The best comedy performances of 2012
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 December 2012
Featuring Doctor Brown, Pappy's, Alexei Sayle, Alfie Brown and Mark Thomas
Character comedy, sketch shows and straight-down-the-line stand-up made way for silent comedy this August when Doctor Brown (pictured) walked off with the Edinburgh Comedy Award and The Boy with Tape on His Face won the panel award. Controversial US act Billy the Mime and old-school Aussie Tom Flanagan also charmed the Fringe’s socks off.
While the Doc proved a popular choice for the main award, Pappy’s had been the people’s favourites for the gong with the misleadingly-titled (we trust) Last Show Ever! Quite obviously their finest hour to date, the trio’s Fringe affair garnered an astonishing collection of five-star ratings before hitting the nation during the autumn.
The man who pretty much popularised alternative comedy three decades ago brought us some warm-up dates for what will hopefully prove to be a lengthy comeback tour in the near future. He certainly stopped the rot of former stand-up greats making a lukewarm return to the nation’s stages.
That rare thing – an angry young stand-up – Brown set the benchmark for those comics who want to make their way in the comedy world without a leg-up from a certain BBC roadshow. He laid into Rihanna, Adele and bit a hand or two that could have handsomely fed him somewhere down the line.
Perhaps there is a touch of the young Mark Thomas in Alfie Brown, and this year the defiantly political comic went deeply personal. Bravo Figaro! was a moving yet unsentimental theatrey show at the Traverse about his family, in which he delved into his past while helping put on an opera in his dying father’s front room. If you didn’t cry at least twice, then you simply have no soul.