Comedy blog

Best free comedy shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013


Want to see some comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, but spent all your money on overpriced accommodation, umbrellas and Irn Bru?

Well, you’re in luck. Because there is some great FREE comedy at the Festival that more than matches the paid-for alternatives.

Free comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Below is our list of 21 top free comedy recommendations at the Fringe this year, most of which you can just turn up to and take a seat before enjoying and then donating what you can at the end.

We also feature some shows from Bob Slayer’s Heroes of the Fringe at The Hive, which cost £5 to guarantee entry, but are free if you want to take the risk and bet on there being seats available. As with the other free shows, donations are welcomed at the end.

_ _ _

John Kearns: Sight Gags for Perverts

John Kearns Edinburgh Fringe 2013

John Kearns

It’s hard to describe John’s act, which is perhaps its point. This title does do some justice though, especially when the physical manifestation of John’s show is one man with false teeth and a wig. show. Few people have ever made Laugh Out London laugh harder and even more each time we see him. Rarely have we been so excited for an Edinburgh show.

Aug 2 – 25, 5.05pm
Voodoo Rooms

Stuart Laws: Stuart Laws Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You are Dead (1hr Show)

Stuart Laws Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Stuart Laws

Expect a high energy hour of manic laughs as one of the best MCs around and acts performs his debut hour. Stu’s personality on stage is like a more positive Nick Helm, playing with the audience, without ever alienating any individual. Chances are, you’ll all go home together for some chocolate milk.

Aug 2 – 24, 3.10pm

Nathaniel Metcalfe: Enthusiast

Nathaniel Metcalfe Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Nathaniel Metcalfe

Brilliantly paced delivery with masterfully crafted jokes, Nathaniel is one of the gems on the free fringe. We happily list some of his routines among our very favourties (his bit on the live action Disney film The Barefoot Executive brought tears to our eyes the first time we heard it). We have been waiting a long time to see this hour and it’s finally here!

Aug 3 – 24, 2.35pm
Cabaret Voltaire

Harriet Kemsley & Richard Todd: The Peculiar Case of Kemsley and Todd

Harriet Kemsley and Richard Todd Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Harriet Kemsley and Richard Todd

Probably the highest quality double hander on the Fringe bill. Surreal, high-energy Amused Moosed Moose winner Todd partners up with strange, self-conscious and quirky Kemsley. You would be a fool to miss it. A FOOL.What with it being free and everything.

Aug 3 – 24, 2.20pm
Banshee Labyrinth

Tom Webb: Tom Webb’s Wedding

Tom Webb Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Tom Webb

One of the most instantly likable comics on the circuit with a knack for polished jokes. A natural MC with an amazing ability to connect with audiences, ensuring eager ears for life lessons and silly puns. This year Tom is getting hitched, but who to? RSVP yes for this one.

Aug 3 – 24, 5.30pm

Chris Coltrane: Compassion is Subversive

Chris Coltrane Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Chris Coltrane

Chris’ debut show last year was ranked in the 15 best reviewed at the Fringe and deservedly so, managing to bring both laughs and knowledge to Edinburgh audiences. Expect smart political comedy with a silly surreal edge from the man behind the fantastic Lolitics club and one of Mark Thomas’ favourites.

Aug 3 – 24, 3.30pm

David Mills: The Gospel Truth

David Mills Edinburgh Fringe 2013

David Mills

New Act of The Year winner in 2011 David is known for his elegant, bitchy, sometimes controversial jokes delivered while sitting on a bar stool. His jokes are as sharp as his dress sense, A very refreshing act with an American barb that few UK comedians can match.

Aug 1 – 25, 5.30pm
Heroes @ The Hive
FREE or £5 to guarantee entry

Philip O’Shea

Philip O'Shea Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Philip O’Shea

A quirky, surreal and imaginative up-and-comer, Philip finished second in the prestigious Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year and has just had a short film appear on Channel 4 narrated by Peter Serafinowicz (wow). Far and away one of our favourite acts.

Aug 2 – 25, 3.30pm
The Beehive Inn

John-Luke Roberts: Broken Stand-Up

John Luke Roberts Edinburgh Fringe 2013

John Luke Roberts

As one of the ringleaders of the new home of experimental British comedy, the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, and member of the joyfully bizarre sketch duo The Behemoth, don’t expect your run-of-the-mill material. John-Luke Roberts is bound to bring an hour innovative stand-up that blends the oppressively intellectual with welcoming stupidity.

Aug 3 – 25, 4.15pm
The Voodoo Rooms

Nat Luurtsema: Here She Be

Nat Luurtserma Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Nat Luurtserma

One third of sketch giants Jigsaw (Live at the Electric and Radio 4) Nat is a brilliant stand up who has recently published her first novel too. She has previously been part of The Comedy Zone (who have a habit for picking out star talent) and she was a Chortle Best Newcomer Nominee for whimsical tales supported by natural funny bones.

Aug 2 – 26, 2.45pm
Counting House

Mark Stephenson: Half Man, Half Amazing

Mark Stephenson Edinburgh fringe 2013

Mark Stephenson

Dry, droll and unashamedly thoughtful, Stephenson brings his debut hour to the Fringe, following an impressive short set last year that managed to explore the meaning of life and question why some people wouldn’t be excited by a seal in London. His CV also includes playing Peter Pan’s bearded, psychotic daughter in the Weirdos stage production of Hook and he has previously finished second in the Laughing Horse and Leicester Square new act competitions. Expect a funny and thoughtful show.

Aug 3 – 25, 3.30pm
The Banshee Labyrinth

Karl Schultz: Start The Karl

Karl Schultz Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Karl Schultz

A man with a gift for character comedy, best known for his New York artist character Matthew Kelly. This year Karl introduces new characters Pastor Kofi and Irish pub landlord Matty Kelly, who is friends with all the comedians. Picked out by Harry Hill as one to watch, Karl is a performer for anyone interested in taking comedy beyond its conventional restraints.

Aug 1 – 25, 4pm
Heroes @ The Hive
FREE or £5 to guarantee entry

Gerry Howell: Seriousnessmus

Gerry Howell

Gerry Howell

Expect poems stories and silliness from Gerry, who has a wonderfully relaxed persona on stage as his surrealism and whimsy spills out in gentle tones that build to comedic rapture. Last year Gerry’s show was a real hidden gem (see this five star review), and anyone who enjoys thier comedy odd and imaginative will not want to miss it.

Aug 3 – 24, 9.15pm
The Dram House

Adam Larter and Ali Brice: Plumpynut

Adam Larter and Ali Brice

Adam Larter and Ali Brice

Adam Larter is the head honcho of the wonderfully inventive Weirdos comedy club which was nominated (and robbed) at the Chortle Awards for Innovation for their stage production of Hook. Ali Brice played Peter Pan’s son Jack in that production. God knows what they have planned for their joint venture but we are excited about it.

Aug 3 – 25, 2.44pm
Heroes @ The Hive
FREE or £5 to guarantee entry

Adam Hess and David Elms

Adam Hess and David Elms

Adam Hess and David Elms

Adam Hess has emerged of one of the main reasons to have a Twitter account, offering subversive, beautiful gems of perfectly honed comedy in 140 characters or less. He alone would make this show worth seeing, but David Elms is another act with great potential, complementing Adam’s baffled story-telling and hasty one-liners with his more relaxed musical comedy.

Aug 1 – 25, 6pm
Heroes @ The Hive
FREE or pay £5 to guarantee entry

Joseph Morpurgo: Truthmouth

Joseph Morpurgo Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Joseph Morpurgo

Tipped by every act we know pretty much, Joseph has found improv success with the AMAZING Austentatious and the much-acclaimed Monkey Toast. He’s going solo this year, and expectations are high that his quality off-the-cuff performance can translate to scripted character comedy with aplomb and celebration.

Aug 1 – 25, 3.45pm
The Counting House

Darren Walsh: I Am A Giant

Darren Walsh

Darren Walsh

A giant of a performer, this six foot plus comic is the machine gun of pun, the ricochet of wordplay, the launderer of double-entendre. What we’re saying is, he tells good joke and one-liners that often play on words. And he does it well and fast and with assurance. You are in safe comedy hands here.

Aug 1 – 25, 4.45pm
Heroes @ The Hive
FREE or £5 to guarantee entry

Matthew Highton: It Came From The Mud

Matt Highton

Matt Highton

We’ve been big fans of Matt since we first saw him in Edinburgh in 2010 telling inexplicable stories in a series of off-hand comedy non-sequiturs that built into a gloriously satisfying conclusion of narratively epic proportion rarely seen in stand-up. Live up to that Matt. Live up to that!!!

Aug 3 – 25, 5.15pm

Jessie Cave and Jenny Bede Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

Jessie Cave and Jenny Bede

Jessie Cave and Jenny Bede

You may know Jessie best from Harry Potter (she was Lavender Brown) or Simon Amstell’s Gradma’s House, but she has quickly become one of Laugh Out London’s favourite acts, monologuing insecurity and anxious philosophy that walks the tightrope between breakdown and brilliance. We’ve yet to see Jenny Bede, but she won best newcomer at the Musical Comedy Awards, which probably means she’s rather good.

Aug 3 – 24, 1.10pm
Henry’s Cellar Bar

Darren Maskell: A Woodlouse Trapped Underneath A Glass

Darren Maskell

Darren Maskell

Billed as theatre, we’re not quite sure what to make of Darren’s attempts to tell the story of a woodlouse he once trapped underneath a glass. He’s another Weirdo, so we’re figuring this will transcend the theatrical artform in some way. Possibly with gunge.

Aug 19 – 25, 5.10pm
Counting House

Joz Norris Has Gone Missing 

Joz Norris

Joz Norris has the most fascinating stories about tuna sandwiches and football boots of anyone I know. He’s also a brilliant character comic, who shall be parading around an Edinburgh stage in body suits, sweater vests and shorts. We caught an early preview that was very special indeed, and can’t wait to see the full thing.

Aug 1 – 25, 2.45pm
Blind Poet

Other Edinburgh Festival Fringe recommendations

1 reply »

  1. All great, but here’s two more:

    20:30-22:45 • The Dram House (venue 339) • 12 August
    We believe in bringing brilliant comedy to brilliant places and you’ll find us back at the Fringe for ONE NIGHT ONLY! We’re gathering together an all-star line-up so top secret, we don’t even know who’s on yet. A HUGE comedy extravaganza, with proceeds going to PBH’s Free Fringe. You should be there!

    14:30-15:30 • The Dram House Upstairs (venue 299) Fantoosh • 3-6,8-13,15-20,22-24 August
    Phillip and Marjorie urge you to join them on this 16-weeks-condensed-to-48-minutes ‘meticulously researched’ marriage preparation course. Whether you’re homosexual, heterosexual, hetomosexual or single, this will put you on the path to complete happiness and satisfaction. Complete happiness and satisfaction not guaranteed. Marriage tips:

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