Robbie Burns Special

The Stand (Edinburgh)

25th Jan

Arriving to the smell of haggis & neaps, it was standing room only last night for a Burns supper themed night of comedy at the Edinburgh stand. Saying that, Scotia’s bard hardly got a mention, but each of the comics on offer mentioned him at least once. They were shepherded onto stage by rowdy MC, Susan Morrison, mastermind behind the last Fringe’s ‘Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas,’ who warmed the audience up with a crackling intensity. I really enjoyed her banter with an American couple – a playwright & an astrophysicist – which allowed her to tell the story of John Paul Jones’ humorous attempts to  bomb Leith during the War of American independence. Comedy & history, & well told too.

The first comedian was 24-year-old Gareth Waugh, an astute, sexy & mature performer who is not as socially awkward as he portrays. His witty self confessionals took us from buying those hooded kids who stand outside off licenses booze to show he was cool, to buying his girlfriend lingerie with a morbid sense that everyone thinks he was buying them for himself. The lad has a youthful exuberance which he cuttingly projects through his material.

Keir McAllister
Keir McAllister

Next up was Keir McAllister, a very funny & very confident ‘Sue Perkins’ lookalike, whose idea of a Burns night was to celebrate the victims of chip pan fires. He also delved into pros-independence politics with a passion & brilliant patter that Robbie Burns would have been proud of,  then Dundee’s shittest zoo in the world, before finishing his set with a story about coming & farting at the same time – what joy!


Headlining tonight was the Stand’s long-running antidote to a heavy weekend, the uplifting improvisational genius of Stu & Garry. Tonight, these two masters of snappy-minded comedy theatricals played the alphabet game – in which they dialogued through a scene, beginning each line with consecutive letters of the alphabet. The story was a ventriloquist at a children’s party, whose dummy was a crude, foul-mouthed northerner, begging for ‘gottle of methadrone’ & telling the kids it would be easy to bundle them into his van. The second story was a monk & a soul-sucking succubus, which was played out three times; once as normal, once as musical porn & once as panto. All this was really quite hilarious, especially when shouts of ‘shes behind you’ erupted in the panto-version – a moment of true festivity on one of Scotland’s most festive days.

Reviewer : Damo Bullen

Omid Djalili: Iranalamadingdong



Edinburgh Playhouse

Thu 22 Jan 2015


The quirky warm-up comedian with an equally quirky name, Boothby Graffoe, eased the audience into the evening with amusing anecdotes and a hilarious account of his attempts to break into the world of screen writing.

After a short interval, with our giggle boxes satisfyingly massaged, Omid Djalili confidently strode out on to the stage. Unsurprisingly, Iranian-British Omid Djalili is no stranger to Edinburgh. He’s been a fixture on the Festival circuit for the last 22 years. In that time he has won the Time Out Award and EMMA Award for Best Stand Up, and has been nominated for the South Bank Award. In his other career he won the Best Actor Award for his lead performance in ‘The Infidel’ at the Turin Film Festival. All very impressive!

In his new suit and boots, he took us through a flurry of cultural gags, ever so slightly leaning on the on the racial side, but being part Iranian himself, he somehow gets away with it! After an explosive punch line we witness him strutting around the stage, dancing to Bollywood music and swinging the microphone from his pelvis! This is no shy man! He stated he “doesn’t want to offend people” yet continued to mock people from Stratford Upon Avon about Shakespeare’s possible accent, Arabs, ‘Musselburghers’, Pakistanis, Americans and Nigerians! His talent for accents, even Northern Irish, however is remarkable and this aided his amusing observations and anecdotes.

Although he did touch on sensitive issues, he was not afraid to turn the joke on himself – over his short, fat and bald stature, which doesn’t get him as many film star roles as he’d like! He consoled himself however, with the fact that America is the one place where he doesn’t feel fat!

He took a further step onto ethical thin ice with his view that we should not exclude people with disabilities, as to do so is more discriminatory, than to mock them just like everyone else. This gag – by his own admission – divided audience opinion. Omid went on to demonstrate his warm demeanour and down-to-earth character. He won over the female audience members by claiming; ‘women are better than men… at finding things’!

The evening was rounded off by a round of questions posted by the “audience”, although having read about material of his prior tour shows, some of these question would appear to be a little scripted and self aggrandising. He made reference to his three Hollywood films, added in some name-dropping and even sang a selection of songs from the boyband Blue?… Not the strongest part of the set by a long chalk!

At the end there was a shameful plug of his new book – ‘Hopeful’ – which just happened to be on sale in the foyer. The stand-up, writer, actor and trumpet blower ended with the philosophical message that, ‘we should not look at people from our ivory towers because everyone struggles.’


three stars

Reviewer : Sarah Lewis