Raul Kohli

Raul Kohli

Newcastle-based stand-up Raul Kohli has been performing solo Edinburgh Fringe shows since 2013, was a runner-up in the Chortle Student Comedy Award in 2016 and scooped the Naty new act of the year ‘top of the bill’ title in 2017.
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That time I met 'Gerard Butler'

Raul Kohli on the best and the worst of the Edinburgh Fringe

Raul Kohli is back at the Edinburgh Fringe with his stand-up show Full Inglish (at City Cafe at 4.55pm), and improvised hour Raul Kohli Makes It Up As He Goes Along (Bar 50, 2.45pm) and hosting a compilation show Kohl And The Gang (Three Sisters, 8pm), all part of the Laughing Horse Free Festival.

Here he shares what he can't get enough of at the festival, his most embarrassing Edinburgh experience and the worst thing about the Fringe. Apart from the cost of accommodation, obviously… 

Edinburgh binge

Seeing your colleagues and the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

Being a comic can be a very lonely life. Travelling four hours to be in a city for less than 24 hours, and barely seeing the city or anyone else on the bill is always a bit frustrating. But when you head up to Edinburgh, it's the closest you get to an office environment. 

So many people you know and love are there and I always cherish bumping into those people and having a laugh while on the way to get a £7 slice of pizza.

I also cherish being able to truly get to know the city (at least in August): routes, back alleys, big sights etc, but nothing means more to me in August than the 15-minute cycle to work every day. So much more enjoyable than being stuck on British trains all day. 

Edinburgh cringe

God, there are a lot of embarrassing moments – but the most printable is probably after the semi-final of the So You Think You’re Funny tournament. 

They invited us all up to the Gilded Balloon’s Loft Bar for a drink afterwards. I was 21 or 22 and was informed this is the VIP bar where all the celebs hang out and I was full of excitement. I saw a guy in the smoker's area and thought ‘OMG, that is Gerard Butler'. I walked up and told him I was a huge fan, and asked if I could grab a picture. He kindly obliged and was very nice. As I left I made some reference to the movie 300.

I showed loads of pals this picture and many were suitably impressed until one pointed out this definitely was not Gerrard Butler but a man he'd seen performing in Manchester called The Monkey Poet. 

Years later, I spotted him in the Loft Bar again, and told him the story, which he gleefully remembered... he said it was only when I referenced 300 that he realised I thought he was Gerard Butler and  had not in fact recognised him from his 5* review in Broadway Baby. Don't know who the story is more embarrassing for,  to be fair.

Butler and Monkey Poet side by side

Butler picture: Siebbi, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Edinburgh whinge

The lack of effort and communication from Fringe heads with artists (and  the crippling cost of everything now).

The University of Edinburgh and Fringe Central could do a lot more to make it more affordable, or to communicate in good time – before application deadlines! – that there will be no app, or awards or whatever else they can't be bothered to do this year.

But they simply don't prioritise it as people will find ingenious ways to make it possible: camping, living in vans etc. It will keep happening until one year the Fringe will break and be beyond repair.

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Published: 12 Aug 2023

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