As a comedy festival begins to attract attention from the international community, it inevitably unfurls its tentacles into a variety of unexpected venues. Just look at Edinburgh: the ‘Fringe’ is the main focus of the festival where it used to just shout obscenities from the edges. Somehow Edinburgh has become a festival of obscene edges.
Now in its fourth year, the Glasgow International Comedy Festival is becoming the sort of monster that requires every last square inch of space it can lay its moist and clammy mitts on, which is why this year’s eighteen-day crossing of comedy leylines has grown to incorporate some rather unconventional spaces.
We still love The Stand Comedy Club here at the Skinny but in honour of The Stand’s humble beginnings, you may also want to explore some of the smaller burgeoning comedy venues such as Brel on Ashton Lane, The Buff Club on Bath Lane, Universal on Sauchiehall Lane, The State Bar on Holland St, or even The Viper Lounge (AKA: Clarty Pat’s), on Great Western Road. With a pick ‘n’ mix of if.comedy winners, magicians, heretics and comedy neds, it’s worth scouring the basements and corners of your local bars to see what you might find (failing that, try down the back of the sofa).
Also of note is the beautiful Britannia Panopticon Music Hall on Trongate which this year sees acts from a Sock Puppet Orchestra, poet Robin Cairns and a sexy young punk called Robert Wringham [authorised plug- Ed]. Entry to Panopticon events is FREE though true ladies and gents and patrons of the arts will chuck a couple of quid into the donations hat.
The 35 strong comedy hot spots list doesn’t even include the ‘Glasgow Stands Up on Your Doorstep’ series of events. Once you get past the potentially terrifying title, you’ll see that it’s a brilliant idea. Comedians come to community centres at Toryglen, Langside, Easterhouse and Castlemilk to ensure that no one in the greater Glasgow population misses the chance for a heckle.
The expanding fringe of the Glasgow Comedy Festival is testament to its increasing popularity. In 2009, we’ll find comedians performing in elevators, taxi cabs and out of the bums of tramps. You’ll see.