Sayle back on the Fringe

First Edinburgh run in decades

Alexei Sayle is to appear at the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in around 20 years, with a run at The Stand.

Sayle – the first compere The Comedy Store ever had – will play the 200-seater Stand 3 for the festival’s final two weeks, with the show he’s been previewing around the UK since last year.

Stewart Lee, Sarah Millican, Brendon Burns, Tony Law and Simon Evans will also be part of the comedy club’s festival line-up.

In 1980, Sayle and Tony Allen are said to have had the only comedy show on the Fringe, now the number is approaching 1,000.

Sayle quit stand-up in 1996 to concentrate on writing books and confessed to trepidation about returning to live comedy. But writing on his blog recently, he said the comeback was going ‘unnervingly well’.

‘I find that the energy when I'm on stage is exactly the same as twenty years ago but what is much harder is the travelling’ he added.

The Stand’s owner Tommy Sheppard revealed the news in an interview with Scottish broadcaster STV to mark the club’s 15th anniversary. He admitted that The Stand, which also has venues in Glasgow and Newcastle, ‘made a loss for the first time in ten years last year, mainly the cost of building Newcastle. There is a recession on, but we can handle the losses.

‘The next few years are a period of survival and consolidation. We now have three good venues and we want to hold on to them.’

Chortle understands that The Stand’s four venues will also be hosting Simon Munnery, Bridget Christie, Mitch Benn, Martin Mor, Wil Hodgson and Lee Ridley aka Lost Voice Guy, you uses an iPad to speak after losing his voice from childhood meningitis. Further names are to be announced later.

Acts already on sale elsewhere at the festival include Jason Byrne, Ed Byrne, Jimeoin, Daniel Sloss, Gyles Brandreth, hip-hop star Scroobius Pip performing spoken-word poetry and Mrs Brown’s Boys star Eilish O'Carroll, sister of the show’s creator Brendan O’Carroll, who is bringing a one-woman play about growing up in Fifties Dublin to the Pleasance.

Improv showcases Set List and Showstoppers: The Improvised Musical are back, as are Tom Binns with his medium character Ian D. Montfort, ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and The Ginge, The Geordie and The Geek, who recently recorded a sketch show for BBC Two.

Chortle will be back with the daily Fast Fringe showcase at 6.40pm every day in the Pleasance Dome, featuring a dozen acts performing three minutes each.

- by Jay Richardson

Published: 8 Mar 2013

Today's comedy-on demand picks


Tim Key headlines this night of comedy, music and poetry, fundraising in aid of the National Autistic Society tonight (Thursday) at 8.15pm, after the clap for carers.

Other comics taking part include  Harriet Dyer, Jack Carroll, Jay Foreman, Milo McCabe, Paul 'Silky' White, Edy Hurst, Tony Wright, and Will Andrews.

Click for more suggestions

... including Marcel Lucont's lockdown show plus a new episode of Jacob Hawley's Job Centre.

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