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Best of political comedy

Being a politician is no joke. Oh yes, it is!

Vlad 2016 portraitThe Edinburgh Fringe was always traditionally an event where writers and performers could find a platform to engage with their audience about politics.  In recent years, this radical side to the festival has been diluted, but has never gone away.

With Boris in the Foreign Office and Trump running for the White House satire is very much alive and kicking at this year’s Fringe.  Indeed, the collective mental breakdown in which the Western World now finds itself has merely fuelled the creative juices of the world’s top satirical comics, many of whom have made current events the centrepiece of their 2016 Edinburgh shows.

Here is a small selection of top-class political comedy on offer at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe.

MOLLAND AND SULLIVAN: FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Laughing Horse @ Espionage, Victoria Street  8pm nightly except Tuesdays

Liverpudlian motor-mouth Rick Molland teams up with energetic New Zealander Sully Sullivan in a no-holds-barred comedy face-off where opinions are shared, insults exchanged and gags are traded.  The audience are involved in the show throughout, and there has been one show already this Fringe where one audience member took part too enthusiastically.  Suffice it to say, Molland and Sullivan will now have incorporated that incident into the show.

MATT FORDE: IT’S MY POLITICAL PARTY (AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO)
Pleasance Courtyard   3.50pm and 5.10 pm Daily

It’s not often that you’ll find a recommendation for a show at The Pleasance in this coulee, as their comedy programming tends to be bland in the extreme.  However, this show is definitely worth seeking out.  This is well-crafted, well-considered political comedy.

POLITICAL ANIMAL
The Stand Comedy Club, York Place 11.30 pm   Sundays to Thursdays

Andy Zaltzman has been hosting this late-night political stand-up show for over a decade.  He initially ran the show with John Oliver, who has now gone to have a stellar career on US television.  Zaltzman is one of the finest satirical comedians of his generation.  Zaltzman has different guests every night, and the line-ups include Rory Bremner, Matt Forde and Mark Steel.

KATHERINE RYAN: WORK-IN-PROGRESS
Stand 6, York Place   4.05 pm  Until Saturday 13th

Now a regular on shows such as Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You, Ryan’s humour has a deliciously dark one moment and sugar-sweet the next. There are only a couple of performances of this show left, and tickets have been selling like hot cakes, so it may be difficult to get a seat. But do try to get one, as this is a brilliant hour of edgy, yet accessible comedy.

TOPICAL STORM
Stand 6, York Place  5.20pm  Daily except Monday 15th
I can make no claims about the lack of hungover comedians in this show. Indeed, I would be willing to bet that on any given day, one of this four-man teatime panel show will still be feeling the effects of the night before.  I know, because I am one of them.  A mixture of stand-up, chat and video clips, it features Keir McAllister and Mark Nelson alongside myself and host Stu Murphy, whose spontaneous wit and ability to think on his feet is worth the ticket price alone.

EDDIE BRIMSON: UP THE ANTI
Voodoo Rooms, West Register Street  6.35pm   Daily except Wednesdays

Londoner Eddie Brimson is one of the finest political stand-ups on the UK circuit., as well as a committed Green activist. This fifty-minute show tells of his arrest in a dawn raid on suspicion of breaking the Prevention Of Terrorism Act.  A compelling story, hilariously told.

Pladimir McTavish is appearing in his solo show “Scotland in Sixty Minutes” at Stand 5, York Place at 7.30 nightly except Monday 15th August

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