Starter for Five

By Dave McMenemy

On the opening day of the festival I went to a showcase of Avalon Televisions stable of comics, which took the format of 18 comedians with 5 minute slots to impress the largely Scottish crowd.  It was a veritable bonanza of comedy.  5 minutes is not much time to impress a crowd and some don’t make the grade notably double-act Peacock and Gamble who don’t even manage to finish their slot with Gamble ambling off stage.  The first half of the gig was more notable for an audience member fainting and having to be carried out, costing one stoic comic so miss the edit in this filmed-for-TV show. Most of the comics delivery was aimed at the middle classes and this seems to be the target demographic for most. The exception to this first half malaise is Matt Forde who puts in an accomplished gag-packed piece.  Top marks for the inspired oratory lessons a la Tony Blair and Nick Clegg.

After the much needed interval (surely not being allowed to exit the venue to empty you bladder for an hour is asking to much of a thirsty Scottish crowd?).  We have a new Scottish compere.  A local boy from Leith who is clearly relishing being back in the motherland.  He upped the tempo of the gig and enlivened the crowd, which helps the subsequent acts.  Highlight of the 2nd half was the assured  Chastity Butterworth (the society lady creation of Gemma Whelan).  She produced an original and enjoyable snippet as snooty dahling who has fallen on tough times and has had to resort to stand-up to pay beck her drug debts to her dealer.  Overall the female acts showed up well with sassy Luisa Omielan getting a good reception for her efforts on somewhat safe ground topics as well as attempting geographic cow mooing.  James Acaster produced an all-too-brief but sparkling performance with a hilarious vignette of male top and tailing in the guest bedroom.

So, I picked out five comedians whose shows should be worth seeing this frings

Chastity Butterworth,



Assembly Roxy

Jul 31-Aug 11, Aug 13-26, 5.45pm-6.45pm




Matt Forde – The Political Party




Pleasance Dome

1-25 August, 16.00-17.00


You tube:


Peacock & Gamble




Chortle Fast Fringe Pleasance Dome

2-24 August, 6.40-7.40 PM,




Luisa Omielan


Luisa Omielan,


Gilded Balloon Teviot

Aug 2-11, 9.15pm-10.15pm


You tube:


James Acaster



Pleasance Courtyard
Aug 1-25 – 7pm-8pm
‘You tube:

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