Sean Hughes

The Old Fire Station


27th November

urlPerrier Comedy Award winner Sean Hughes approached the end of his Mumbo Jumbo tour as he visited The Old Fire Station Venue in Carlisle. His political satire combined with middle aged hindsight was fused with a humorous ad-lib candour delivered in what seemed to be an off the cuff comedic show. After just turning 50 Sean shares the wealth of his middle aged life experience with the middle aged audience where he discusses, “the kettle in the garden moments!” This is defined as the moment you are standing in the garden holding a kettle without an explanation of how you got there. The stand-up comic led the audience through a nostalgic trip of the sexual prowess of the 50 year old male by explaining that when a man is in his twenties he wants “fast sex against a skip.” However when you’re in your fifties you begin to look at life from a pragmatic perspective, “the skip looks cold, better wrap up” or “look at the microwave in there – I think it still works.” He tantalised the crowd by declaring, “At 50 my libido has gone, but I’m growing my own tits so it’s not all bad.”

Through the first half of the show he mocked the ailments and the miseries that become an ageing male whilst taking a sentimental stroll back to his youth by comparing the Bay City Rollers with One Direction. It’s not until we are nearing the end of the first half that we are introduced to the Sean’s Mumbo Jumbo philosophy.  The comedian defines Mumbo Jumbo as the battle one has between nonsense and common sense. It is the little voice inside of you that tells you to behave in a nonsensical manner. Sean explains by stating, “You wake up in the morning and your common sense tells you, have a cup of coffee and catch up on world events” but the Mumbo Jumbo inside says “drink the left over wine instead.” or touch the lamppost because it’s lucky. It’s the voice of unreason and illogic spontaneous behaviour.

As the first half closes the crowd is lively and in good spirits. However the second half of the show lacked the pace and laughs of the first half. As the show took a murkier twist the comic began using offensive and crude material based upon Rolf Harris, “Catholicism, Jesus and other mythical creatures.” Raised a Catholic – Sean was unrelentingly tasteless as he mocked how he had drank the life force of Christ and it tasted salty. An angry Catholic responded to the ill tasting humour by heckling the dumb struck comedian with an anti-Muslim slur. However Sean didn’t remain silent for long as he shushed the critic quickly with his antagonising wit whilst developing his tag line of the evening; “You people are really weird!” Despite the lull during the start of the second half, Hughes entertained the audience with laughs, poetry, life stories, music and his love of animals creating an amusing atmosphere within the intimate venue.

So what’s next for Sean Hughes? The writer, actor comedian will be guest starring in the Casualty Christmas special which airs in December – so tune in.

Material three-stars 
Delivery five-stars
Laughs five-stars

Reviewer : Katrina Hewgill


Scottish Comedian of the Year


St Andrew’s Square


28th November


The highly anticipated Annual Scottish Comedy Awards, held in Edinburgh for the first time, brought together a selection of fresh comedic talent competing for not only the sought after title, but a launch-pad for possible world domination. The Spiegeltent in festive St Andrews Square blasted a bagpiping We Will Rock You as the full house settled in, drinks in hand, for an evening with the best amateur comedians hand-picked from across Scotland.


The charming Highlander Chris Forbes kept the audience in high spirits throughout the evening, beginning with an introduction to the judges, who spelled-out criteria they would be looking for. Original material, style, stage presence, international appeal, transferable humour to appeal to all cultures and nationalities and likeability are key. Beyond this, they were looking for an ability to rise to the occasion, as this would be the largest crowd that most of the young talent had performed for. Could they rise to the occasion on this special night?

Chistopher MacArthur Boyd

Comical competition is a ruthless arena, & of the eight performers, half of them struggled with the pressure of the event, some jokes were met with an awkward silence.  Stand-out performances included Christopher MacArthur Boyd, a young cross between Gok Wan and Ronnie Corbet, whose engaging, insightful, and intelligent material was very funny indeed. His delivery and fresh perspective engaged the audience as soon as he walked onto the stage and made him the front runner for 1st place. Another young performer, Gareth Waugh, rose to the occasion with fresh, accessible material delivered with witty, sharp, and engaging style. A comedian with a gift who will no doubt grow into his talent. The Spanish, tartan-clad “Camp Scottish Pimp” Jelly Bean Martinez injected much needed energy to the evening. With a whirlwind of frenetic silliness, his material became perhaps a bit too crude, and he may have lost his appeal by the end of the set. It was as if he was entertaining himself as opposed to being integrated with the audience.

At a competition such as this, with a panel of judges sat at the back of the room, it’s hard not to consider what makes great stand-up. Beyond the obvious criteria, there is a certain something, the X Factor. Whatever it is, the final comedian Daisy Earl had it. The young English lass had instant amiability and a natural stage presence, with raw talent and undeniable potential. She was down to earth and the material flowed effortlessly, providing a platform for the uncanny accents of several well drawn characters to shine. Daisy delivers very funny stuff, without the clichés so many female comedians fall into. This girl is going places.


After brief backstage deliberation, the judges made their decision. Comedy Awards founder Alan Anderson came to the stage with the announcement, putting Gareth Waugh at 3rd place, Christopher MacArthur Boyd 2nd, and Daisy Earl at a well deserved 1st place. Daisy earned a £1000 prize, will be flown to Fringe Festivals in Adelaide and Perth, Australia, and will be showcased at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The prize is an amazing opportunity for this rising star to polish her craft on the international stage. On the whole, the calibre of talent was rather mixed, but ultimately it was a fair result which the audience agreed with.

Reviewer : Rachie Fradgley

Andy Hamilton : Change Management

Eden Court


9 November


Andy Hamilton is a prolific comedy writer and performer he has written for Theatre, Radio, TV and Film. He is a regular on TV panel shows and has also presented documentaries. In his new show he uses his observations of the changes he has seen affect him and other people to impart his philosophy on how to deal with life’s changes.

Opening with how he grew up in 1950’s East London and describing in the most humorous fashion the complete lack of health and safety culture that perhaps inhibits children growing up today. He went through the evening telling many hilarious stories from about getting in trouble for being recognised as Satan (who he plays in Old Harry’s game) to being sung at by Captain Kirk (on Have I got News for You) and being hit in the head with a dart.

His observational humour is amazing and he appears to be continuing to observe even during his performance. Throughout the evening he would check with the audience on what they had experienced themselves and as he told jokes he also had a running gag of writing down jokes that may not have got a huge laugh whilst loudly explaining them inevitably leading to the audience cracking up.  Both funny and fascinating Andy Hamilton’s humour is of the highest quality it should appeal to a wide range of people.  Andy is next taking his show to the Gardyne Theatre Dundee on Nov 12th and I would recommend this show very much.

Material four-stars
Delivery three-stars  
Laughs four-stars

Reviewer : Stewart Tonkin


Gilded Balloon Comedy (November)


Festival Studio Theatre, Edinburgh

7th November

MC : Scott Gibson
MC : Scott Gibson

Keara Murphy two-stars  Chris Forbes four-stars   Rob Rouse four-stars  

In recent months, the Gilded Balloon comedy nights have begun to dip their comedy wicks in Fife, & has seen their comedians’ weekends begin on a Wednesday. Thus, by the time they reach Edinburgh’s Festival studio on the Saturday, one of two things has happened. (A) : they have honed their routine to perfection; or (B) they have one hell of a hangover & have lost their golden touch. For tonight’s MC, Scott Gibson, it was clear;y a case of A, for the guy is a rip-roaring class act who warmed up the crowd nightly, getting us all familiar with the front row, which consisted of a group of mums on tour, & a couple of young sailors stationed in Edinburgh. The highlight of his wee sesh was going on about Tindog – the tinder for breeders, which set him off an a hilarious canine-comparison flounce ending in coco-pops being sprinkled in dog-poo, rendering it crunchier for the little mutts when they munch it.



Material  two-stars   Delivery  two-stars  Laughs  three-stars


For me, it seemed that Keara Murphy, a self-confessed lover of the booze, was more of the B category as stated above. The facade was there, a hard-living Weegie-bird who takes no prisoners, but it felt like she was just going through the paces. Her material was classic Glasgow-Edinburgh fare, & it seemed like she had been thrown into the mix to please any visitors to Scotland that were in the crowd – so the mums in the front row loved her. Likeable, but slightly annoying, her best stuff was her rendition of what really goes on inside another Weegie woman’s mind – Lorraine Kelly. This was genuinely hilarious & I think on another night she could have had us all eating out of her hand – but she just wasnt on it tonight.



Material  three-stars Delivery five-stars Laughs  four-stars


Chris Forbes, however, was completely different. A young comic on the rise, his delivery was bang on, coming with a nonchalant conversational manner full of quips & clever subtleties, all born from a clear genius in the craft. From a small town in the highlands, his arrival in the capital is a breath of fresh air, his hearth-side humour as refreshing as a walk beside Loch Tollaid. Way up north, with no proper football team for miles, he & his family are fans of the national team, & for me, wonderful expose on the world of the Tartan Army’s song-selection was the highlight of his set.



Material three-stars Delivery four-stars   Laughs four-stars


When a comedy selection’s headliner uses the word ‘undercrackers’ you are know you’re in for a good do. Hailing from the Peak District, Rob Rouse & his soul-touching accent is a surreal spot of comedy emerald, who gives us a well warm window into the funny moments of his life. Blending amiability with theatrical virtuosity, Rouse is a real treat & his talented ‘truth-bombs’ were a perfect way to finish the night’s entertainment – although his brilliance definitely came on in waves with the occasional lag in momentum. His extended, gag-packed finale was the reportrayal of the time his 5-a-side football pal & doctor, Andy, gave him the finger… up the bum in a Prostrate-gland examination.

Reviewer : Damo Bullen