Comedy previews!

Thursday, 26 March 2015 00:00 | Posted by 
Unity's Marketing Manager Sam Freeman talks about some of the comedy programmed as part of Unity's summer season!

I've always been really interested in stand up comedy since I was a kid obsessively listening to Jasper Carrot LPs and, later, Monty Python. At Unity I'm lucky enough to programme our Edinburgh comedy previews and this year I'm incredibly excited about some of the shows coming up. Around January I take a hit list of over 100 comedians who I really love the work of and start investigating who is taking a show to Edinburgh and, more importantly, who can be pursuaded to preview their work with us.

Preview are incredibly important for comedians, they allow them to opportunity to tighten up their shows, ensuring that the structure is robust and, importantly, that they are hilariously funny. We've tried to keep the prices as low as possible - if you book all the shows then (thanks to a lovely ticket deal) it only costs £4.75 a show (£38 in total), which is pretty amazing for these world class performers. There's a bit more information below about the shows and comics and why we've booked them.

Hope to see you there! 

Bec Hill

"Every year I go to Edinburgh festival to scout as much work as possible. Bec applied to bring a show to preview in 2014 but we couldn't quite make the dates work so I made sure I went to see her show at the Guilded Balloon (I think!) last year. The show was incredibly high-energy, was clever in the way that it used drawing and the audience to lure you in but also had a lovely message about it. Sometimes you see shows that leave you refreshed and just happy and this was one."  Click here to book tickets!

Phil Nichol

"I used to go to a comedy club in York lots when I was a student and I saw Phil perform there for the first time. He's incredibly versatile, both an outrageously good club comic but also capable of creating shows with a real tenderness - all this coupled with being really really funny. He won the Perrier award (or the If.comedy award as it was that year) deservedly and is somewhat of a legend on the circuit. An international act with world class talent." Click here to book tickets!

Markus Birdman

"Markus compered the first ever comedy night I ran. It was at York Theatre Royal and he was explosive with that perfect blend of likeability and rock solid punchlines. With that in mind I saw his solo show a few years ago (which was about him having a stroke) and it was one of the cleverest shows I've seen, it encapsulated a confusion at life which drew me in and I found it incredibly relatable. He previewed a show with us last year and it was incredible." Click here to book tickets!

Glenn Wool

"My favourite comedian? Possibly. In my top 3? Definately. Glenn was another comedian I first saw perform in a damp dark cellar in York. A brash in-yer-face Canadian who pushes the audience. Often pretty dark material which makes you question yourself, usually the moment after you've laughed really hard at something. I saw his show No Man's Land in Edinburgh 4 years ago and 2 mins before the show started the man behind spilt a full pint over my head (accidentally of course...) and I thought, well, I may smell of beer (Carling, to add insult to injury) but it'll be worth it. And it was." Click here to book tickets!

Patrick Monahan

"The nicest man in comedy? Patrick was another act I first saw compereing. I've never seen someone be liked by an entire audience simply by walking onstage - but he managed it - he's an act, like everyone else on this list, who makes it look so effortless, so easy. The first time I saw him was compereing to a room of 600+ people and it felt like an old friend telling stories round a pub table. Everyone was sat round the table. I've been dying to see his solo shows for ages so I'm genuinely excited to see him perform with us!" Click here to book tickets!

Hal Cruttenden

"An almost entirely unknown act to me until 2 years ago at Edinburgh in Pleasance Courtyard. It was a blisteringly hot day and he was performing Tough Luvvie in the basement room to around 100 increasingly sweaty people - we'd seen a few of the reviews, most 4/5 stars and thought we'd give it a go. I've always tended to watch more storytelling comedians but his one-liners, the way he controlled the room, the self deprecating wit was incredible, one of the best shows I saw that year" Click here to book tickets!

Max & Ivan

"I've always been a fan of fast paced comedy theatre - we've been really lucky in Liverpool to have had Big Wow Theatre on our doorstep - the rest of the UK hasn't been as lucky, until now... I saw Max & Ivan on another excruciatingly hot day in August in an attic room performing a show called Con Artists. It was a show that took all the elements of the classic heist film and put it onstage with just two actors. I was seriously dubious - would it even work? Would I laugh? Would I have to leave halfway through to a flurry of tuts and awkward looks? Luckily the answers were Yes, Lots and No. That show and the others I've since seen them perform were incredibly funny, fast, insightful, played with the audience and had 100s of characters played by two supremely talented men. They will end up with their own TV show (they've already featured on the BBC's W1A), and you will say you saw them first at Unity." Click here to book tickets!

John Robins

"The first Edinburgh comedy preview we ran at Unity (a few years ago now) featured Wil Hodgson (former Perrier winner) and a little know comic John Robins. If I'm 100% honest John wasn't my top choice, he was a bit of an unknown quantity to us and I was worried about the night. How massively wrong I was. This is John's third preview with us (unfortunately he couldn't preview last year - but I saw his show at the festival and it was superb) and he keeps getting better and better - I rate John at the same level at performers like Jon Richardson & Russell Howard. He recently won a Chortle award for best compere, in a couple of years time I'd be surprised if he's not won best act."  Click here to book tickets!

Sam Freeman

Sam has been Unity's Marketing Manager since June 2010. He is also a freelance writer, director and occasional stand up comedian. His favourite performers are Daniel Kitson, Will Adamsdale and anything written by Tim Firth. Follow him on twitter @mrfreeman1984