Carl Donnelly: Bad Man Tings

Carl Donnelly has reached peak age, he’s a vegan, he recently took up yoga, and he’s content with his life – I know it doesn’t sound like a good recipe for stand-up but somehow, it really, really is.

Carl Donnelly is not one to miss this year

His previous work has always been based on some sort of tragedy, trauma or crisis in his life – topics like bad relationships or being down on his luck – but this year, Donnelly returns to the Fringe with, as he puts it, a pretty good life, and not one that involves many “comedy gold” moments. However, he manages to have us in fits of laughter and creates a serious feeling of empathy in the room with his quips and stories about his newfound, middle-class, 30-something life.

The jokes roll on with various references to health fads, national pride, yoga and puberty. Donnelly strikes a perfect balance between material that is a little bit silly and stupid (but still relatable) and material that’s a bit more grown-up and serious. He interacts well with his audience, and they clearly love him – with some veteran fans returning year after year.

A true testament to his talent is that I don’t think I’ve ever heard of, or seen, somebody make being a vegan so hysterical without actually offending vegans; yet Donnelly manages to do this and gets us all rippling with laughter about the trivial questions and stereotypes he is bombarded with by choosing this way of living. I think being able to get your moral opinion across in stand-up is incredibly difficult, yet Carl manages to do this without offence or anger but purely with his comedic way with words.

This man is a rare creature – he is inherently funny, and his stand-up feels natural and free flowing; he loses his train of thought regularly and provides us with anecdotes and jokes clearly never made for his show but that just come out in the moment. It makes the entire experience of his performance easy to enjoy and proper tears-in-the-eyes, laugh-out-loud funny, and I like knowing that his show must be that little bit different every night for his audience.

Carl Donnelly is not one to miss this year – there will be bum jokes, there will be jogging jokes and even a sprinkle of political jokes – but you will definitely have sore cheeks from laughing and smiling for an entire hour.  

Reviews by Sarah Virgo

theSpace @ Symposium Hall

Magic Hour

Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Ollie Horn: Pig in Japan

Underbelly, Cowgate

Like a Sturgeon

Heroes @ Boteco

Schalk Bezuidenhout: Leopard Print

C venues – C aquila

Lucille and Cecilia

Gilded Balloon at the Museum



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Join twice Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated Carl Donnelly for an all-new hour of funnies as he takes us through his thoughts on reaching the ripe old age of 34, the age that is statistically the happiest of your life. Following the mess that was his late twenties and early thirties (involving divorce, depression, hallucinogens and worse) Carl has now seemingly found peace in being a vegetable planting, self-hating liberal with a wide array of useless kitchen utensils and is trying to work out which life he prefers. 'Observational genius' (Guardian).

Most Popular See More


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Blithe Spirit

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets