Not only does the Free Fringe have the moral high ground on the rest of the festival, there are some good shows to be found, too! It’s perfectly possible to spend £12 on a load of rubbish elsewhere in Edinburgh so mix it up with some Free Fringe action as well.
• 1.30pm. Beckett and Smith
Two sparky young’uns, Rob Beckett a rapid-fire cockney, Ian Smith a playful, likeable stand-up.
• 1.45pm. Jollyboat
Winners of the 2011 Musical Comedy Awards return for their second full-length show.
• 2.05 Ali Brice/Mark Stephenson
Another double-header featuring two young stand-ups (it’s how’s it’s done round these parts), Ali Brice is an unconventional comic and Mark Stephenson more deadpan and one of the finest newcomers around.
• 2.20pm Carl Donnelly and Chris Martin podcast
On Tuesdays Mssrs Donnelly and Martin, both quality stand-ups and good friends, will be performing their laid-back and very funny podcast in front of a live audience.
• 2.20pm. Tom Toal and Joe Wells
Two more good young’uns, Joe Wells particularly has been flagged up as a real find. He’s got a touch of Stewart Lee about him. But then not many young stand-ups don’t.
• 3.55pm Lady Cariad’s Characters
A character comic also appearing on the main Fringe as part of sketch quartet Men Of War, Lloyd (pictured) is a versatile talent with some very funny creations up her sleeve.
• 4pm. John Kearns’ Dinner Party
A high-concept show where the audience are all old friends of Kearns, who has invited them round for dinner that takes a shambolic turn. An original show you’ll either love or hate.
• 4pm. Mary Mary Quite Contrary
A no-nonsense, catty stand-up who holds no truck for much of the modern age.
• 4.55pm. Nick Doody
A superb satirical stand-up who is performing a 10-night run this year.
• 5.15pm Liam Mullone – Down to the Bone
Another firmly established stand-up on the London circuit and one for those who like their comedy a little dark or socio-political.
• 5.30pm. Tom Webb Fixes 2012
A light-hearted nod to how fucked everyone thinks the world is, inventive stand-up Webb tries to fix 2012 before it’s even happened. A fun show with some big laughs.
• 6.15pm. Ivor Dembina – Free Jewish Comedy.
A stalwart of the Fringe and the London circuit, Jewish comic Dembina provides an old-school hour of solid stand-up and storytelling.
• 6.20pm. David Mulholland – You Are Being Lied To
US comic Mulholland’s show from last year has had an extra layer of material applied, given it is about the dark arts of journalism, and therefore particularly pertinent at the moment.
• 7.15pm. Robin Ince – Star Corpse Apple Child. 10pm. Struggle For Existence
The hardest working man in comedy and celebrity atheist Ince has just the four shows in Edinburgh this year, this one is on the subject of “consciousness and other stuff the brain does”.
• 7.30pm. Lewis Schaffer is Free Until Famous
Self-destructive, self-deprecating, unpredictable and downright charming, New York comic Schaffer is back to win over most audiences and piss off some. He’s on at 4.45pm and 7.30pm every day.
• 8.20pm. Benjamin Crellin: Stands To Reason
An outspoken and classy comedian over from New Zealand who’s a safe pair of hands.
• 8.20pm. News at Kate
A Free Fringe favourite, News at Kate sees sharp stand-up Kate Smurthwaite react to current affairs. Featuring “activist front lines, proper satire and the A-Z of highbrow comedy”.
• 8.25pm. LOL@NoLo
Norman Lovett (above) from Red Dwarf is enjoying something of an Indian summer as a gentle, low-key stand-up. A welcome addition to the Free Fringe roster.
• 8.30pm. Richard Rycroft – The Songs I’ll Never Sing
Not dissimilar to Mr Lovett but more philosophical and less absurd, is Mr Rycroft, who describes his show as “somewhere between stand-up and story telling, a nice man reflects on turning 50”.
• 8.45pm. FUNT
A triple-header! This one has Kiwi stand-up Alex Hawley, award-winning oddball joy Tim Shishodia and the hard-living Chris Dangerfield.
Aaaaaaand not forgetting of course, 9.35pm at Ciao Roma on the South Bridge – London is Funny Presents! See @edinburghsfunny or @londonisfunny on Twitter, or the Facebook page for line-ups. And there are some belters.