The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society

To say that Alternative Comedy Memorial Society is a cult phenomenon is an understatement… and to call it a showcase night would be wildly simplifying the interactive, experimental and anarchic event. Armed with a series of “permitted heckles”, regular attendees join in the fun panto-style, actively encouraged by the unconventional compère double act Thom Tuck and John-Luke Roberts, who provide a special kind of silliness, passing sweets around and laughing at their own jokes.

A euphoric hour of pure comedy risk-taking that leaves you with an infectious energy long after the show has finished.

The night ranged from the beautifully crafted to the utterly ridiculous. Josie Long kicked the night off by offering up the contents of her own rucksack to the crowd in a set that shone for its simplicity; topics moving seamlessly from the genuine emotion of a near-death experience to a pure silly impression of someone thinking about what to have for dinner. From Tom Allen who told a story about a shoe shop interspersed with singing in the style of a man whose very thoughts have been remixed, to Simon Munnery performing a perplexing and so-funny-it-hurt ditty about Putin with delightful physicality, the evening is one of pure hysterical joy, unburdened by gag rates but providing belly laughs all the same.

Inventive and imaginative, the comedy isn’t so much performed as it is created in the room. A stunning set from Tim Fitzhigham, a man with the appearance of a rock and roll Robinson Crusoe, was entirely in semaphore – the audience had to shout out guesses as to what the movements might mean, building the jokes from the ground up. The night is as varied as you’re likely to find, from the utterly left field – including an act with a plastic doll that toed the line between horrifying and hilarious, to the sweetly simple – Tom Bell’s love song depicting water droplets in a kettle. The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society provides a euphoric hour of pure comedy risk-taking that leaves you with an infectious energy long after the show has finished.

Reviews by Jane Thompson

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The #ACMS marches on Edinburgh in pursuit of noble failure: life-risking comedy from changing bills of left-field dolts. #ACMS is less a comedy show, more a way of life, albeit a way of life that is a ticketed event with comedy in it. Actually, thinking about it, it is more of a comedy show. ‘Celebrating everything, and I mean everything, that is weird and wonderful in comedy’ (Bruce Dessau). ‘Joyous future of comedy stuff’ (Sunday Times). ‘Not just one memorable moment, but dozens of the bastards, all in one night’ (Chortle.co.uk).