Hilarity Bites Comedy Club: Showcase Show

Hilarity Bites, as comedy showcases at the Fringe go, is a solid choice - a mix of an experienced compere and a good range of acts promising a solid hour of entertainment. Essentially a comedy club night reconfigured for an Edinburgh time slot, compere Freddie Quinn's laid back, conversational tones and self-deprecating gags set the audience at ease adeptly and quickly.

There’s no real link between the acts in terms of genre or style, so it’s hard to recommend the show with certainty – but the hour that I saw was entertaining and well put together.

The acts varied dramatically in style and tone. Javier Jarquin started the hour with fairly basic observations about his mixed race heritage and being from New Zealand in a set that was competent enough but lacked anything to mark him out from the crowd. Next up, Micky Bartlett with an old standard about living with your parents. To give Bartlett his due, the set was performed with a presence and energy that lifted the material, but the end of the set, an act-out of Bartlett trying to have sex quietly, bordered on the grotesque.

The quality of acts progressively improved throughout the hour. Tom Houghton managed to crush expectations of everyone’s new favourite joke – Tinder – subverting the usual remarks with a flight of fancy that got everyone in the room laughing. Peter Brush provided the crowd with his extremely down beat brand of geeky observation, delightfully self effacing and beautifully constructed jokes that hit home every time. Steve Bugeja finished the hour with relatable tales of family relationships and kissing girls that shone beyond their simplistic origins through creative writing and a charged stage presence. Bugeja is just cutting his teeth, but I have no doubts that we'll be seeing much more of him in the future - a breakaway flash of talent that ended the show on a high.

There’s no real link between the acts in terms of genre or style, so it’s hard to recommend the show with certainty – but the hour that I saw was entertaining and well put together. The main stumbling block that Hilarity Bites Comedy Club faces is that it was never constructed to withstand a Fringe audience. Performing a club style showcase in the middle of the day means that some of the more Friday night audience focused material fell a little flat. Without the right energy in the room, routines about national rivalries and stories about being single failed to get the laughs they might in another context.

Reviews by Jane Thompson

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Performances

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The Blurb

Since 2007 Hilarity Bites Comedy Club have brought the very best in comedy to the north-east of England, showcasing festival favourites such as John Bishop, Sarah Millican, Russell Kane, Reginald D. Hunter, Chris Ramsey, Pappy's, Idiots of Ants, Jason Cook, Pete Firman, Richard Herring, Jon Richardson, Kevin Bridges, David O'Doherty, Jason Cook and Tony Law. Hilarity Bites return to the Edinburgh Fringe, with one of our regular MCs presenting four of the best acts from on and off the Fringe. 2013 guests included Jon Richardson, Patrick Monahan and Jack Carroll.

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