Student Guide 2016: Live comedy
Where to head when you want a laugh in Glasgow and Edinburgh
You look like you could use a laugh. Luckily, there are plenty of funny goings on in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Our comedy editor breaks it down.
In any discussion about the Scottish comedy scene, there's really no way around mentioning the behemoth that is The Stand Comedy Club. Boasting purpose-built venues in Glasgow (Woodlands Road) and Edinburgh (York Place), this world-renowned space is where the finest UK and international touring comedians come to perform. The club's original co-founder Tommy Sheppard has other things on his plate now as a high-flying SNP MP, but he's clearly left the day-to-day running in safe hands, with the likes of Nish Kumar, Isy Suttie, Jason Byrne and James Acaster all being attracted to the venue this autumn.
The Stand is also a proud pioneer of rising talent with their Red Raw evenings hopefully opening the door for the next Kevin Bridges or Daniel Sloss. Among other popular regular nights there, the Broken Windows Policy sketch team, Topical Storm satirists, and improv kings Stu & Garry provide glee in Edinburgh, while Michael Redmond's Sunday Service, the Glasgow Kids Comedy Club and Comedian Rap Battle light up Glasgow. Meanwhile, both cities get all intellectual on us with their Bright Club sessions, platforming funny academics – of all things.
In recent times, the Gilded Balloon has moved out of the August Edinburgh Fringe bubble to lay on some top-quality monthly nights at Drygate Brewery (Drygate) in Glasgow and Festival Theatre Studio (Potterrow) in Edinburgh. They're back again and before the year is out, the likes of Tom Wrigglesworth, Felicity Ward and George Egg will have trodden the GB boards. While you can blow a wad of cash on a household name at the Pavilion, King's or SECC in Glasgow and Festival Theatre, Queen's Hall or Playhouse in Edinburgh, it's sometimes a better bet to take in a series of cheap or free gigs.
Glasgow has an array of pubs and clubs which regularly put on comedy, such as Yesbar (Drury Street) with its weekly Yesbar Virgins night for newcomers. The Duke Bar (Duke Street) has its Laldy New Material Night while The Griffin (Bath Street) hosts evenings of long-form improv comedy through its Glasgow Harold Night. There's more improv at The Old Hairdressers (Renfield Lane) with Imaginary Friends Improv Comedy and Absolute Improv at the Siempre Bicycle Café (Dumbarton Road). But if you prefer your laughs to be accompanied by a side order of magic and burlesque then Enterteasement at The Hold (Waterloo Street) could be viewed as a treat for getting that essay handed in on time.
In Edinburgh, 48 Below (Broughton Street) offers a new-material night, Monkey Barrel Comedy at the Beehive Inn (Grassmarket) showcases local and visiting stand-ups, the Edinburgh Comedy Cellar at the Cellar Monkey (Argyle Place) puts the emphasis on up-and-coming talent while The Blunt Club at Burlington Bertie (Tarvit Street) puts control in the audience's hands as they make suggestions for the bill based on the previous month's comic offerings. Down in Leith, the Granary Comedy Club (The Shore) keeps punters happy once a month, while for adlib lovers there's The Harold Improv Comedy show at The Tron (Hunter Square) and A-Z Improv Comedy at The Kilderkin (Canongate).