August comedy picks: Guess where we're headed?

John Stansfield
Head shot of Sofie Hagen

One final Edinburgh Fringe preview in Manchester, our comedy highlights from the festival itself, and how to get there.

With August comes the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – and, unsurprisingly, a dearth of comedy events across the rest of the country. Comedy venues like Frog & Bucket and The Comedy Store in Manchester and Baby Blue, Hot Water and The Laughterhouse in Liverpool will still be running their usual weekend line-ups, but for those that wish to see a little more it might be worth making that trip up past Hadrian’s Wall.

There are over 1,700 shows this year at the Fringe, and the population is said to triple in the Scottish Capital every August. Over the past couple of months we have been spoiled with Edinburgh previews of hopefuls heading up for a month of shows; there’s one last chance to watch newly crowned ‘English Comedian of the Year’ Brennan Reece preview his show Marvel in the studio at The King’s Arms on 3 August (8.15pm, free).

If you’re about to bite the bullet and head north, however, we’ve got a few favourites to recommend. Sofie Hagen’s show Bubblewrap could be a contender for Best Newcomer if not Best Show as she goes through her difficult history with boyband Westlife (7-31 Aug, Liquid Room Annexe, free). Gein’s Family Giftshop and Goose are top picks for those who like nonsensical and dark sketch comedy, Spencer Jones’ The Herbert in Proper Job and John Luke Roberts’ Stdad Up offer a lesson in modern clowning at their respective shows.

That said, there over 1,100 shows that might interest you during August – so our real recommendation is to go to Edinburgh. Here are some of our favourite ways to get there…


Probably the most obvious choice, but also one of the more expensive; prices up as soon as July ends so make sure you book in advance. There are also cheaper split ticket options from the likes of Split Ticketing.


A long but beautiful drive to Edinburgh is a great way to clear your mind before filling it with as many jokes as will fit. Also, stop off at Tebay Services en route for an idea of what heaven’s service station must surely be like.


The cheapest option – but with good cause, as it may cost you your sanity and certainly your sense of self-respect. But then, it is really cheap. Like, really cheap. £16 each way cheap. Take a look at Megabus and National Express to get you started.

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