Posted on 13/01/2014
Edinburgh's a funny place. No, really. On any given night, in certain parts of the historic city, you can find people rolling on the floor with laughter. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but splitting their sides is certainly not, for Edinburgh had gained a reputation as a capital of comedy.
The Edinburgh Comedy Festival at the annual Fringe Festival had its biggest year this year, while it's standing room only at the top comedy clubs in the city -- that's if you can get in. There’s a whole lot of laughing going on in Edinburgh.
The Stand Comedy Club on York Place is generally recognised as one of the Edinburgh's finest, and has achieved legendary status over the years as pretty much everyone who’s anyone in the world of comedy has appeared there. It has sister clubs in Glasgow and Newcastle, and between them they sell some 12,000 tickets a month -- that's a lorra laffs.
There's live stand-up every night at the Edinburgh Stand, featuring acts by Scottish comedians and from all over the world. There are also regular open-mike nights where anyone with nerves of steel can try out their material.
Really, before The Stand came about, in 1995, there was something of a comedy vacuum in Edinburgh, and funny Scots looking to make a name for themselves had to go elsewhere, most notably southwards to London. Nowadays they can stay at home.
A sort of spin-off comedy operation of The Stand came into being in 2003 -- the Scottish Comedy Agency, which trades as StandOut Comedy. It claims to be the biggest producer of live comedy in Scotland and represents performers whose work is original and, of course, hilarious. It provides acts to venues, corporate events and festivals, as well as devising tours.
Another popular place in Edinburgh is The Beehive, which describes itself as "the best small comedy club in Scotland!" It has 50 seats on the second floor of The Beehive Inn in the city's Old Town and showcases established acts as well as newcomers. The Beehive Comedy Club normally only stages acts at the weekend, on Friday and Saturday nights, but occasionally there are shows on other nights, such as Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
The Beehive also puts on monthly specials as well as staging one-off events throughout the year, and has the added advantage of being able to feed (and water) its guests in the pub downstairs.
Many comics are also found staging their acts at the Bedlam Theatre, a striking neo-gothic former church that can seat up to 90 punters and is near the Royal Mile. The theatre is run by students and is home to the Edinburgh University Theatre Company.
Acts can sometimes also be staged at other locations around the city that are not dedicated comedy clubs, so check local listings for details. One that puts on comedy shows is the City nightclub on Market Street, as it has various areas available for productions.
You’ll never be down when up in Edinburgh; there’s just too much to laugh at.
Photo credit: Zach Den Adel