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12 must-see comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2024

With the world’s biggest arts festival just around the corner, here’s our must-see shows for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

By Nooruddean Choudry

Sophie Duker, Michael Odewale and Nina Gilligan

Over 3,000 productions across 262 venues; an estimated 51,446 individual performances by acts from 58 different countries. The numbers for this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe are truly dizzying. With so much choice on offer, how do you possibly go about deciding what to watch? 

Well worry not – if you’re a fan of standup comedy we’ve whittled down thousands of shows to just twelve of the very best five-star options. 

Justin Moorhouse

Justin Moorhouse

The show: The Greatest Performance of My Life

What is it?: It’s a hell of a show title and yet perfectly apt. Such an accomplished and popular performer could have given in to complacency years ago, but Moorhouse has never lost his spark or dedication to scale new heights. He is constantly challenging himself and his audience. With every show he just gets better and better so it figures this will be his best. 

Where is it?: 21:40, Pleasance Courtyard – Cabaret Bar (until 12 August)

Harriet Dyer

Harriet Dyer

The show: Skin

What is it?: Dyer has a unique ability to take something sad, complicated, upsetting or tragic and weave from it the most joyful and uplifting material. She is an artist in the purest sense, if it is defined as the ability to turn sad tears into happy ones through pure creativity. You’d want her in the trenches with you, just to make you laugh with her daft antics.

Where is it?: 15:40, Gilded Balloon Patter House – Coorie

Rob Mulholland (Picture: Andy Hollingworth)

Rob Mulholland

The show: Allegations

What is it?:  The most un-Edinburgh Fringe comedian you’ll come across at the Edinburgh Fringe. Religiously anti-message and stubbornly focused on being a relentlessly funny dickhead. Enjoy his show but do NOT listen to his frankly depraved Dead Men Talking podcast with fellow sicko Freddy Quinne.        

Where is it?: 20:55, Just the Tonic at The Caves – Just Up the Road

Jo Caulfield (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Jo Caulfield

The show: Pearls Before Swine

What is it?: Cool and funny don’t go together. Or they shouldn’t. There are very few exceptions (Lenny Bruce? Dave Allen?) but Caulfield is one of them. There’s just an aura of zero fucks about her that comes from being able to kill with any crowd at any venue. But it’s high status with heart, as evidenced by her wonderful and poignant memoir.

Where is it?: 19:10, The Stand Comedy Club – Stand 3

Marc Jennings (Picture: Press)

Marc Jennings

The show: Marcsism

What is it?: You watch Jennings live, or on YouTube, or listen to his hugely successful Some Laugh podcast, and wonder to yourself: how is he not absolutely massive? He is certainly the equal of many a TV and Netflix-famous comedy superstar. If there’s any justice he’ll be a household name very soon. 

Where is it?: 19:15, Monkey Barrel Comedy – The Tron

Sophie Duker

Sophie Duker


What is it?: Not so much a show about daddy issues as a show about issues with daddy issues. Taskmaster winner Duker is an obscenely good raconteur with charisma to burn, but what really sets her apart is the ability to mine huge laughs from subjects that others would merely render ‘worthy’. No one switches from bawdy to poignant better.

Where is it?: 19:00, Pleasance Courtyard – Cabaret Bar

Nina Gilligan

The show: Goldfish

What is it?: There is no greater testament to living a life before standup than Gilligan. Every moment and experience leading up to her move into comedy was evidently worth it because she is just the most phenomenal performer. Especially funny when ‘off on one’ when her righteous fury is given full reign. 

Where is it?: 20:40, Just the Tonic Nucleus – Just the Sub-Atomic Room

Tiff Stevenson’s ‘Sexy Brain’ show runs throughout August at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2022
Tiff Stevenson (Picture: Steve Ullathorne)

Tiff Stevenson

The show: Husband Material

What is it?: Stevenson has a wonderful gift to take the most controversial, provocative and divisive subjects and make them so relatable and funny that everyone pisses themselves no matter what their views. Of course that comes from great writing, but also an engaging stage presence that welcomes everyone in.

Where is it?: 12:00, Monkey Barrel Comedy – Hive 1

Rosco McClelland (Picture: Andrew Downie)

Rosco McClelland

The show: Sudden Death

What is it?: McClelland has stage presence for days and a somewhat aggressive aura, and yet scratch under the punk exterior and there’s a warmth and chaotic charm that shines through. He’s wickedly funny when exasperated with the world, but there’s also a real sensitivity to go with the big laughs.

Where is it?: 21:00, Monkey Barrel Comedy – Hive 2

Amy Gledhill

Amy Gledhill

The show: Make Me Look Fit on the Poster

What is it?: Gledhill cites Victoria Wood as a personal hero and there are obvious comparisons to be made. Like Wood, Glenhill has the same innate ability to take the everyday and make it uproariously funny – only to blindside you with unexpected pathos. This is a cracking show that demands: observational comedian, observe thyself. 

Where is it?: 18:10, Monkey Barrel Comedy – Monkey Barrel 1 (from 13 August)

Michael Odewale (Picture: David Geli)

Michael Odewale

The show: Of Mike and Men

What is it?: Odewale has so many natural gifts for standup he could lean on. A nonchalant charisma that feels more American than British; the soft-spoken cadence and eloquence of someone with something profound to say. To his credit he plays against these traits, regularly mocking pomposity and taking meta aim at how ridiculous the world can be.

Where is it?: 14:50, Monkey Barrel Comedy – Hive 1 (until 12 August)

Carl Donnelly

Carl Donnelly

The show: Boosegumps

What is it?: Donnelly is without doubt one of the finest standups of his generation. Unfailingly self-deprecating, a master of observational comedy and the surest thing on anyone’s Edinburgh itinerary. He’s so good that fellow comics – those harshest and most discerning of critics – will happily cite him as a standard bearer.  

 Where is it?: 21:00, Pleasance Courtyard – Beneath