Comedy Cuts: Thunderbards|Sol Bernstein|Beta Males

Sol Bernstein Pic: Comp
Sol Bernstein Pic: Comp
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YOU might be getting fed up with Edinburgh’s weather by now – what feels like gale force winds, a light breeze and warm sunshine, withering rainstorms – all in the space of less than an hour...


Pleasance Courtyard

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Sol Bernstein

Just The Tonic @TheTron

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The Beta Males

Pleasance Beneath

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Of course, there’s plenty to see in the multitude of venues, but there are much better reasons for going in than the weather.

Take Thünderbards, for instance. Two slick, intense young men, traipsing through their own slightly dodgy family history by way of a time travel watch, and even dodgier lighting effects. If you think that sounds like it’s aiming itself squarely at the student pound, you’re probably spot on.

However, an hour of deliciously appalling gags and chat-up lines, coupled with necessarily cheap staging somehow defies the basic arithmetic of two plus two, and ends up equalling laugh-out-loud funny.

I don’t mind silly humour, if it’s done with as much conviction and verve as these extremely silly young men have.

Of course, youth is not the only fruit. Self styled old, dirty, nightclub comic Sol Bernstein claims to be 84, in semi-retirement and friends with all the great stars of the past – Sinatra, Presley, even Miles Davis. Whether you believe him or not is up to you. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Bernstein is immediately engaging, despite – or actually because of – the insults, the antique jokes and rudeness, all delivered with carefully honed Jewish schtick.

He quickly dismisses political correctness as pointless, as he unleashes the most un-PC torrent of material this side of Les Dawson, yet somehow, by the end, you come away feeling charmed.

Also charming, genuinely hysterical and far more choreographed than you might first think are the Beta Males. Three young men immediately launch into classic British farce, complete with dropped trousers everywhere, followed by what is surely disparate nonsense.

All this manic, high-energy hilarity is actually going somewhere, however, and the Beta Males somehow seem to hypnotise their audience into spontaneous participation. This is one of the cleverest, funniest exercises in stupidity and precision timing you’ll see at the Fringe this year.