Keith Smith: Comic Cuts

Richard Herring. Picture: Comp
Richard Herring. Picture: Comp
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Your round up of funny Fringe shows.

Felicity Ward - the thinking fan’s comic

While the aim of good stand-up is, naturally, to make you laugh, one of its other pleasures is that it can also make you think.

Felicity Ward (Underbelly Bristo Square, until August 25, HHH) is one comedian who manages a bit of both. Brimming with an almost nervous energy, she bounds about the stage with a disarmingly engaging effervescence that allows her combine the daft – an auto-tune duet with an audience member for instance - with more thoughtful comedy that stems from her own admitted anxieties. While not all the gags reach the heights she’s capable of, routines about Mary Poppins and dealing with people’s perceptions of her skinniness – plus a killer joke about Judy Murray – mark her out as a real talent.

One Herring you won’t want to throw back

Returning for his 14th solo show (and the tenth in a row) is Richard Herring (Pleasance Courtyard, 8pm, until August 25, HHHH). He’s well-known for pushing boundaries and tackling taboo subjects and this year is no different. We’re All Going To Die challenges misconceptions, myths and societal norms surrounding death and it’s puerile, potentially offensive and utterly hilarious. Herring is the master of pedantry, continually over-scrutinising topics to the Nth degree for comic effect, like the song about an old woman who swallowed a fly or elaborately far-fetched puns about his own death. It has a tendency to veer off

at tangents, and his analysis of Hamlet’s ‘To Be...’ speech drags, but nonetheless this is a cracking hour of intelligent, thought-provoking satire. With knob jokes.

An hour well spent with Sean Walsh

An hour with Seann Walsh (Pleasance Courtyard, 9.20pm, until August 25, HHHH) won’t leave you pondering the profundities of life and death, but it will more than likely, leave your jaw sore from grinning. Based around his inability to live like a grown-up (despite having moved in on his own in an attempt to do so) he catalogues a series of foolishly comical observations about being drunk, hungover and downright lazy.

Occasionally the material – mobile phone problems and posting on Facebook when drunk – isn’t exactly imaginative, but his likeable, roguish clowning sweeps you along regardless. A section apeing the likes of Michael McIntyre, Stewart Lee and Kevin Bridges is particularly good, while the ending, although a little self-indulgent, is nonetheless an entertaining summation of all that’s gone before.