James Acaster talks about the best year of his life and the worst year of his life and tries to connect with you.

Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee for Best Show: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

Photo by Edward Moore.

Lou Sanders: Shame Pig

Yes, big topics are discussed. Her labia, for one. But also shame, sobriety and unrequested sex. Sanders has met some pigs – and been a mucky little pig herself – and now she’s rolling around in her own filth for your delight.

As seen on Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, The Russell Howard Hour, Comic Relief and heard on Radio 4’s The Unbelievable Truth. Lou has written for 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Mock The Week and Miranda Hart.

“Destined for hugeness” Time Out
“Something new is happening in comedy” Independent
“Genuinely different” Scotsman

Photo by Mark Dawson.

Josh Widdicombe: Work-in-Progress

Josh returns to ARGComFest with what he thinks will be a very early work in progress show. At the time of writing he has about 10 minutes of stuff but he has some time off to work on it so is hopeful he’ll get there. And, worst case scenario, if he doesn’t have enough he’ll do some old stuff, which will probably be better.

Photo by Edward Moore.

Elf Lyons: ChiffChaff

The Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee (Best Show 2017) presents her one-woman musical about the economy. You read that right. Let’s get fiscal. The queen of clown is back and she’s making the dismal science fun with a whole orchestra and an Invisible Hand. BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017. Fringe World Best Comedy Show 2018 nominee. British Vogue's '20 Names of Now'.

“A fast talking, smart-thinking stand-up for whom the adjective 'kooky' could have been invented for” Guardian
“Hysterical tour de force” ★★★★★ Three Weeks
“A fantastic comedic success” ★★★★ Fest
★★★★ Scotsman

Photo by Andy Hollingworth.

Kieran Hodgson: '75

Ask most people to remember the early 70s and they won't. But for character comedian and tedious party guest Kieran Hodgson they might hold the answer to the biggest question of our time: 'Europe?'

Twice nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award, Kieran returns to ARGComFest with the epic tale of how Britain joined Europe in the first place. An overambitious hour of history, politics and enduring friendship punctuated by stunningly accurate impressions of dead politicians you've never heard of.

★★★★★ - Guardian, Telegraph, Evening Standard
★★★★ - Times, Sunday Times, Time Out, Scotsman, List

Leavers and Remainers welcome.

Photo by Matt Stronge.

Suzi Ruffell: Nocturnal

Suzi is going back to the fringe with a brand new show! Her last show was a complete sell out, got heaps of great reviews and was recommended by the British Comedy Guide, The Scotsman and The Sunday Times. It's important to remember that this is a work-in-progress so it won't be that good but will have moments that you’ll really enjoy! As seen on BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Dave, Comedy Central and the 249 bus to East London where she lives. She also has a cat, she may discuss this.

Photo by Matt Crockett.

Stuart Goldsmith - Work-in-Progress

Stu's back with some thoughts on how it all works out in the end, and whether anyone cares.

A hilarious safari through rare diseases, mishaps with appliances, and the chance to convince your son you've got some sort of backbone. Taking in ambition, money, a sort of moral autopilot, and whether men as a species are worth saving.

A Goldsmith always pays his debts.

“A master of the form” Independent
“Makes it look easy” Chortle

Photo by Matt Crockett.

Sofie Hagen Does Something (Not A Show Yet)

If a show is defined by 'a person is on a stage and occasionally says words' then oh boy, this will be a show alright. If you like people saying words, then this is the show for you. If you are expecting jokes, structure and flawless delivery, you will be gravely disappointed.

Photo by Natasha Pszenicki.

Adam Riches Is The Guy Who…

…you meet right after you come out of a long-term relationship. He has a nice smile, an easy manner and no car. The Edinburgh Comedy Award winner makes a rare appearance at ARGComFest and an ever rarer appearance in the afternoon with this intimate look at one of the planet’s most deliberate men. As sensitive as soap and twice as slippery. Be aware. Be very, very aware.

“Gloriously funny” ★★★★★ Scotsman

“Never less than brilliant” ★★★★★ Fest

“Quite simply one of the best character comedians in the country” ★★★★★ Chortle

Photo by Idil Sukan.

Lucy Pearman: Work-in-Progress

Harmless nonsense from 2017 Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer Nominee Lucy Pearman.

Lucy will be trying out a brand new show featuring some nice grapes, probably an apple but more importantly, a worm.

“First steps on the road to household name” ★★★★ Sunday Times
“Breathtakingly inventive... blooming marvellous” ★★★★ List
“Almost impossible not to laugh” ★★★★ Scotsman

Photo by Edward Moore.

Ahir Shah: Duffer

2017 Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Show nominee Ahir Shah presents a new hour of stand-up about life and what comes after, death and what comes before, and Bohemian Rhapsody.

★★★★ Guardian ★★★★ Telegraph ★★★★ Times ★★★★ Scotsman

Photo by The Other Richard.

Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace

Critically acclaimed character comedian and contemporary somatic movement enthusiast Emma Sidi brings her third hour of comedy gymnastics to the Edinburgh Fringe. An original and hilarious show of graceful heroes who are having a bit of a tough time. Includes dancing. As seen on TV (W1A, Pls Like, Climaxed) and as heard on radio (The Now Show, Ladhood, Spotlight Tonight).

“A-grade stuff, invigoratingly fresh” ★★★★ Telegraph
“A comic of considerable skill… a notch above many of her peers” ★★★★ Chortle
“Sidi creates a show so good I wish I could binge it” ★★★★ Three Weeks

Photo by James Deacon.

Nathaniel Metcalfe: Chameleon, Comedian, Corinthian and Caricature

Mildly anticipated new show from the “delightfully silly” (Time Out), Josh Widdicombe’s XFM Show regular, who has also been heard on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra.

“Impressive” Scotsman
“The potential is excitingly evident” Metro
“Storytelling at its finest… His Sugar Puffs/Honey Monster comment is the stuff of dreams” ★★★★ List
★★★★ Three Weeks
“Comic Genius” Broadway Baby
“Brilliant, unusual and very funny” Josie Long

Directed by James Acaster.

Photo by Idil Sukan.

Gráinne Maguire: I Forgive You, Please Like Me

What do I need to do to make you like me? Just tell me so we can all just relax. I promise by August the show will be great so, let’s all just have a lovely time and forget that The Great Barrier Reef is completely gone now.

“Brilliantly fusing the personal and political … a performer who knows how to tell a story.” ★★★★ Scotsman

Sean McLoughlin: Hail Mary

After 30 wasted years, McLoughlin swings for the fences. New show from Ricky Gervais tour support, Chortle Award nominee 2018 and star of Stand-Up Central, Live At The Comedy Store and VICELAND

★★★★ Scotsman ★★★★ List ★★★★ Chortle ★★★★ Skinny

Photo by Edward Moore.

Evelyn Mok: Bubble Butt

Featured on 'Chris Ramsay's Stand-Up Central' (Comedy Central), Rhys Darby's 'Furious Andrew' (C4) and BBC's New Talent Hotlist 2017, Evelyn Mok is the best thing to come out of Sweden since… IKEA? Fresh off her Soho Theatre run, her “powerful debut” (Chortle) 'Hymen Manoeuvre' was “a refreshing hour of finely crafted stand-up” (★★★★ Skinny) garnering her favourable mentions by Sarah Millican and Graham Norton also winning her 'Best Comedy Newcomer' at The Pleasance's Indies Awards. Returning with her much anticipated follow-up, where she explores responsibility, blame and cake, Mok offers a work-in-progress that promises to be “uncensored, unapologetic and... wildly refreshing” (★★★★ BroadwayBaby).

Photo by James Deacon.

Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist

Paul’s co-written or worked on many much-loved comedy shows - The Vicar of Dibley, I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, Spitting Image and ‘Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot’ starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench. Now Paul has Parkinson’s but he’s still laughing. Following an award-winning BBC documentary, ‘Parkinson’s: The Funny Side’ and a triumphant debut at London’s Comedy Store, here’s a one man show about the therapeutic power of comedy. Paul is not contagious but he is worth catching.

“Very funny - and moving too” Richard Curtis
“An Inspiration” Person with Parkinson’s

Photo by Simon Mayhew-Archer.

Catherine Bohart: Work-in-Progress

Catherine Bohart is the bisexual, OCD daughter of a Catholic Deacon and she’s got a hell of a lot to say about it. An hour of new material from a rising comedy star.

BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017
BBC New Comedy Award Finalist
Writer for BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, The News Quiz and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order for BBC2
Pleasance Comedy Reserve 2017

“... a comic with distinctive voice and a story you’d like to hear.” Chortle
“... pretty much the perfect comedy package” Beyond the Joke

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear.

Matt Winning: Climate Strange

Dr Matt Winning is thinking about starting a family but wonders if he should. A show about why our knowledge about climate change doesn't necessarily match our actions. As seen as the Environmental Correspondent on 'Unspun with Matt Forde' on Dave.

“Winning’s sharp wit and intelligence allows him to educate as he entertains” ★★★★1/2 Sunday Post

“a very powerful and eccentric piece of comedy from Winning, who is sure to become one of the largest names in UK comedy very soon” ★★★★

Photo by Jessica McDermott.

Lazy Susan: Forgive Me Mother!

Your favourite double act are back. Sorta sketch comedy but sorta in a cool way? Ha ha. Just relax baby, why you getting so tense? Writers of critically acclaimed BBC Radio 4 series The East Coast Listening Post. Best newcomer nominees in Edinburgh four years ago.

“Comedy that shuns conventions and is forging its own unique comedic identity” ★★★★ Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

★★★★★ Mirror ★★★★ Sunday Times

As seen on The Windsors (Ch4), This Country (BBC Three), The Mash Report (BBC2).

Photo by Bobby Goulding.

William Andrews: Willy

A joyful return to stand-up for this cult idiot, William is wholeheartedly embracing the Willy he always was. Remarkable stories told in original ways. He’s daft, inimitably creative, and sharpy ingenuous to boot. Yes, he was in Alan Partridge, for like a tiny bit. Yes, he had a spot in Him & Her. Yes, he was in the second series of Broadchurch (the one that didn’t make sense), but no, for the last time, he wasn’t in Horrible Histories (he was in the other one).

“All hail the comedians you could never clone” Times

Photo by Daimler Stainless.

Olga Koch: Fight

In 2014, Olga Koch's father got stopped by authorities on the Russian border, which resulted in the most surreal year in her family's life. This year, the Amused Moose National New Comic Award Finalist will try to dissect this real-life spy drama with nothing but a projector and “a naturally comic mind” (Bruce Dessau).

Olga Koch does stand-up comedy onstage and creates cathartic performance art in the privacy of her own home. She has trained at the UCB Theatre in New York, as well as the Soho Theatre and the Free Association in London. Along with fellow Soho Young Company comics, she runs Joy Multiplication, a monthly comedy night in London. Olga is a confident girl.

Photo by Victor Preda.

Ben Target: Work-in-Progress

New ideas from “maverick physical comedian (and Edinburgh Best Newcomer nominee) Ben Target” (Guardian). 2011 Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year winner.

“Impressively funny” Scotsman
“Imagine there was no Ben Target. The world would unquestionably be a darker, less interesting place” ★★★★ Chortle
“Target is a great find and will leave you warmed up physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally” ★★★★½ Adelaide Advertiser
“Ben Target is a breath of fresh, daft air” List
“A true original and a legend in the making” Guardian

Photo by Edward Moore.

Laura Davis: Ghost Machine

A show about life. Performed by a ghost. For the love of god.

Laura Davis pushes into new ground in her internationally critically acclaimed, multi-award winning show ‘Ghost Machine’. Lauded as one of the strongest and most unique comedic voices around, Laura Davis is unconventional, cathartic and exhilaratingly hilarious. Ghost Machine sees audience members returning multiple times to celebrate this darkly honest, constantly surprising, existential extravaganza.

“An original and provocative hour in the company of a unique mind.” List ★★★★

Winner Best Indie Show - Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Winner Best Comedy - Melbourne Fringe

Photo by Prakash Daniel.

Rob Oldham: Worm's Lament

Rob Oldham, Amused Moose Breakthrough Comic 2017 and tour support for John Kearns and Abandoman, considers politics, youth, and death. He does jokes to ensure this is funny.

Worm’s Lament is an hour of stand-up, poetry, reflective nostalgia, and ambient anxiety drawing on Rob’s “Quirky, offbeat sensibilities that distil into smart jokes that rarely sound like anyone else’s” (Chortle).

To put it enthusiastically, “You have not lived until you have heard one of Rob Oldham’s tonal prose poems.” (Ed Fest Mag).

Don’t miss this debut show from an exciting, thoughtful young comic.

Directed by Liam Williams

Photo by Jonny Mellor.

Tessa Coates: Witch Hunt

After a sell-out Fringe debut, one third of Massive Dad (“Hilarious” Guardian) is back with another show about how we got here and where we're supposed to go next. Armed with an absolutely useless degree in Anthropology, she'll be combining character comedy and story-telling with very intense academic research. Which is surely what everyone wants from their comedy. Tessa has appeared in Birds of a Feather, Damned and @elevenish and would very much like you to come and hang out with her.

“Real star quality” ★★★★ Chortle
“Like a modern day Spice Girl” ★★★★ Broadway World
“I love Tessa Coates” Caitlin Moran

Photo by James Deacon / edited by Patrick Turpin.

Ben Pope: Baby Sasquatch

Ben Pope is an award-winning comedian and cosmopolitan mammal. In this, his debut hour of stand-up, the hapless beast tries to find a nest. Expect jokes and stories on millenial rootlessness, finding and escaping yourself, Scandinavia and milk.

Piccadilly Comedy Club New Comedian of the Year 2017 and So You Think You’re Funny Finalist 2015. As seen on Comedy Central Online and heard on BBC Radio 4extra.

Praise for previous work:
“Hilarious” List
“Straight-up hilarious” Telegraph
“Ridiculously hilarious” Skinny

Helen Bauer: Yellow Flower

Hotly-tipped new stand up comedian Helen Bauer presents Yellow Flower a show of her new thoughts, feeling and emotions on pretty much everything. Every thought is over thought and then has alcohol thrown on it. Helen Bauer peaked when she broke her hymen on a tampon aged 11. As heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra and seen on BBC3 and Comedy Central UK.

“I don’t think I stopped laughing for the entire half hour Helen was on stage. An incredibly likeable comic who takes anecdotal comedy to another level.” Funny Women

Photo by Steve Ullathorne.

The Delightful Sausage: Regeneration Game

Surreal comedy from Yorkshire’s finest, meat-themed double act. Join Chris and Amy in a gag-packed mission to crown their town, City of Culture. Find out what culture is, who’s been secreting it and why that stain won’t wash. A multimedia adventure for fans of economic recession, blue top milk and Bigfoot. The follow-up to the duo’s debut show which was recorded for NextUp and transferred to the Soho Theatre.

“One of the best adverts for modern alternative comedy” ★★★★
“Inventive and increasingly hysterical” ★★★★ Skinny
“Brims with ideas and creativity” ★★★★ Three Weeks

Photo by Andy Hollingworth.


To be announced…