Charity Chuckle: Stand Up for Charity

Charity Chuckle started out as a regular Brighton comedy night, raising money for local charities. For the first week of the festival only, the format and project have moved up to Edinburgh.

Among the hordes of compilation shows on at the fringe, Charity Chuckle does not stand out from the rest. But with a different line-up every day and a philanthropic purpose, it's worth catching it while you can.

Our host for the hour is MC Michael Fabbri, a Brighton comedian who eases the audience - all of whom have, for some reason, been equipped with a glow stick - into the swing of things with some gentle musings on life. His actual crowd work is competent, eliciting cheers and whoops from the admittedly sparse audience, but it felt a little rushed due to the time constrictions on the show.

The first act, Canadian-born Katherine Ryan, was a fitting choice. Her relaxed, drawling and highly-sexualised comedy provided a relief from the manic rush of the Edinburgh fringe. Casual and confident, Ryan performed the same set as a few nights earlier in front of thousands of people. With a little adjustment, they worked just as well in this tiny room.

After a brief introduction from Fabbri, our next act, Russ Peers, took to the stage. Although immediately likeable, the lack of laughs throughout his set soon became conspicuous. Most of his material revolved around an annoying neighbour, with Peers’ examples of said neighbour’s behaviour followed by mildly inventive insults. This elicited a few chuckles, but in itself was not enough to keep the audience interested. It was when Peers moved on to anecdotes of personal and public embarrassment that the set gained more momentum, and he finished up on a high.

Up next was circuit wave-maker Alisdair Beckett-King, whose striking figure and oddball delivery instantly marked him out from the crowd. His set, a mix of fantastical surrealism, visual comedy and audience interaction was polished, on the mark and engaging. Despite jumping from subjects such as the first testament to veganism and Adolf Hitler, he provided a constant flow of loveable humour that suggest he is surely destined for greatness.

Finally to close the hour, we were treated to Larry Dean, Glaswegian stand-up and Scottish comedian of 2013. Initially his jokes seemed a little weak and unpolished, but soon his playfulness and spontaneity come to the fore, and it became apparent why he was awarded such a prestigious title. He had a real rapport with the audience, slipping between scripted materiel and genuine ad-lib, and before long he felt less like a performer, and more like a friend we had yet to meet.

Among the hordes of compilation shows on at the fringe, Charity Chuckle does not stand out from the rest. But with a different line-up every day and a philanthropic purpose, it's worth catching it while you can.  

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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The Blurb

Charity Chuckle is a comedy fundraiser, presenting some of the best stand-up on the circuit for the benefit of local charities. Previous acts include Fringe favourites Aisling Bea, Hannibal Buress, Nick Helm, Stewart Lee, Zoe Lyons, Romesh Ranganathan and Joe Wilkinson. Cherry-picked comedians and a different local charity each day, it's a guaranteed laugh with the feel good factor! 'Charity Chuckle has a real knack for grabbing some of the best up-and-coming comedians around' (Latest). 'A really funny and fun night' (Target TB).