Comedy Gala 2013: In Aid of Waverley Care

The Playhouse, one of Edinburgh’s grandest venues, played host to the annual Comedy Gala; the biggest show of the festival boasting some of the biggest names in comedy. Filmed by the BBC, this was a performance jam-packed with stars, and it was three hours of flawless stand-up.

The first half saw Scottish treasure Kevin Bridges hosting with an air of immense confidence and natural rapport which demonstrated quite what it means to be at the top of the comedy circuit. His amiable yet sharp wit and banter with the immense audience proved yet again that Bridges deserves every ounce of credit and praise the UK is offering him at the moment.

The show kicked off with the likes of familiar TV comics Jason Byrne and Andrew Lawrence offering their distinctive styles, and proceeded with a vast variety of comics all successfully playing on Scottish/English stereotypes, delivering witty anecdotes and, in the case of Gary Delaney, a series of witty one-liners and puns.

Lesser-known highlights included Ivo Graham who, standing out as comparably young, smashed his set, winning the crowd over with his self-assured comedy. On the other end of the spectrum Russell Kane, who has enjoyed a sell-out Fringe show, delivered yet again with his energy and sheer excitement as he bounded around the large stage, oozing liveliness.

Second-half host Adam Hills compared with equal prowess and comfortableness, revving the audience up and maintaining momentum in the long show. A particular favourite in this half was Hal Cruttenden, whose self-confessed camp middle-class air made for hilarious results: ‘I’d rather grow a tumour then make a fuss’. The lovable Sarah Pascoe provided a nice break from the male heavy line-up, followed by the exceptionally articulate and easily listenable Simon Evans whose concise observations surmised Edinburgh at Fringe time perfectly.

Crowd favourite Lee Nelson was undoubtedly a star of the show. Combining his favourite character with comments such as ‘Americans don’t understand the link between lots and lots of people having guns and lots and lots of people getting shot’, getting perhaps the biggest applause of the Gala and culminating with an impersonation of the royal baby in sperm form, Nelson offered one of the most dynamic and popular sets.

Porkie the Poet, also known as Phill Jupitus, arrived on stage dressed in a kilt and leather jacket, with panda face paint and shades; ‘I’ve been working with Noel Fielding too long’. He proceeded to read his poem about Jeremy Clarkson ‘shagging a car’. In his words, ‘you don’t get more Fringe than that, bitches’.

Finally, to round a brilliant evening off, Stephen K Amos took to the stage with his warm and contemporary stand-up, playing on the differences between his Nigerian heritage and British upbringing, highlighting the ignorance and pure stupidity of the racism he has faced.

The Comedy Gala was a showcase of some of the best that Britain has to offer in terms of its comedic greats; it demonstrated the expertise of our top comics and all in all provided a quite perfect end to what has been an absolutely incredible month of performance.

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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

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The Blurb

Edinburgh's biggest comedy event featuring an all-star cast, hosted by Kevin Bridges and Adam Hills. Previous years have included Jon Richardson and Sean Lock among others. Book early. Recorded for television.

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