FOR eleven months of the year it’s a normal Edinburgh boozer where locals head for a quiet pint or a place to watch the game.
But step down the stairs to Lord Bodos Pub during August, and you’ll find yourself smack in the middle of the Capital’s comedian central.
Placed within convenient walking distance of the legendary Stand Comedy Club, the Dublin Street establishment becomes a hub for circuit stars looking for a place to unwind after stepping off stage, with household names lined up shoulder to shoulder at the bar.
Manager Shona Eadie, 35, said: “We’ve had pretty much everyone you could really think of in – Stewart Lee, Stephen K Amos, Simon Munnery, Mark Thomas, Lucy Porter... plus all the local acts too like Scott Agnew, Vladimir McTavish and JoJo Sutherland. The author Ian Rankin often pops in for a pint too. They say they like the atmosphere, and visitors seem to see this place as an example of a real Edinburgh pub – it’s not part of some fancy chain! The regulars don’t mind at all and the comedians know they’re not going to be hassled.”
The Evening News visited Lord Bodos on Wednesday night to see who we could spot and we were thrilled to discover comedy royalty behind the bar, as well as in front of it.
Edinburgh-based comedian Jo Caulfield had offered to roll up her sleeves and pull the pints for the evening in aid of local children’s charity The Yard, and the effort had drawn a range of comics to the watering hole to enjoy a tipple – and exchange quips.
Jo explained: “I’m a regular at Bodos and we thought I could do a shift and donate my wages and tips – and no one was getting served if they didn’t tip! My fellow comedian Mick Ferry also came down to collect glasses and demand even more tips – between the two of us we’ve probably bankrupted a fair few acts.”
Jo’s labour of love ended up netting the charity, which provides play space and facilities for disabled children, over £500, as gag-smiths and regulars queued up to be served by the queen of comedy.
The intimate bar, which has space for less than ten small tables inside, stays open until 3am during August so comedians who are doing late shows across the street can still grab one for the road after wowing the crowds.
Regular Craig Cornol, 46, a Merchant Navy sailor who lives in Broughton Street during his six months on shore, said: “I’m in Lord Bodos pretty much every day when I’m on leave. It’s a great wee boozer and you never know who you might spot!
“It’s lovely to see so many different types of people in one wee place. I think my biggest Bodos celebrity spots were Johnny Vegas and Frank Skinner – though they weren’t in on the same night, unfortunately.”
New kid on the block
Also seen propping up the bar in Lord Bodos is one of the newer kids on the comedy block – novelist Ian Rankin.
The Evening News revealed last month that the crime-writer king had been convinced to have a go at stand-up by local media mogul Richard Melvin as part of The Speakeasy, a new Radio Four show based on the
popular night at The Scottish Storytelling Centre.
Richard said: “The episode featuring Ian was broadcast on August 12 and the powers that be at the BBC were very impressed, it really was a triumph. We all think he’s got a bright future in comedy if the writing gigs ever dry up.”
Raising the bar
We asked comics for their favourite “walked into a bar” jokes. Here’s what they came up with:
• Jo Caulfield: “A bear walks into a bar and says, ‘Barman, I’d like a pint and . . . ehh . . .’ The barman says, ‘Why the big pause?’ The bear replies, ‘I’m a bear’.”
• Simon Donald: “Bloke walked into a bar. Split his head open.”
• Silky: “A skeleton walked into a bar and said, ‘Can I have a Guinness and a mop, please?’”