it straight on with pen. This sort of thing can go very wrong very quickly. The biplane and the chicken, from the kids suggestion, are googled on my phone, and I demonstrate how working from reference can look good and be done quickly.


This flipchart page contains a few different strip examples, based on idea the kids were struggling with. We can see someone being woken by an alarm clock, a day divided up around a clock face, someone discovering they've missed their plane, a motorbike race from the commentators box to a cutaway from a crash, and a half-man half-cat ordering a drink at a bar. Well, they seemed to work at the time.


Crowd scenes are always good to help kids with. The pupil who prompted the top sketch had drawn a crowd scene which was just a grid of 100 equally sized stick figures. I showed him how a few lines of people with perspective could show the scale of the crowd, without needing too much actual detail. The second picture was the classic "audience watching a stage", which came out nicely despite being drawn straight on in fat felt tip.


And these doodles, while less impressive, are nice examples of how kids struggle to bring things to life, which can be easy to demonstrate. They are someone opening a door, a TV news broadcast going on the fritz and, possibly less often needed, someone swinging through a forest on their hair.


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Sausages, Penguins, and O's - comics by kids


If it's June then it must be a solid week of Comic Art Masterclasses. Starting with an after-school class in Neath on Monday, after which I had a tortuous drive to Manchester. The second comic is from a day long class at Backwell school on Wednesday.


Tuesday was Manchester Grammar School where the boys (and they were indeed all boys) came up with these two corkers.


Thursday and Friday saw a day and a half of classes at Ruskin Juniors in Swindon where, I was reminded, I've now been going for 11 years. Yes, my first class there was in 2008. Here, by way of comparison, are the comics I did with the kids there in 2018, in 2017, in 2016, in 2015, and in 2014.


The second day at Ruskin only had one class, in the morning, then on Saturday I had a one-off class at Prema Arts in Uley, from which came the most perplexing title of the week. As soon as the suggestion of "I Have Crippling Depression" was read out, a class full of 6 to 11 year olds decided they'd heard nothing funnier.


A couple of nifty flipcharts, from this week at Ruskin and last week at Colmore.


The celebrities these eight groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Michael Jackson, James Charles, Freddie Mercury, Robert Downey Junior, David Beckham, Alesha Dixon, Albert Einstein and Donald Trump.


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Monday, 10 June 2019

Edinburgh Fringe Programme - Work In Progress


Our advert takes price of place in the Comedy section. Let's see what effect that has.


Q: What do the followings things have in common?

Robert Burns
Synesthesia
Early Mornings
Heathers
Legally Blonde
Thrones
Trump

A: That’s right, this year at Edinburgh they’re all followed by the words “…The Musical”

It’s the annual ritual of digesting the Edinburgh Fringe programme, enjoyed in this household since 1984.

The Fringe Programme’s size - it’s plateaud.

Though I doubt this will be reflected on the streets of Edinburgh, which will be thronged with hordes outnumbering those seen before, the number of pages in the massive Edfringe prog feels like it’s gone down. Though it stands at 458 pages, which is the pagecount it’s had for the two previous years, this feels like stagflation in the context of years gone by.

The Fringe programme has reached a plateau (though from the side it still looks like one).

(In 1984, the first programme I have was just 74 pages long, in 2001 it was 176 pages, by 2012 it was 376, 2013 392, 2014 408, 2015 440, 2017 to now 458. So it was growing at 20 pages a year for over 30 years, then levelled out)

Comedy is 145 pages (up 3 on last year, in 2001 there were 33), while Theatre takes up 105 pages, up on last year’s 103. 

This year’s Sock show, Roll Up, was very much inspired by the mushrooming in recent years of cabaret, burlesque and drag (and how much of that ended up in the show? You’ll see). This year Cabaret has 19 pages, to last year’s 21, Circus & Physical has 19, to last year’s 13. 


Most popular comedians names

As a result of the programme alphabetising by first names (a debate for another time) we can see which names were the most popular in the year comedians were born. This year’s top comedians names (based on acts with their first name in their show listing) are:

1st - Dan / Daniel / Danny 18
2nd - Tom / Tommy 17
3rd = Dave / David  and John / Johnny / Jonny / Jonathan  13
4th - Andrew / Andy 12
5th - James / Jamie. 11
6th - Matt / Mat 10
7th = Paul, Michael / Mike / Mickey / Micky, Nick / Nicholas / Nik, Sam / Samantha / Sameer  9
8th = Alex / Alexander, Chris / Christopher, Joe / Joseph, Steven / Stephen / Stevie  8
9th = Jack, Lucie / Lucy, Peter / Pete  7
10th = Ed / Edward / Eddy / Ed, Lou / Louisa / Louise / Luisa, Marc / Mark , Richard / Rich, Rob / Robbie / Robert, Sarah / Sara, Stuart / Stewart, and Will 6

11th = Adam, Ben, Harry, Martin, Jim / Jimmy, Phil, Tony 5
12th = Gareth / Garrett, Gary / Garry, Aidan, Anna , Josh, Kate / Katie, Kevin, Ray / Raymond, Robin / Robyn, Simon, Susan / Susie / Suzi  4

So Dan is the funniest name this year, with Tommy a close runner up. Well done the Mums and Dads of the late 80s and early 90s.

Favourite Titles - 15 of the least worst pun-loving criminals…

Al Murray: Landlord of Hope & Glory
Darius Davies: Persian of Interest
Sam Wyatt: I Predict A Wyatt
Ken Cheng: To All The Racists I’ve Blocked Before
Phil Wang: Philly Philly Wang Wang
Currie & Brice: Kraudwerk
Ignacio Lopez: EspaƱYOLO
Josh Pugh: Maybe the Real Comedy Awards are the Friends We Made Along the Way
Jamie Oliphant: The Oliphant InThe Room
Aidan Greene: Eternal Sunshine of the Stammering Man 
Newcastle Revue: Tyne & Tyne Again
Sean Patton: Contradickhead
Bob Slayer: Wrote The Copy for This Show in March When He Didn’t Have The Foggiest Notion of What Might Happen On Any Given Day in August, He Still Doesn’t Really, But At Least He’s Found This Snappy Title

And this year the most irksome feature that’s caught my eye is…

The Work In Progress Syndrome  

What’s happened here? For a long time there’s a been a tradition that comedians bring WIP shows to the Leicester Comedy Festival in Feb, then to Glasgow in March, and to Brighton in May, because they’re working up to the big final showcase of Edinburgh in August. So what’s the idea of so many comedians bringing Work In Progress shows to Edinburgh and (in some, not all, cases) charging punters full whack to watch them? It would seem Edinburgh has become the new Leicester, and Fringe audiences are the guinea pigs testing out stuff for, I dunno, a tour venue in a provincial Corn Exchange?

So, the Walk Of Shame In Progress this year features (in no particular order):

Eddie Izzard
Russell Howard
Stephen K Amos
Mark Watson
Joel Dommett
Nina Conti
Omid Djalili
Dan Clark
Geoff Norcott
Iain Stirling
Jamali Maddix
Jonny Donahue
Lew Fitz
Nathan Cassidy
Richard Brown
Zahra Barri
Joseph Emslie
Stuart Mitchell
Katie Mulgrew
Stuart Goldsmith
Kiri Pritchard-Mclean


(We’ll give Stewart Lee & Mawaan Rizwan the benefit of the doubt for their shows, Wok In Progress and Werk In Progress respectively. Everyone else is saving their finished items for someone else to see at a later date. Here, for further excoriation, are Kate Copstick’s opinions on Work In Progress shows at Edinburgh)

Best of luck to everyone taking part in the biggest and best arts and entertainment festival in the world. We’ll see you up there.



The Scottish Falsetto Socks brand new show ROLL UP! is previewing Nationwide:

June 17 - Grassington Festival Yorkshire
June 22 - Strule Arts Omagh
June 27 - Neath Comedy Festival
July 8 - Barnes Fringe
July 12 - Kings Arms Salford, GM Fringe
July 20 - Bedford Fringe
July 28 - Derby Bar One 

July 31st - August 25th, The Scottish Falsetto Socks ROLL UP! at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose 9.30pm, every night of the Edinburgh Fringe 2019. Sexy new venue, sexy new timeslot. Book now!






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