Yianni Thinks BIG!

It’s finally here!  If you were at The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support this year, you’d have seen the gorgeous Yianni deliver his set about thinking big.  If you weren’t there (shame on you), here’s the dish.

Yianni is an incredible comedian.

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Don’t believe us?  Here’s what those in the know say:

‘Stunningly Good’ **** (Scotsman) ‘Sharp social commentary to compare favorably with Woody Allen’ **** (Chortle). ‘The next big thing’ **** (Three Weeks). ‘Wonderfully funny’ **** (Time Out). ‘Exceptionally original … excellent storytelling’ **** (Fringeguru). ‘Everything that a good show should be’ **** (Skinny). ‘Yianni feels like something new and refreshing in a world where so much can be the same’ **** (Gigglebeats).

This year he’s been playing the Free Fringe every day leading up to a very special show.  It’s in a slightly bigger space.  A 1200 seat auditorium to be precise at the EICC.  The same space played by Russel Brand, Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Ed Byrne and Jason Manford in the past few years.

Today is the day where he sees if his positive reinforcement and blind ambition pays off.  Why not be part of it? 6pm at the EICC on Morrison Street, Edinburgh. Tickets are £10 and there are still some left.

We can guarantee you that what you will witness is an incredible set.  So why not support the little man, and be part of making his day a very special one indeed.

Buy tickets here.

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Win tickets for the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

We’re giving away a pair of tickets every day this week for the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support to the people who can get us the BEST celebrity endorsements for the show.

Whether a RT of a message about the show on Twitter, a clip of someone drunk in a bar saying the show sounds amazing or Her Majesty The Queen declaring a public holiday to celebrate the event, we’d like you to help us create a buzz.

Here’s a suggested text or phrase you should get them to say on film or Tweet:

Tickets are now on sale for the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Boy with Tape on his Face and his 'volunteer'.

The Boy with Tape on his Face and his ‘volunteer’.

The rules are simple. 

1: Your chosen celebrity must reference the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

2: We need to be able to track the origin of the message (this is easy on Twitter, less so on Facebook).  Just Tweet us, post a screen grab or upload your clip on the Facebook wall.

3: We decide what constitutes the BEST celebrity endorsement (bear in mind, we have a soft spot for 1980s pop stars, comics off the telly and people of the sexy variety).

4: Only one pair of tickets can be won per entrant.  Winner’s tickets can be collected on the door on the night.

5: The competition closes at 5pm on Sunday 11 August with winners being informed on a daily basis.

About the show

The Boy with Tape on his Face – ‘Amazing’ (Scotsman), hosts sold-out 2011 and 2012 show. Line-up includes: Sean Hughes, Greg Proops, Caroline Rhea, East End Cabaret, Vikki Stone, Patrick Monahan, Joe Lycett and Lee Nelson. Pick of the week (Scotland on Sunday), Pick of the day (Scotsman), Top ten shows to see with your boyfriend (Daily Record). The Big C has raised over £36,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. This year, we hope to hit £50,000. Follow @bigcomedygala on Twitter for more line-up announcements. #bigc2013 #charityissexy

Monday 12 August 21:30 (2hrs), Venue150@EICC, Morrison Street, Edinburgh

Buy tickets now

Qwaliteeeeee News! Look who has agreed to close the show!

Look who has just joined our line up!

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We’re delighted to announce today, that Lee Nelson has agreed to make a rare additional appearance to close the The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on August 12 at the EICC.  Nelson, one of the most successful comedy characters to come out of the UK in recent years promises “A brand new show of qwaliteeee jokes, games and banter” on his UK tour which stops in Edinburgh for a limited run during the Fringe.

lee_nelsonHe’ll be stopping by after his George Square Theatre show to offer a closing set for the annual charity gala.

‘The hottest creation since Ali G and Vicky Pollard’ (Daily Mirror). ‘As comic inventions go, Simon Brodkin’s south London council estate geezer Lee Nelson is up with the best’ (Daily Telegraph).

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Joining Lee on stage this year will be host The Boy with Tape on his Face, another silent act, Lost Voice Guy, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Curb Your Enthusiasm alumni Caroline Rhea; Whose Line Is It Anyway star Greg Proops; Perrier Award winner Sean Hughes; Soho Theatre Stand Up Award winner Vikki Stone; Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Joe Lycett; Show Me the Funny winner Patrick Monahan and Time Out London’s Queens of Smut, East End Cabaret.

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Like past years, there will also be surprise guest performances from a host of other acts.

The Big C was set up in 2011 by Barry Church-Woods and Mhari Hetherington, in order to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The inaugural show, which was hosted by Ed Byrne, and the 2012 show, hosted by Roy Walker, both sold out – raising over £36,000 for Macmillan to date – with line-ups that included Josie Long, Frisky and Mannish, Fred Macaualy, Chris Ramsey, Danny Bhoy and Sarah Millican.

In the gala’s third year, the organisers hope to hit the £50,000 mark.

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is run entirely by volunteers with acts donating their time for free to raise funds for the charity.  This would not be possible without the generous support of Suisse Design & Art Direction and Dupliquick.

Tickets are on sale at www.edfringe.com & www.venue150.com

LISTINGS
The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support
Monday 12 August at 21:30 (2hrs)
Venue150@EICC, 150 Morrison Street, Edinburgh,
Tickets: £20 (charges may apply)

Box office: 0844 847 1639 (Ticketweb) or 0131 226 0000 (EdFringe)
Buy online: www.edfringe.com

More information: www.bigcomedygala.com
Follow line-up announcements on Twitter: @bigcomedygala

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We Definitely Would – Vikki Stone

“Imagine being in a room with Lily Allen without the fear of being glassed.  Except she’s funny and actually really talented”. 

Vikki Stone - DefinitelyThis is how Vikki Stone’s show was first described to me by a colleague.

I first became aware of her when I tweeted that she looked a bit like a young Josie Lawrence.  She didn’t tell me to get fucked.  In fact, she said something nice back about the Big Comedy Gala.

Last year, I finally met her at a fundraiser where she absolutely charmed the room, and I fell in love.  (But in a gay man to pop diva way.  Not the creepy ‘I’m in your garden’ sort of way).

For those of you living under a rock, Vikki Stone is a multi-talented comedian, actress, singer and musician and winner of The Soho Theatre One Night Stand Up Award.

Her unique mix of stand up and musical comedy has made her one of the fastest rising stars of British comedy. She performs regularly across the country at major clubs, festivals and theatres, as well as appearing regularly on television.

Her debut Edinburgh show, Big Neon Letters, played to sell-out audiences and received critical acclaim, including The Observer’s Comedy Top 5 Edinburgh Shows 2011.

Her follow up show, Hot Mess, sold out its entire run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012, and four extra shows were added due to phenomenal public demand.

This year she’s back with ‘Definitely’.

Her Phillip Schofield Song became an internet hit and was listed in The Huffington Post as The Top Ten Viral Videos in 2012.

You may also recognise her from fronting major ad campaigns for Yakult, Fiat and…..Tena Lady!

Hot off the stage at Latitude, she took a minute to answer a few quick questions for the Big C.

What is your involvement in The Big C?

I’m going to be doing ‘my thing’, and if you’d like to know what that ‘thing’ is, then you best get booking!

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Bette Midler. Don’t think I need to explain why.

MidlerFavourite comedy moment (your own or someone else’s)?

This is a tough one, but I think it has to be the time my friend, who is a grown man, accidentally shat himself on Clapham Common. I couldn’t stop laughing for days.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

See above.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Phillip Schofield – but I don’t make a secret of this.  I wrote a song about him, which I ended up performing right to his face on ITV’s This Morning last year!

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Good laughs and good cause!

cropped-big-c-cover.jpgJoining Vikki on the night are The Boy with Tape on his Face, Sean Hughes, Greg Proops, Caroline Rhea, Joe Lycett, East End Cabaret & Patrick Monahan.  Other acts will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Follow @bigcomedygala #BigC2013

Book The Big C

Book Vikki Stone

An Open Letter and Invitation to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Madam,

It recently came to my attention that when you awarded Nica Burns an OBE for services to entertainment, your brief conversation resulted in you registering your surprise that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (the Fringe) had existed for more than 20 years.

I feel quite certain that you went home immediately to research the largest arts festival in the world and discovered that it actually came into existence in 1947, as a response to the Edinburgh International Festival, and has flourished ever since.  Indeed, just last year, the Fringe was said to generate some £141million for the local economy.

I’ve seen your wonderful crown and palace and shan’t assume that you will necessarily be able to appreciate the enormity of this, so for purposes of clarity, let me state that for your typical Edinburgh resident in Dumbiedykes, £141million is A LOT of money.

It struck me that though in recent years I’ve seen images of David Hasselhoff, Ricky Gervais and Miriam Margolyes enjoying all that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer, I have never seen a photograph of your Majesty in a festival beer garden. Nor have I ever read a ‘fun’ Herald diary piece about you inadvertently falling asleep during a production of Hedda Gabler in a hotel loft.

Then it struck me.

As your humble servant, it is my duty to ensure that you experience the first and best Fringe Festival the world has to offer.  Particularly as it happens annually in your land.  So I put this to you:

I am currently producing The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  It’s exactly as it sounds and aims to raise money for the wonderful charity by showcasing a veritable smorgasbord of light entertainment.

It’s on a school night – Monday 12th August to be precise – but as you’ll no doubt be aware, in Edinburgh in August, there’s no such thing as a weekend.

Madam, I would like to invite you and the Duke of Edinburgh to the show to experience fourteen of the best comedic acts that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has to offer.

As luck would have it, the Gala is being staged in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, a venue synonymous with high quality events and very much used to welcoming global dignitaries and their security cartel.

I do not want to assume that you will be available to attend, and as such I have not included any tickets with this correspondence.  Instead, inspired by the classic film Never Been Kissed, I have reserved two seats for you in the middle of the auditorium and will wait by them until 21:25 on August 12th, hoping that you can find it in your heart of hearts to show up.

Please, your Majesty, be a very wealthy Michael Varnan to my oddly shaped Drew Barrymore.

Of course, the Fringe is not all about comedy; there’s a massive programme of dance, theatre, music and visual arts to choose from too. If you do come to Edinburgh, the day after the gala I’m sure I can hook you up with some tickets for one of the many student productions.  Just let me know in advance.

Now, let’s get to the nitty gritty of it all.

I know you have a wonderful home in Edinburgh; indeed, two years ago you invited me to your garden party.  Alas I was somewhat in the huff with you and didn’t attend due to your rewarding famous homophobe Brian Souter with an OBE – but I’m ready to move on, if you are.

If you would like the full Fringe experience, I would be more than happy to welcome you into my home to stay for a couple of nights.  As it’s you, you and the Duke can have the room with the en-suite, though you will need to share a kitchen with the cast of Briefs and Corey Feldman.

I can guarantee that if you make the trip to Edinburgh, you will not regret it.  Indeed, many of the people on the bill have also performed at the Royal Variety Performance, including our wonderful host The Boy with Tape on his Face, and don’t even pretend you won’t absolutely lose your shit when Caroline Rhea from Sabrina the Teenage Witch comes on stage.  She is truly one of the greatest comediennes out there.

Tickets are normally £20, though I’m happy to cover the cost if you throw a ring or bracelet into the Macmillan bucket at the end.

So there we are.

If you would like to attend the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s on Monday 12 August 2013 from 21:30 at Venue150@EICC.

I very much hope to see you there.

I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and obedient servant.

Barry Hetherington

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Mad About The Boy

The Boy with Tape on his Face will host this year’s Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We first became aware of the Boy with Tape on his Face in February 2010.  We were in Adelaide enjoying the sun and catching up with long lost and newly aquainted relatives during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Having no time to plough through their fairly hefty programme we decided to ask around.  What’s the big show this year?  What’s the must have ticket?  What should we see before we head back to Edinburgh?  Every single time, the respondent was emphatic.

“The Boy with Tape on his Face”.

Difficult to describe without demeaning his talent by implicating him with mimes, clowns and street performers, the truth is this: Tape Face Boy is the perfect amalgam of all three disciplines.

Indeed, in the Bosco Tent within the Garden of Unearthly Delights that evening, we were delighted to witness the bringing together of the very best of these genres into a rock solid fifty-five minute show while also winning favour with the new in-laws by getting them a sneak peek of the next big thing.

The. Next. Big. Thing.  Every year at the Edinburgh Fringe this phrase is bandied around like hair colour.  Anyone with a 5 star review can be it.  The next big discovery.  The one to bank on.  The person for whom all other successes will be measured against (in that financial year at least).

Remember last year’s next big thing?  No, we didn’t think so.  But like the gaffer tape across his mouth, this time it stuck.  And good god is it sticky.

Since leaving the Boy with Tape on his Face finishing off his Adelaide run amid a bidding war from Edinburgh’s Big 4 and a barrage of incredible reviews his star has done nothing but rise.

He’s toured the world, enjoyed three massive hit shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stole the shows at last year’s Royal Variety Performance and BBC Comedy Prom while bagging himself a BBC3 Pilot as part of the Comedy Kitchen platform, and like Gaga has her Little Monsters and Beiber has Beliebers, the Boy has a growing army of Silent Ones.

And all without uttering a single word.

We are delighted that this year he’ll be hosting the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.  But how will he do it without speaking?  We guess you’ll have to buy a ticket to find out.

For those of you that seen the show last year, you’ll be aware that there is a very real chance that at this point in the evening you may well end up being ‘the show’.  But how does he charm punters onto his stage so easily?  Here he explains to Time Out London:

‘I treat them a wee bit like dolls,’ he says, audience participation at a Tape Face gig is never humiliating. ‘If there’s too much responsibility on an audience member there’s too much pressure for them to fail whereas if you give them the tiniest amount of responsibility, the moment they achieve it and the audience goes crazy, they feel like a star.’ Whether they’re forming a makeshift Jackson 5 or being transformed into a human puppet, this gentle approach comes from years of seeing ‘audience members treated badly’, he says. ‘I want them leave the stage a hero.’

Preparation is currently underway for his show ‘More Tape’ at the Pleasance Courtyard and we were lucky enough to steal him away to answer a few very important questions

What is your actual name?

The Boy with Tape on His Face

And exactly how old are you?

Not sure. Still Boy not Tape Man.

How would you describe your job?

Stand up comedian who doesn’t talk

And what is your involvement going to be at The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support? 

I will be performing comedy antics at the event and introducing guests.

We’re sure you get asked this all the time but who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor? 

Everybody thinks I should like Charlie Chaplin but I prefer Buster Keaton

Well, the Guardian did refer to you as a latterday Buster Keaton.  What’s your favourite comedy moment from the past few years?

I once saw a magician get locked into a mailbag and not get out. Longest yet funniest fifteen minutes of my life.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh? 

Being the owner of two bald cats and a dachshund

And who is your secret celebrity crush?

The guy from the Go Compare commercials, I would crush him with a shipping container and be given a medal.

In five words, why should people come to (or support) The Big Comedy Gala?

Laughter is the best medicine for everything in Life.

Not five, but a perfect summary of why the Big C exists.

The Big Comedy Gala is in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. It takes place on Monday 12 August 2013 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £20 (subject to booking fee)

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buying online at venue150.com.

You can also buy tickets for The Boy with Tape on his Face: More Tape here.