Kate Copstick’s Festival Diary

Omid Djalili

Omid Djalili

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A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a glorious afternoon in the company of Lady Colin Campbell, a fabulous woman whose show – A Cup Of Tea With Lady C – promises to be an unmitigated joy. But I should warn you the Lady makes the worst cup of tea I have ever had the misfortune to taste. The mug of the stuff she made me in her charming London home was tongue curlingly bad. She may have brought staff, but if you see her near the TyPhoo… you have been warned.

We are up to our laughing gear in comedy awards – new comics, old comics, women comics and the lastminute.com Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Inspired by the main awards’ change of sponsor, Edward Hobson is organising the FirstMinute Awards. He and his panel (including me, I am honoured to say) will be going around judging comedy shows purely on their first minute. Comics of Edinburgh, come out fighting!

As well as that 2016 sees the inauguration of Will Franken’s Defining The Norm Awards. Will explains: “Shows will be judged on conformity to industry standards, marketable status, adherence to shared political opinion, and audience pandering. Special categories for shows consisting of safe targets, stifled free speech, and lack of original or perceptive messages.” The great thing is that Will is not bitter about the comedy industry at all.

Talking of awards, the winner of last year’s Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Creativity, Michael Brunstrom, is back with his new show The Haywain Reloaded. And, not content with creating Constable-themed comedy, he is organising a Haywain-themed volleyball tournament on Portobello Beach on 7 August at 2pm. All-comers welcome, in teams of two with acceptably intelligent names. I will be umpiring. In a smock. In the manner of Constable.

You may have heard of the takeover of the Counting House (once part of the Free Festival) by the Gilded Balloon. On the face of it, we are told that it is becoming a Pay What You Want venue. But the PWYW model only extends to you, the public. The performers are paying a considerable sum for their performance slot. Added to which the Gilded Balloon are going to take a percentage of the bucket into which you put What You Want To Pay. So if you like a show, do not put money in the bucket, just find the performer somewhere in the building and give them the money direct. They need it.

Edinburgh has seen many weird and wonderful shows and several weird and less than wonderful. This year we have The Chilcott Report, read in its entirety, in the garden shed next to Brenda, aka Bob’s Blundabus, by a cast of comics and other luminaries. Sources close to Omid Djalili (left) and Bob Slayer reckon it will take 350 hours in total. There will undoubtedly be less funny shows on the Fringe. Go to www.iraqoutloud.com for more details. ■

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