Garrett Millerick: Just Trying to Help

Monkey Barrel Comedy – Monkey Barrel 4
Aug 9-15, 17-28 (18:25)

In his beard, build & general bounciness there’s a bit of Brian Blessed in Garrett Millerick. Of course, Garrett is waaayyyyy funnier than Brian. He’s an impressive fountain of fun is this lad, I especially dug the way he projected into the future to find his comedy – based upon the fast approaching demise of our Queen, but I loved that. Most comedians are retrospective & contemporary in their search for material, but Garrett’s mind wanders everywhere.

Its nice to have the Russians back – every generation needs a good, proper enemy

A highlight for me was his adulation of Jeff Bezos, portraying him more as a Father Christmas figure than the oppressor of workers. I even went home & shared his opinion with my pals, such was Garrett’s influence. Its probably down to his extreme confidence in his ability to make us laugh, which I witnessed regularly throughout the show. There is a universality to his material which I noticed was reflected in an audience of all ages & an even gender spread.

Now the evil of the Welsh has risen in the east

At the end of his set Millerick is dripping with sweat, so energetically composed is his performance. That set, by the way, is full of such deadpan phraseology which I hope sometime he or his inheritors compile into a compendium of wisdom. ‘Don’t bring a baguette to a knife-fight you fanny,‘ definitely has to go in. He’s like the Lao-Tze Tung of laughter, & paints landscapes of the same vistas of life which we all can see, but his are guaranteed to make us laugh.


Jake Cornell and Marcia Belsky: Man and Woman

Assembly George Square Studios – Studio Four
Aug 8-16, 18-28 (18:15)

Tonight I went out for a double bill from Zach Zucker’s Stamptown empire, one of the most prodigious & highly thought-of comedy umbrellas, which sends its Kraken-tentacle acts all across the world. Looking at the Fringe guide I’m like I can do two in a row in the Assembly Quarter of Edinburgh. Man & Woman was first (BriTANick was second), brought to us across the ocean by Jack Cornell & Marcia Belsky,& oh my god it was proper funny, like! From Tik-Tok acorns do oaks of humungous funniness grow & it was from the aforementioned online video vignette medium that Jack suddenly found a girl he’d never met before, but living round the corner, bouncing comedy of his little sketch. BOOM ! Chemistry ! Action ! & a year or so later a buzzing masterpiece has vaulted into Scotland with broad American accents & an amazing dissection of the realities of romantic heterosexual cohabitation. 

Stop being so curious, it isn’t good for you

Men & women is pure parody is all about well, men & women, & their heterosexual intertanglings & bubbles with cutting edge socio-anthropological insights while at all times making us laugh out loud. Is it a sketch series? Is it theatre? I’d say a bit of both, that’s why its going in both Mumble Theatre & Mumble Comedy. Either way, when Marian met her Jom-Jom at nursery in Chipaquaqua County, after 3 years of life & loneliness, she knew he was the one for her. The show then flows through the rest of their lives together with great & innate detail surfing an ever-high level of hilarity. I loved the way kids keep popping up in a constant mission to get one that doesn’t ‘flop’ in life, while the comedy is spliced by commentaries on how ‘women influence life & society from the private sector of their homes.’

Can you stop reminiscing & treat my actual wound

Of our performers & their deliveries, Marcia is eminently watchable & Jack is emphatically suave – it really is top notch stuff, & includes the immortally dodgy exchange ‘ I told you I didn’t want to work with a paedophile — You are so closed minded it’s unbelievable.’ At the half way point we stepp’d away from the storyline into an actors’ workshop world & a Q&A intermission, which did halt my buzz a little bit & perhaps tainted my full appreciation for the rest of the tale – it was a funny interlude but definitely disturbed my trance in which I’d been more than happy to have been foster’d into. All the same, I swear down I actually shed a single tear of happiness at the end – a strange reaction – but I completely enjoy’d myself, which doesn’t happen all the time, in fact most of the time, when I’m out reviewing. Really brilliant stuff.


Sasha Ellen: Creeps and Geeks

Underbelly, Bristo Square – Daisy
Aug 8-15, 17-29 (16:15)

This is my second dose of Sasha Ellen in Edinburgh. The first was in 2018, a delightful tale of when she & her boyfriend brought one of the Channel Islands to a halt. I remember comparing her comedy to the rising bubbles of a bottle of prosecco on a summer’s day. Four years on the prosecco has morphed into Havana rum & I can definitely feel her experience & intelligence crafting a fluffy-soul’d comedy souffle, whose only true theme is that of making us laugh.

I am this close to mounting quizmaster Dave – medicate me!

She’s like a cool comedy kitten is our Sasha – I say ‘our’ because she really does make you feel that you’re one of her mates. Y’know, the mate that every ebullient bundle of hormones & horniness  needs to bounce their brilliance off. Her material is a blend of white-knuckle risqué & teenage nerdiness – her idea of bagging a doctor is a level 9 healer in D&D. The way she rolls thro her show is meteor-like, an incandescent blaze of comedy that slices thro’ the stratosphere of a Scottish afternoon.

My favorite part of the show was when she went off mic for 3 minutes & 30 seconds to relate the story of an incident in her life which lasted the exact same amount of time. This was the moment when Sasha’s talent for audience intimacy really shone through. The overriding feeling is Sasha loves what she does, & she certainly has master’d the comedian’s main obligation in life which is to find humour in all situations. She’s a natural, & there’s also a subtle sophistication behind her act which is camouflaged by her gloriously giddy approach to performance.


Kathryn Henson & Ollie Horn: Pure Filth

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50
Aug 5-14, 16-28 (16:45)

Gigging for a month, with a bucket for payment, in a converted meeting room in the Grassmarket where the flyerers can’t collect flyers and the barmen don’t know which beer they’re serving, could be seen as problem to some. Ollie Horn & Kathryn Henson however use this to their benefit in a manner which highlights their craftsperson-ship from the get go. Kicking off with some Groove Armada (at audience request) they beginning bantering with the crowd from the moment the doors open. I feel that we’re getting 5 minutes of comedy for free, the rest of the small audience do to, and this use of time to develop a rapport pays off throughout.

The theme of the show is simple. The audience vote for which of the performers is to deliver a ‘clean’ set, and which of the performers is to deliver a set of filth. The general warming up presents the audience with a conundrum. Kathryn is clearly the more comfortable with filth, indeed she alludes to it oozing from her pores, and presents visions of a Venom like sentient filth being which is urging to get out of her at any moment. The audience of course vote her ‘clean’, she delivers a set which is mainly focused around the very safe topic of ‘emotional assistance dogs’ and manages to accidentally throw in allusions to yeast, hard drugs, prescription abuse and shotgun weddings. It is all expertly performed, even if the audience is aware that she is playing Laurel to Ollies impending horny Hardy. She throws in some very neatly observed material on the duality of stand-up performers in general however, and this is where this 2-hander is elevated beyond some of its peers whereupon inferior shows feel like marriages of convenience, rather than genuine comedic partnerships. Henson pulls out a wonderful soliloquy early in the show where the ‘shadow self’ of the stand up performer is presented. This is a necessary breaking of the third wall to allow Ollie to really show off his filth chops when he takes to the stage.

Ollie is a big lad. He has presence, he also has a remarkably delicate touch when it comes to leaping onto stage shouting incoherent obscenities to clarify for us that we are now on the dark side of the show. As with the other male comedians I saw today, he managed to both celebrate, and mock, masculinity in a manner which pleased every corner of the room. This is true spirit of the Fringe stuff. Notebook in hand, we receive blow by blow accounts of this young, and apparently very virile, mans Casanovian escapades in such a warm fashion that when it comes to the big final punchline of the set, we already know that the laugh is going to be on him. We have been warmed to this by anecdotes of accidentally scatological massages & Newtonian physics as a self-confidence tool for gents of the larger persuasion during intimate moments. This is stuff which is simultaneously surreal in a Pyncheon-esque manner, and crowd pleasing.

The combination of the 2 back-to-back is akin to in seeing Henson attempt to deliver a clean act by wrestling with her own potty-mouthed Mr Hyde, and thus allowing the audience to make all manner of dirty jokes in their own head, & the filth act delivering obscenities with the gusto of a Mormon recalcitrant in the manner of a priapic Frankenstein’s Monster tearing down its masters laboratory.

This is a show which they would like the audience reviewers to describe as ‘The best show at the Fringe’, to allow them to afford a better venue next year. I urge you to see them, but I really can’t imagine how any venue could better frame this slick, confident, intimate hour of pretty much non-stop laughs. A Free Fringe show which delivers the atmosphere of The Stand on a Friday night, to an audience of 10 is a marvellous thing. It is, if not necessarily ‘the greatest show at The Fringe,’ not very far off. It’s charm very much comes from the fact that you are having the privilege of seeing 2 headline acts for one, in a killer partnership with new material every day, in a genuinely comedy club atmosphere.

Ewan Law

Danny Deegan @ The Comedy Attic

The Late Show
The Beehive Inn, Edinburgh

I walked into the heart of Edinburgh and felt the low key buzz of pre-fringe vibes. The Grassmarket, warm with laughter, was lit up; the smell of ale and good food in the warm dusk air ignited my senses. I was greeted with a smile by the friendly doorman who showed me to the top floor of the Beehive Inn & into the famous Comedy Attic. The venue holds 50/60 seats neatly packed into a dark square room.

I waited for the sold-out seats to fill, enjoying the background music while periodically peering out the window to the fun streetside. The lights dimmed at 11pm and Rick Molland took to the stage. As comperes go he was a little nervous and his voice shook for the first few minutes, but I was enlightened to his abilities once I realised how tough the crowd were that he was dealing with.

Three stag-do’s were present and Rick set about firing questions at them. The front row could not have been more boring. A dull combination of accountants and project managers, Rick had his work cut out for him so he impressed me by receiving a good few laughs.

The warm-up act was Gus Lindberg. He entertained with the inevitable covid chat, childhood anecdotes, audience interaction and some great Scottish banter. He pumped the room up to almost boiling point, before ending on a rather dark joke which gave a little more context to his potential versatility. I would like to see him headline sometime.

After a twenty minute interval, Rick got us prepared for more of the show. Headlining was Danny Deegan. He took the stage and introduced himself by explaining he had driven 4 hours to get to Edinburgh from Manchester and to be honest, what followed made me wonder if he’d wasted a his petrol. Self-proclaimed working class scum, Danny was more versed in rants, rather than bants. His timing was studied and seemingly well practiced, but he only hit on average a 20/30 percent audience laughter rate and it didn’t particularly tickle me. A pretty dry story-teller, he reminded me of a guy spraffing his life story to you while waiting in the queue for red bull and a packet of Lambert and Butler at the corner shop; someone you’d like to walk away from but that you’re OK with tolerating for the sake of being able to buy your essentials.

As for the forthcoming Scottish Comedy festival – a part of the Fringe – I have faith that its organiser, tonight’s very own Rick, will smash it this festival and the venue is just what u want if you like intimacy. Watch out for Gus Lindberg though, he was the top talent tonight!

Bobbi McKenzie