Visiting Edinburgh for the festival doesn’t have to burn a hole in your wallet, thanks to this list of free Fringe comedy shows you’ll want to drop your change for…
This Fringe is an excellent place to discover your next favourite comedian, but in recent years the festival has been guilty of allowing big name venues to persuade visitors into paying extortionate prices for an hour of stand-up they may not even enjoy.
However there are still many fantastic shows which you can see for absolutely nothing at the Fringe, with acts like Stewart Lee, Robin Ince and Simon Munnery previously performing for free before they became established acts.
Featuring musical pirates, political satire and previous comedy award nominees, here’s our list of ten outstanding comedy acts performing for free at this year’s festival.
The Brendon Burns Show Again
Join one of Edinburgh’s favourite cult comedians for an afternoon of provocative material courtesy of the winner of 2007’s if.comedy award for Best Show.
On each day the boisterous Burns will be recording a live podcast where no topic is off limits, from the current state of the comedy industry to recollections of drunken nights out he’d rather forget.
If you can’t manage to make his 6.15pm show Burns will also be appearing in a paid show with indie wrestler Colt Cabana for an hour of commentary to the shoddiest matches the wrestling industry has ever seen, giving you no excuse not to see this controversial comedian this year.
8 – 30 Aug, Liquid Room Annexe, 18:15 / listings
Chris Martin – This Show Has a Soundtrack
After selling out all his debut shows in 2011, Chris Martin’s 2015 appearance comes with its very own soundtrack for a unique hour of observational comedy.
Best known for hosting a popular comedy podcast with fellow comedian Carl Donnelly, Martin has decided to follow the path of his musical namesake and take a “conscious uncoupling” for this year’s show, which will feature backing tracks and sharply written anecdotes (although we cannot guarantee that Coldplay will not be played during his performance –best to have ear buds at the ready).
6 – 30 Aug (not the 19th), Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 20:45 / listings
Colin Leggo – Leggoland
Nominated for Best New Show at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival earlier this year, Colin Leggo has created a remarkably well put together hour of comedy packed full of puns and personal anecdotes from his experience as an amputee.
Using Daily Mail online debates, sing-a-longs and embarrassing home video footage, this is an inspirational show by a captivating, up-and-coming comedian. Even the most hard-hearted of critics will find themselves smiling thanks to his feel-good and life-affirming show that Leggo will be debuting for the first time in Edinburgh.
6 – 30 Aug (not the 17th), The Laughing Horse @ The Blind Poet, 13:30 / listings
Damian Clark – It’s a Good Day to Damo
An established touring comedian who provides laugh-out-loud gags and bags of charisma, Damian Clark sold out all his shows last year and promises another outstanding performance for 2015.
Originally from Australia, Clark has travelled across the world bringing his unlimited enthusiasm and energy to audiences and dazzling critics with his rapid fire delivery and the odd dance routine thrown in for comic effect. Guaranteed to leave you grinning ear to ear, this is the perfect show for seeing on a day when Edinburgh inevitably pours it down and you need a pick-me-up after your umbrella breaks.
6 – 30 Aug (not the 14th), Sin, 19:45 / listings
Jollyboat – Nerdplay
A musical comedy act that have been frequenting the Fringe for many years now, an hour of geek cabaret and anarchy await you when you decide to enter the word of Jollyboat.
After winning the Musical Comedy Awards in 2011, this year these comedy rockstars will be performing songs inspired by Game of Thrones, Star Wars and many more nerd fixtures for an experience you won’t stop fangirling over. Real life brothers but on stage pirates, expect the unexpected and don’t be surprised if you’re asked to sing along to their shanties.
8 – 29 Aug, Movement, 17:00 / listings
Joel Dommettt – Conquer
A one-man show about his quest to become a world champion at literally anything, Joel Dommett is a young comedian who has emerged as one of the country’s rising stars.
Best known for his appearances in Skins and Russell Howard’s Good News, this will be Dommett’s fourth Edinburgh show but second time performing for free as part of the Free Festival. Expect honest anecdotes, excellent storytelling and a show that’s certainly worth those shinier coins you’ve been hanging onto in your wallet.
6 – 29 Aug (not the 28th), Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 21:00 / listings
A member of renowned sketch group Sheeps and an established solo comic, Liam Williams was recognised for his solo show last year at the Foster’s Comedy Awards, which tackled the rather heavy topic of capitalism.
After his Best Show nomination however, instead of hiring fresh graduates to hand out flyers along the Royal Mile Williams has decided to put on another free show at the aptly named Free Sisters. Be sure to get there early for an incredible hour of sharp social commentary from a self-proclaimed “Pilsner socialist”.
6 – 30 Aug (not the 17th), Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters, 19:30/23:30 / listings
Sheeps Skewer the News
Offering an hour of satire after lunch, Sheeps are returning to the Fringe this year for a unique look at the latest headlines.
This new-format show promises an hour of wry sketches and intellectual buffoonery from its members Daran Johnson, Alistair Roberts and Liam Williams. Described by Time Out as one of the most exciting sketch acts to emerge in years, don’t miss this show if you like your comedy cutting edge and cynical.
21 – 30 Aug, Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey, 14:30 / listings
Sofie Hagen – Bubblewrap
Winner of Chortle’s Best Newcomer Award 2014, Sofie Hagen offers honesty, charisma and impeccable comic timing for an act you’ll want to keep an eye on.
This year marks her first ever show at the Edinburgh Fringe after a successful few years touring pubs and clubs across the country. A finalist for Leicester Square’s Comedian of the Year competition in 2012, expect a polished and hilarious set from this Danish wonder woman.
7 – 31 Aug, Liquid Room Annexe, 19:10 / listings
Tiernan Douieb – The World’s Full of Idiots, Let’s Live in Space
It’s not often that an established act performs for free at the Fringe, however in Tiernan Douieb’s case he’s using the platform to debut a brand new hour of stand-up at the Liquid Room Annexe.
Known for his friendly on-stage presence and impressive compering abilities, Douieb combines political satire with natural charm for a show that will make you think and guffaw at the same time. With over 12,000 followers on Twitter and a wealth of experience on the comedy circuit, expect to be impressed by this affable comedy actor.
8 – 30 Aug (not the 18th), Liquid Room Annexe, 14:30 / listings