Scottish comedians pick their favourite show at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival
Featuring Jay Lafferty, Chris Forbes, Phil Kay, Fern Brady and more
This article is from 2016.
The Glasgow Comedy Festival is correct to slip the International into its title as a broad and impressive geographical mix will once more descend upon the city in March. But what of the excellent local talent? We asked a bunch of them what show they were most looking forward to at the festival.
Glasgow is my favourite comedy festival! It has all the innovative shows that the Fringe does without the pressure of performing for 28 flipping days. Like Glasgow’s life expectancy, it’s short and sweet. Go see The Last Laugh at Cottiers: the show mixes stand-up, theatre and storytelling to highlight why you should never date a comic!
Jay Lafferty, Yesbar, Sat 12 Mar; The Last Laugh, Cottiers, Thu 24 Mar.
When you work in comedy full-time and see stand-ups performing every weekend, it’s easy to become a little anaesthetised by seeing the same type of thing again and again. That’s why I’m mostly looking forward to seeing Richard Gadd’s Waiting for Gaddot. Convention and predictability go out the window when Gadd performs, allowing you to enjoy a very real, visceral and, above all, entertaining experience. His surreal, absurdist and at times violent style won’t be for everyone but if you’re into that kinda thing, you’ll love it.
Chris Forbes, The Hug and Pint, Sat 19 Mar; Richard Gadd, The Stand, Sun 13 Mar.
Richie Brown is brilliantly funny and clever and is well worth catching before all his anger triggers the inevitable stroke. David Simon who made The Wire was told his show put off the casual viewer. ‘Fuck the casual viewer’, he replied. Richie Brown is not for the casual viewer.
Andrew Learmonth, The Hug and Pint, Sun 27 Mar; Richard Brown, The Griffin, Wed 23 Mar.
I’m most looking forward to WITSHERFACE sketch show. Cannae wait to see this group of strong, funny women! I love how it’s a mixture of new faces and more established names. They caught my interest on Twitter so can't wait for the actual show now.
Rachel Jackson, Broadcast, Sun 20 Mar; WITSHERFACE, Saint Luke’s, Fri 11 & Sat 12 Mar.
A rare chance for a Glasgow audience to catch the star of Letterman and The Daily Show, reprising her 2015 Edinburgh Fringe hit American Cunt. One of the USA's top satirical stand-ups, Jena Friedman has the rare gift of being able to mix political comment with knob gags. A pure delight.
Scotland: 45 Events that Shaped a Nation, Yesbar, Sun 27 Mar; Jena Friedman, Saint Luke’s, Sat 19 Mar.
If he's not sold out (again!), go and see Gary Little. Gloriously honest stand-up from one of our best storytellers, guaranteed to provide big belly laughs throughout.
Julia Sutherland, Yesbar, Fri 11, Fri 25 Mar; Gary Little, Webster’s Theatre, Sat 12 Mar.
Mark Nelson is one of the best acts in the UK who not enough people know about. He can be incredibly dark with some of his material, but all of his jokes have sharp, astute punchlines. It is honest, brilliantly written and performed, stand-up. Great chance to see him before he is doing much bigger rooms. Is The Hydro 'a room'?
Larry Dean, Yesbar, Mon 14, Fri 18 Mar; Mark Nelson, The Stand, Sat 12 Mar.
The show I'm looking forward to most is Stand Up in The Shack, an evening of stand-up courtesy of the Greater Shawlands Republic, mixing comedy with politics in pursuit of the ultimate goal of independence for Shawlands. I thoroughly recommend visitors to the festival to venture south of the river and support the cause. Avanti!
David Kay, The Stand, Sun 13 Mar; Stand Up in The Shack, The Rum Shack, Fri 11 Mar.
When I met Nicholas Cooke he was busy launching a cult comedy night hosted by a talking bear who screamed tearfully at audiences about the time he had to mercy-kill Paddington. Since then his tastes have turned away from the mainstream.
Keiron Nicholson, The Griffin, Tue 22 Mar; Nicholas Cooke, The Griffin, Tue 22 Mar.
Simply unstoppable in terms of sheer comedy creativity right now is the wonderful Rosco McClelland, formerly known for his hysterical storytelling alter ego Rosco McSkeleton. Rosco has been bringing a delightful mix of play and just utter damn funniness to every gig and has to be one of Scotland's most original acts right.
Billy Kirkwood, Comedian Tattoo Studio, Fri 11 Mar; The Stand, Mon 21 Mar; Rosco McClelland, The Griffin, Sun 27 Mar.
I first met Darren Connell in 2011. We were in the final of a comedy competition and he kept spewing with nerves then trying to hug me. I didn't hear from him after that, other than the odd drunk message on Facebook where he'd ask to have sex with me and mention his 'fudge tits'. Last year I saw him do a sold-out show where women were genuinely throwing themselves at him and realised I'd missed my chance. The best bit was when he mentioned getting recognised from Scot Squad while still working as a window cleaner. I thought he was making it up until his boss from the window cleaning company started heckling him. His show this year is going to be even better.
Fern Brady, Blackfriars Basement, Thu 24 Mar; Darren Connell, The Stand, Wed 16, Fri 18 Mar.
I can't tell you how excited I am that Chris Wilson's Christ on a Bike show is getting another outing at Glasgow Comedy Festival. I was so impressed that this was the first show he'd ever written: so funny and the kind of show you'd normally see a couple of years into someone's comedy career. I'm making sure all my friends see this one because it really would be a crime to miss it! Can't wait to see where he goes from here. Get on yer bike and get a ticket.
Craig Hill, Òran Mór, Fri 18 & Sat 19 Mar; Christ on a Bike, Wild Cabaret, Sun 27 Mar.
I'm looking forward to seeing Stuart Mitchell. His sharp one-liners and observations never fail to make me laugh. There is no waste in his sets, every detail and every line has been carefully planned to get maximum laughs which stay with you long after seeing him.
Viv Gee: Stand-Up Comedy Crash Course, Yesbar, Mon 14, Mon 21 Mar; Stuart Mitchell, Yesbar, Thu 24 Mar.
I love Chunks. No breaks, no stand-up. Each act is allowed a short Chunk of time on stage. When each Chunk is finished and if the idea worked, you’re left wanting more; if not, who cares, you’re already munching the next Chunk of pop-culture monster mash.
Ally Houston, The Griffin, Fri 11 Mar; Chunks, The Griffin, Mon 14, Wed 16, Sun 27 Mar.
The show I'm most looking forward to is the wonderful Richard Gadd’s Waiting for Gaddot. The thing is I have already seen this show. Twice. However I cannot wait to see it again. Far and away the best show at last year's Fringe. Funny, anarchic and one of the most original things I have ever seen. Just brilliant.
Mark Nelson, The Stand, Sat 12 Mar; Richard Gadd, The Stand, Sun 13 Mar.
The show I am most excited about is Rosco McClelland’s The Rosco Show. Any man who can bring a tape measure onstage and create a show tune and intensely addictive game from such a mundane item will be my favourite comic forever. It’s not often I laugh at comedy but there is something deeply hilarious about the absurdity that is Rosco. I advise you check him out.
Janey Godley, Òran Mór, Fri 25 & Sat 26 Mar; Rosco McClelland, The Griffin, Sun 27 Mar.
I’m really looking forward to Jamie Dalgleish’s I Drink Therefore I Am. He’s one of my favourite people on the comedy circuit and never fails to make me laugh. He’s also probably the greatest mind of my generation only nobody realises it because that mind is encased in a Buckie-loving, Umbro-clad shell. Also Janey Godley … I am looking forward to mum’s show very much. She made me write that.
Ashley Storrie, Blackfriars Basement, Fri 11 Mar; Jamie Dalgleish, Blackfriars Basement, Sat 26 Mar.
One of my favourite Scottish comedians is Julia Sutherland, who does the most wonderful line in goofball self-deprecation. Nobody works through their ‘issues’ so hilariously. Her new show is about her various failings as a parent. Creche not provided, just in case she goes all Anakin Skywalker on your loved ones.
Alan Bissett, Tron Theatre, Fri 11 Mar; Julia Sutherland, Yesbar, Fri 11, Fri 25 Mar.
Circling the steep streets around the art school where my daughter Coco really is now + it's where I wooed her mum … ah the cycles o' Life + Variety Bar's lighting + Blue Lagoon single fish supper and The Project Café + Magic Mushrooms on the secret top hidden lost plateau of Kelvingrove Park. Sixteen tons of memories. Apart from getting up there pissed-as-farts on the Virgin first-class vouchers last year with two women friends and sharing an Ibis hotel room. It is really the psyche-geography I am into.
Phil Kay, Candleriggs, Fri 11–Sun 13 Mar.
Glasgow International Comedy Festival, various venues, Sat 12–Tue 29 Mar.