Planet Caramel 

Hot Bed

Opium Bar @ The Cowgate



Planet Caramel – a duo, with a guy who keeps following them about to all their gigs and endlessly writing himself into their sketches.

Imagine a man who looks like a cross between Lois Theroux and Frankie Boyle, performing with another man who looks like the love child of Orlando Bloom and Tim Minchin, then imagine watching them bulling a man, who can only really be described as a Crazy Wee Bear. Well, thats basically Planet Caramel. The trio took us on a journey through around ten, creative, slightly abstract and at times, pretty funny sketches. All lasting between thirty-seconds, to a minute and a half long. The pace was good and it suited the material well. Down lights signified the end of each sketch and on one occasion, they even managed to pull off a punchline which was essentially a sound effect, and actually got a really good laugh from the crowd.  About 46 heads were in the house, mostly students, but a couple of mature audience members made it out too.

The introduction was an explosion of ridiculousness, not ever quite reaching hilarious, but certainly lubricating the comedy chords, ready for a good giggle further on in the show.  The guys used lots of props, some insinuation and played on literal meaning, to execute punch lines and I enjoyed the variety a lot. The nervous paper aeroplane, the drums and the back gammon gags were my favourite; I think the audience agreed too. A theme of Robert Burns ran loosely throughout and a lot of gags could be particularly appreciated by 90’s kids.

The next act was made up of two guys and a girl. The entire audience had been well prepped for the style of comedy by this time and everyone was in the correct mood. It’s a difficult thing to warm up a bunch of strangers, mid week, on a windy and wet as shit evening in January. Watching the second trio was like being a fly on the wall in a typical student flat, and watching them do their housework on ketamine. They made a good gag at the start which made reference to the venue, and they performed throughout with good comedic timing and annunciation. They had great body language techniques for delivering insinuated lines which all built towards the punch line, and also used a change of props to signify a sketch change, instead of lights, making for a very dynamic performance. The material content was nothing short of brilliant, just when you think it was getting grown up, it didn’t. They played friends we all have and don’t need when sharing advice, they did a rather “Christmas in Holland” type homage to an international treasure; which was either gonna make or break them, but luckily they pulled it off well and got many laughs. And I have to say, their Taggart style sketch was excellent. Listening to them was like watching the cast of Made In Chelsea preform Trainspotting. So funny! And the Africa sketch had my eyes on the verge of precipitation. Was almost sad it ended, but by now it was time for the interval. Usually I notice these things, because I am not great at sitting still for very long, but I have to say, I was being so well entertained that I barely noticed the chair on my bum.


Post drink and loo break, I took to my seat and my notebook, for round two.

We were warmed up again with more by Planet Caramel, which was actually much better than their first slot, especially since “Frankie Theroux” had relaxed somewhat and was a bit less awkward on stage. They had asked the audience to write a short sketch of 8 lines or less for them to preform after the break. It actually went quiet well, with one joke getting good laughs all round. Another actually tickled the “Crazy Wee Bear” a lot, and I personally got a lot of enjoyment out of watching him have a proper wee giggle to himself of stage. They went back to doing a couple of sketches before introducing the final act. Tea in a tiny lift gave me emotions of meeting my mother-in-law for the first time. But, my favourite was the Italian sketch, particularly as my partner whom was with me, is Italian. I was doing “Tiny Hands” at him for the rest of the evening. I may get years of enjoyment from that joke, so thank you very much Planet Caramel. Shortly after, the next and final act were introduced, The Twins.

The Twins were compered by a pair of really annoying Scouser’s who were dressed like a pair of 18th Century hippies. Anyway, they were annoying me so much, I decided to take another toilet break. Even my bladder agreed we needed a prompt excuse to leave. If there is one thing that gets my goat, it’s when a compere pre-emptively apologises on behalf of the act. Piss off if you think it’s gonna be shite, why the hell I’m I gonna want to stay now?  So, anyway, you can imagine my disappointment when the lights dipped and lifted again to reveal the final act, was in fact the same two people, minus the outfits. My heart sank as I checked the time. Shit, I thought.

But then something happened. The twins, Jack and Annie started being themselves, and oh my god, they were absolutely hilarious. I mean, at times I was doing that laugh thing where no noise comes out but your nostrils are just flaring at 60mph. They had me absolutely decked. They were doing classic twin jokes, but you know, one is a tall bloke and the other a tiny wifey, so that was pretty funny, but actually what made them wasn’t their material as such, it was their chemistry. Their ability to banter ad-lib at an incredibly high speed, and finish each others sentences with a flow that makes their communication seem subliminal, all made the comedic timing seem well practiced and professional, but actually, as a sibling myself, I realise that biological chemistry can just come naturally like that for siblings who get on well. These two used it to their advantage well on the stage. They made you want an invite to their family’s house for Christmas, in no time at all, and soon you felt like you were less watching a show in a club, and more listening to a conversation between siblings over the phone, when they think no one else is listening. It gets weird as fuck, but what comes over is how normal that is. I loved the way they gave fast response banter to the audience, it’s different to observational comedy, it makes you feel like one of their pals, rather than a subject source for them to create material on. Party in America made me lose my shit. I remember talking like that with my sister when we kids after watching some American crap on telly, and the nostalgia made it seem even funnier. These guys nailed it.

Planet Caramel came back on to wrap up the show, finishing with Babadook Dave, played by the “Crazy Wee Bear”. I actually nearly had too much fun at this show. Totally wanted more. For £2, go and see them when they are back in Edinburgh on 25th Feb / 31st Mar. They should be charging more.

Reviewer : Bobbi McKenzie 

Preview : The Return of Gilded Balloon


6’ 2” skinhead Gary Little to kick off Gilded Balloon Comedy

 Carnegie Hall, Thursday 4 February


Gilded Balloon Comedy returns to Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, Fife, for five nights of stand out, stand-up and riotous, comedy carnage, between February and June 2016. The line ups include a quality blend of up and coming comedians and the finest established comics on the UK circuit; with headliners Gary Little, Rob Deering, Al Porter, Loretta Maine and The Boy with Tape on His Face, providing some top class entertainment.

Kicking off the Gilded Balloon’s Fife Comedy Circuit on Thursday 4 February 2016 will be headliner Gary Little who is blessed with that special brand of Weegie banter: a gossipy, sharp-tongue with countless hilarious tales to tell.  He will be joined on stage by the delightfully deadpan, Stephen Carlin, and the one-woman voice machine, Amy Howerska.  Keeping both the comedians and the audience under control will be compere for the evening, Ray Bradshaw, one of the most dependable stand ups on the comedy scene.

Gary Little is one of the most consistently funny acts in Scottish Comedy.  He is forcefully opinionated but, with unflinching honesty and openness, he is not afraid to be up front with his failings.  His imposing physical presence – a 6’ 2” skinhead – and his masculine, sweary persona is undercut by his obvious warmth, personable style and slight vulnerability.

As a skilled storyteller he has that rare ability to weave mundane, every-day experiences, like dog walking and tenement living, into non-stop hilarity, which will have his Fife audience crying with laughter.  When Little speaks from the heart about such things as his man-of-few-words father, religious figures and sudden deaths, this is when he really shines.

Stephen Carlin, the Airdrie-born performer, rated by Stewart Lee in his all-time Top Ten stand-up list, has been described as one of the most inventive comedians on the circuit.  His exceptional use of language and off the wall references, brilliantly opinionated broadsides and trademark Scottish brogue make for hugely memorable routines.  From his sartorial elegance to his in-depth and hilarious knowledge of International snooker, Carlin’s performances take the audiences into the mind of a passionate obsessive.

Carlin has written for many radio shows including The News Quiz, The Now Show, Look Away Now, Recorded for Training Purposes, and Laura Solon Talking and Not Talking.  He has previously supported Stewart Lee, Stephen Merchant and Felix Dexter on tour.

Born to a trained killer father and a skydiving mother, rising comedy star Amy Howerska is a refreshingly unsentimental and gifted storyteller.  Presenting with vim, vigour and volume she’s a one-woman voice machine, populating the stage with barmy Welsh cousins, Bradford grannies and East End gangster-loving aunties. A stand-up since 2009, Amy Howerska has appeared on various ‘talking heads’ TV shows and was co-host of Edinburgh late night show Spank! in 2014, alongside James Loveridge.

Compere for the first Gilded Balloon Comedy night at Drygate in 2016 will be the thoroughly engaging Glasgow based comedian Ray Bradshaw.  His utter joviality and friendliness, coupled with witty and unexpected asides and great audience interaction, make him a real ‘people pleaser’; and raucously funny with it.  The double Scottish Comedian of The Year finalist has gained a reputation as one of the funniest and most exciting acts on the Scottish comedy scene.

For more information go to Gilded Balloon website:

Or Carnegie Hall website:

Monkey Barrel Comedy : 5th Birthday

22-23 Jan

The Beehive Inn




 Jay Laffertyfour-stars  Stuart Laird three-stars  Daniel Downie four-stars Gareth Waugh four-stars

rick-molland-2012-july.jpgFor their 5th Birthday the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club put on for our delectation four top Scottish comedians to celebrate – & a right do it was n’all. Fate had conspired to propel them into the Beehive Inn’s bigger function room – for the Stand was flooded that night, & so over a hundred of us found ourselves in a salubrious, velvety-curtained, victorian-wallpapered, smoking seated chamber, described by one of the comedians – Daniel Downie – as a cross between the Shining & the attic he was abused in as a child. The whole party was welded together by the beautiful Rick Molland, whose banter flowed freely with the stag party from Montrose, all sat at the front & all dressed up as Star Wars characters, including a Storm Trooper with a bumbag & the groom-to-be’s cuddly Jabba the Hut.


Jay Lafferty


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

The first of our ‘four fabulous comedians’ was Glaswegian, Jay Lafferty, a 21st century woman who finds herself funny as fuc£, a brash & self-assured talent whose comedy is aimed at the female observation in the main, but also branches out into urban topology, whose chat about Glasgow & Edinburgh serves as the perfect introduction to the tourists who find themselves on the Grassmarket wanting to feel like they are in Scotland. Listening to Jay in full flow as like being with that noisy bird in a pub whose had a couple of drinks & decided to offload it all onto her pals – great fun. For me, the moment she described a fellow as having a ‘wee, young One Direction face,’ was class, as was her idea of placing kinder eggs in the female lady garden in order to increase the ravishings of woman kind.

Scott Laird


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

Wee Scotty Laird from Motherwells has a strong sense of ‘second son syndrome,’ which has led him into the his job as a Call Centre operative. The thing is, Scott seems to be able to find the comedy in anything, which when combined with that acute mind of his hits all the right comedy notes. The highlight for me was his description of Motherwell’s greatest addition to global culture – the Chindian, a single room in which you can get chinese AND Indian food. As the jokes passed by the crowd really warmed to him, a mutual snowball effect that made every joke seem funnier & funnier.

Daniel Downie


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


I first saw Daniel Downie backstage at the Beehive, scribbling down notes furiously as Rick Molland initially warmed up the crowd. ‘Was he a reviewer like me?‘ I pondered. ‘Nah,’ I realised, ‘he’s too cool!‘ It turns out he was thinking on his feet readying to introduce hypertopical comedy into his set. This, by the way, was wicked – especially his chat about the Highland’s anti-Isis terrorist response (hes from Dingwall). His material is cutting edge & perhaps the crowd were looking for something a bit more stag-do friendly – but I loved it. His star is definitely on the rise at the moment, with material totally on the pulse & Daniel is one to watch.

Gareth Waugh


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

IMG_20160122_223206465.jpgAfter the prize raffle draw for £10 in drinks – a really good touch to the proceedings – our headline act waltzes on stage. Growing up in the age of, as he so effervescently stated, ‘Celebrity Paedophiles,’ Gareth Waugh is a sound fella & witty as hell, who somehow has managed to convert his sexual awkwardness into comedy gold. The crowd loved him & I absolutely adored his facial expressions – a real subtle but highly effective addition to his comedy armory. He’s also a very informative performer, for I now know what the Australian terminology for a ginga is, & he has also put quite keenly into my mind’s eye one’s own ‘lap-dance face’ – which is similar to the cumface, only less distorted. He really was a perfect finish to a cracking evening & roll on the next 5 years, Monkey Barrel!!!

Reviewer : Damo Bullen