Kate Copstick’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe Comedy Round-Up

Kate Copstick rounds up some provocatively – and in certain cases, misleadingly – titled comedy shows at this year’s Fringe.

A Terrible Show for Terrible People ***

Underbelly (Venue 61) until 27 August

200 IQ Audience Only (No Munters) ***

PBH's Free Fringe @ Voodoo Rooms until 27 August

A Shark Ate My Penis: A History of Boys Like Me

Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14) until 28 August

Teardrops on my Dildo

A Terrible Show For Terrible PeopleA Terrible Show For Terrible People
A Terrible Show For Terrible People

Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) until 27 August ****

A Terrible Show for Terrible People turns out to be a sweet show by a delightful person, in a terrible venue (for this show) in a terrible time slot. It is gentle, wordless and endearing, which is odder than it sounds because the topic of comedy here is sex.

Members (I use the word loosely) of the front couple of rows should be advised that physical contact is on the cards, but it is all more giggly than gropey. Bonnie He has the performing charisma to hold the room, with the help of a much abused gherkin and some edgy floristry.

200 IQ Audience (No Munters) is a powerfully provocative title for what turns out to be a pleasant debut show by Burt Williamson. I was rather disappointed not to be appalled, but Burt is an intelligent comic and packs his hour with an odd mix of nevertheless satisfyingly entertaining stuff, none of which relates to the title at all.

What we do get is Burt bemoaning his apparent poshness, his erstwhile admiration for Elon Musk and his career in body-based campaign work (not sure how Palestine will benefit from his penis but, hey, it’s the intentions that count). More time is spent on his laser eye surgery than is ideal, but there is a lot of fresh, quality content here.

The 'semi' has finally found its laugh potential, along with new ground broken for chicken and yoghurt. Be neither enticed not put off by the title, it has nothing to do with the show.

The title of A Shark Ate My Penis is also hugely misleading. Hinting, as it does, at a kind of nonsense, off the wall, laddish piece, what it delivers is something more akin to a fascinating TED Talk about trans men through the ages and Laser Webber (whose show it is) in particular.

It is the story of Laser's transition, studded (pardon the pun) with the stories of trans men from previous centuries, who simply left their apparently female personae behind, to walk into and live the most impressive and full lives as men, with wives. These tales are absolutely gripping and I could have listened to more of this if I were not so puzzled that it was in the Comedy section.

Laser's own journey to be the person who stands before us now takes up the rest of the hour, in tiny re-enactments, in song and in reminiscences. The hour is gentle and interesting and an intriguing mix, but I think what has happened here is that this show identifies as being a comedy show, while really being spoken word. Yes, the relevance of the title is made apparent in the closing few minutes.

It is a joyous thing when an actual grown-up lets rip on the subject of sex. And when that grown-up is Australian it is pretty much as good as it gets. Vanessa Larry Mitchell is the grown up in question here and in Teardrops on my Dildo gives us pretty much everything you could want from a comedy hour. It is like suddenly developing a new, best, slightly potty mouthed friend with a life full of dodgy tales to tell.

More mature women are SO much better at talking about sex and Vanessa runs a comfortably bawdy gamut from dick pix and wine clubs, IUDs and casual sex to … well, just about anything and everything that might fill up a healthy woman's sex life. And, indeed, several suggestions as to what might fill her up in a more practical way. You will pretty much laugh for an hour. And that is a rare thing.

Vanessa is more relaxed and direct behind a comedy mic than anyone I have seen. Having said that, she is a voice for woman power, the proud owner of a world class collection of sex toys, a “drinker by trade” and a fund of information for sexual first-timers. Be careful if she persuades you to a game of Truth or Dare (in Vanessa's world, Dare is all that matters).

Related topics: