Hosted by Fred MacAuley and Susan Calman, this year’s Amnesty fundraiser treated the audience to a wide selection of comedy from Fringe stars including The Boy With Tape On His Face, Hannibal Buress, Pappy's, Josie Long and the ever-cacophonous Frisky & Mannish. The acts, as you can imagine from the line up, were great, but they seemed to be there more to promote their own shows and less to support the work of Amnesty. Some of the acts, referring to the charity in a very non-specific manner, appeared to be unaware of what Amnesty actually does.
Admittedly, I am a volunteer for Amnesty International, so more familiar and probably biased as far as their work is concerned. It campaigns for prisoners of conscience around the world. Many, if not all of the acts tonight would be imprisoned for expressing their views in certain countries. Amnesty supports freedom of thought and freedom of expression. For me, the link between Amnesty and stand-up comedy couldn’t be clearer.
A feature of every Amnesty gig is a call to action. Tonight is was the call for the release of Pussy Riot, the band sentenced in Russian for their performance in a church. The audience were asked to stand up and shout their solidarity, but there was barely a whimper.
So the comedy was good, but the meaning seemed lost. A wasted opportunity to promote Amnesty’s great work.