A festival to remember Conference Call catches up with celebrated comedians Jimeoin, Daniel Sloss and Craig Hill before they take to the stage at Venue 150 for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues over three weeks in August. The 69th outing of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is just around the corner, with the EICC’s Venue 150 preparing to host comedians, vloggers and authors, not to mention a string quartet.

Household names Jimeoin, Daniel Sloss and Craig Hill will be in residence at Venue 150 for the full run of the Fringe (4–28 August, excl. 15 and 23). Below, they tell us what inspired them to become comedians and what audiences can expect from their latest shows.

They will be joined by Queen B of Comedy Luisa Omielan who returns to the capital for one weekend only with her smash-hit shows, What Would Beyoncé Do?! (26 August) and Am I Right Ladies?! (27 August). The Guardian proclaimed her as “the biggest stand-up hit of the decade”, so grab tickets while you can.

Also returning to the Festival is Limmy, who will be recounting a new selection of tales from his Sunday Times’ bestseller, Daft Wee Stories (18–21 August). Following the success of her debut, Louise Pentland, aka fashion and beauty vlogger Sprinkle of Glitter, presents a fresh LouiseLIVE (20 August), a glittery show about dating and life as an internet sensation, as well as beauty advice and confidence tips.

Touted as a pick of the Fringe, The Big C in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support (8 August) will be hosted by comedy royalty Ali McGregor, with a special guest appearance from Broadway and Hollywood luminary Alan Cumming. A second comedy gala also takes place on 23 August to mark Barnardo’s 150th anniversary. The special bumper-length benefit will present some of the UK’s best-loved comedians.

“One of the highest profile performances, Flit brings together some of today’s most prominent musicians with stop-motion animation from BAFTA award winning animators”

And it’s not only comedy that will be wowing audiences this year at Venue 150. Hup (11–16, 19–23, 25–28 August) will see a quirky quartet of musicians create a captivating classical music experience for 0–24 month olds and their grown-ups. Another show for small audiences, The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad (10–28 August, excl. 15 and 22) interactively explores the emotions of grief and loss as Frank searches for his mother.

It is the second year that Venue 150 is running a full programme of both Fringe and Edinburgh International Festival performances. EIF shows include Anything That Gives Off Light (16–25 August), a foot-stomping collaboration from Brooklyn-based ensemble The TEAM and the National Theatre of Scotland. Fusing classical Indian Kathak dance and ballet with dream-like animations, Chotto Desh (13 and 14 August) tells the story of a boy who dreams of becoming a dancer, while Raw (27 and 28 August) looks at the world through a child’s eyes. Made by children for children, the high-energy show is dance theatre at its finest.

One of the highest profile performances, Flit (10 and 11 August) brings together some of today’s most prominent musicians including Portishead’s Adrian Utley, Mogwai’s Dominic Aitchison, Becky Unthank from The Unthanks and Adam Holmes. Inspired by stories of human migration, their live music is combined with stop-motion animation by BAFTA-winning animators whiterobot.

Lastly, audiences can enjoy a day of celebrations at the Chinese Arts & Culture Festival (14 August), which will feature a Mandarin-version of Shakespeare’s Richard II, a Peking Opera and a Chinese Puppet Show by Shanghai Theatre Academy.

For more information on any of the shows above, please visit our events page.

Renonsense Man

4–28 August, excl. 15 and 23

“Stand-up comedy at its best”, “comedy of the highest order” and “exemplary” are just a few of the accolades Jimeoin has garnered. A regular on Live at the Apollo, Sunday Night at the Palladium and Channel 4’s O2 Gala, the hilarious comedian is loved for his witty and charming observations about the absurdities of everyday life.

What inspired you to become a comedian?
To hopefully one day perform at the EICC and maybe get to be in their magazine.

What can audiences expect from your show this year?
Expect the unexpected. No don’t expect that. You will be expecting that. Let’s just have a laugh and not expect anything. Expect a laugh. And the unexpected.

What is your most memorable Edinburgh Festival event?
A punch up outside a kebab shop at 4am. Fantastic. Wasn’t even in the programme. Lots of stars ...

How much time do you have for seeing other shows?
I try and see a lot. Mostly something other than stand-up comedy as there is so much out there, and I sometimes take a punt on a show where the poster catches my eye. In a good way or in a bad way. But good posters usually equal good shows ... and the other way round is also usually true.

Where are your favourite spots in the city to escape the crowds?
At the bottom of the Royal Mile there is a big old house that has a top window open in one of the toilets. I like to hang out in the house as it’s often empty. Seem to be a lot of corgis running about the place ...

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Daniel Sloss

4–28 August, excl. 15 and 23

With eight sell-out runs at the Fringe to his name, stand-up comedy meteor Daniel Sloss is back with new show So?. The 25-year-old from Fife has starred in the likes of Sunday Night at the Palladium and toured extensively throughout America, Europe and Australasia. His international appeal was cemented recently when he became the first ever stand-up to appear four times in one year on Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show in the US.

What inspired you to become a comedian?
I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh and I’ve always loved stand-up comedy. It seemed easier than having a real job. I was correct.

What is your most memorable Edinburgh Festival?
The 2013 Edinburgh fringe and my second year at the EICC. It was the first year I really felt I found my voice; I started doing jokes and stories that I loved and believed in. And the audience really went for it.

What can audiences expect from your new show?
The same as always: a solid hour of me talking b******* that you won’t necessarily agree with but you’ll laugh at.

Where are your favourite spots in the city to escape the crowds?
The Caffeine Drip: incredible food and the staff are the greatest. I eat there nearly every day – bagels to die for. For drinks, most festival venues or Heads and Tails – it’s a superb gin bar.

Are there any shows you’re excited about this year?
British-wise I can’t recommend Kai Humphries enough. There isn’t a human being on this planet who reduces me to tears of laughter more than Kai, and it kills me to say that as he used to be my flatmate and still owes me rent. Also Mark Nelson, Micky Bartlett and Jimmy McGhie. And there are some incredible Aussie acts coming over: Nick Cody – a goddamn champion of comedy and humanity; Rhys Nicholson – my spirit animal; Tom Walker – weird and wonderful; and Sam Campbell – my tip for best newcomer.

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Craig Hill
Up and Coming!

4–28 August, excl. 15 and 23

Craig Hill experienced his first success at the age of ten when he won a talent contest in his hometown of East Kilbride for impersonating Cleo Laine. Now, after 16 years of sell-out shows at the Fringe, the charismatic comedian returns to Venue 150 with another sure-fire hit. Recognisable for his incredible array of kilts, Craig has been described as “riotously funny” and a “master of audience interaction”.

What inspired you to become a comedian?
A pal told me I was funny, she went and booked a gig for me without telling me, then sprung it on me four days before and hey presto, I started doing comedy!

What is your most memorable Edinburgh Festival?
To be honest it’s such a special time of year for me that it’s always memorable. That whole month is exciting for performers and Edinburgh has this tangible buzz about it and you have so many shows to do, so many shows to see, so many comedians and friends to catch up and hang out with, that it always creates great fun memories!

What about your most memorable event at the Fringe?
Probably performing a show where a woman who broke her leg on the way sat through the show before she went to hospital because she didn’t want to miss it – now that’s dedication!

What can audiences expect from your new show?
Dancing, laughing, singing, swinging (in a kilt) and lots of interaction. I just love having fun with them and finding out who they are – you get real moments you couldn’t plan for!

Are there any other shows you’re excited about seeing?
I hung out with a very funny Scottish guy in Perth called Larry Dean and I reckon he’ll go on to great things so I can’t wait to see his show.

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