We’re back!


This year, The Big C is staging two amazing fundraising events for Macmillan Cancer Support and they are both on 28 August.

All proceeds go to the charity, so know you’re not just treating yourself to a great time out, you’re also donating to one of the UK’s leading cancer charities.


First off, the Big Cabaret Gala starts at 2pm at the EICC.  Tickets are £10 and can be bought here.  It’s a 70 minute variety show being hosted by the incredible Lili la Scala, with some very special performances from Puddles Pity Party, Uncompromising Artistry, Snookie Mono and many more.

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After that, why not take a tour of the city and see some other stuff before returning to the EICC for the Big Comedy Gala, a two hour extravaganza being helmed by Die Roten Punkte with a plethora of amazing talent. Ticket for this one are £18 and can be bought here.

This is the show you should not miss at the Fringe.

Sell Out Show in 2011-2013

Top Show in Scotland – The Skinny

Pick of the Day – Scotsman

Pick of the Week – Scotland on Sunday

Pick of the Fringe – Edinburgh Evening News

Top Ten Show – Daily Record

Hit Listed – The List

Sarah Millican and Ed Byrne before the show

Sarah Millican and Ed Byrne before the show

‘best audience of the entire Fringe is in the EICC tonight for the Big C’

– Chris Ramsey

‘last night I was hugged by Roy Walker.  It was good, but not right’.

– Sarah Millican

Frisky and Mannish perform Rude Boy in the style of the Bee Gees.

Frisky and Mannish perform Rude Boy in the style of the Bee Gees.

the audience are amazing’

– Mannish

‘way too important to miss

– Mike Coulter

Roy Walker is a Smooth Criminal

Roy Walker is a Smooth Criminal

‘the Big Comedy Gala gig was a dream to play and the staff at the EICC are so lovely. Super night’

– Vikki Stone

‘an astonishingly fabulous line-up’

– EastEnd Cabaret

Danny Bhoy gives a sneek peak of his new material to open the second half.

Danny Bhoy gives a sneek peak of his new material to open the second half.

‘I can’t wait’

– Caroline Rhea

Get your tickets now and follow #BIGC2015 for line-up news.


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


Organisers of the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support today announced the majority of the line up for the show which takes place on Monday 12 August from 21:30 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

998342_587442851278150_1251862508_nThis year’s Big C comes with a twist as silent comedian, Fringe sensation and Foster’s Edinburgh Panel Prize winner, The Boy with Tape on his Face (aka ‘The Boy’), takes over the host’s mantle. It’s thought to be the first time a silent act has hosted an event of this nature during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Joining The Boy on stage this year will be another silent act, Lost Voice Guy, alongside 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.

BC2Like 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

For press enquiries, please contact Josef Church-Woods on josefchurchwoods@live.co.uk or ring Jo on 07 887 811 091.

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


Life’s Survival Bible

It’s been a couple of days since all of our wonderful acts kicked the show in the clunge, and what an incredible night it was.

While we’re waiting for the final tally, what better way to occupy yourself than to getting to know some of the acts better.

Phil Walker, Steve Shanyaski and of course our wonderful host for the night Roy.

You’ll know by now that we’re the very stickler for taste and only ever settle for the very best.  With that in mind, you’d have to be very special to grace our stage for both our galas so far (and yes, we’ll mention it once more – he smells like a fecking angel).

Ladies and gentlemen and inbetweenies, if you were at either of the shows you’ve already seen what this guy can do in 7 minutes.  Why not let him pleasure your laugh holes for a full hour.

We give you Steve Shanyaski.

Age: 35

Occupation: Stand Up Comedian

What is your involvement in The BigC?

I performed in the first Big Comedy Gala in 2011 and also last Monday’s gig.

Who is your favourite comedy hero, act or actor?

Eddie Izzard was the act I watched when I was younger and thought, “That’s just like what we talk about?”.  I was inspired from that moment to try comedy.  All I had to do then was get a series of menial jobs so depressing that it forced me to have a quarter-life crisis, and eventually overcome stage-fright.

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

Julie Walter’s waitress in the “2 Soups” sketch.  It kills me every time.  The pain and tension of eventuality in it – in fact, I’m going to watch it again on Youtube now… Done… “Ready to order?”… Brilliant!  Either that, or the absurd Monty Python “Fish-Slapping Dance”.

What in your everyday life always makes you laugh?

Tough question this. A lot of my comedy material is born from frustration and anger, so anything that makes me angry will eventually make me laugh – except debt.  Debt, and Piers Morgan.

Who is your secret celebrity crush?

Michaela Strachan – always will be.  She had a few naughty years when she was working with her Granddad on “Hitman & Her”, but now she’s calmed down and settled into hiking and topography – and still looks great in cess-covered gaiters and full-body Gore-Tex, which is a difficult look to pull off?!

In five words, why should people support The Big Comedy Gala?

Charity GOOD… not supporting = BAD!

Steve Shanyaski’s show Life’s Survival Bible plays Pleasance Couryard every night until the 26th (inclusive) at 11pm.  Tickets can be bought on edfringe.com or at the venue.

Say What You C

With a little under 4 weeks to go until the big night, we felt it was about time we profiled our wonderful host Roy Walker.

Roy travelled to Edinburgh last August to perform at the very first Big Comedy Gala.  Limited to just 5 minutes per act, he took to the stage with his unique brand of deadpan and won every single member of the audience over.

This year, we’re delighted that he’s agreed to take the reigns of the show and guide you through our evening of top-flight entertainment.

The following article was first published in the Scotsman on Saturday 26 July 2008, shortly before Roy performed for his first time on the Edinburgh Fringe. 


ROY WALKER has just had an intimation of mortality. “I woke up this morning and thought to myself: ‘Is it possible I could have a heart attack?’ So I jumped out of bed, did some exercises, and passed on the extra sausage.” The cause of the veteran comedian’s anxiety is his Festival Fringe debut on his 68th birthday and the anniversary of his sacking as host of Catchphrase. “I can’t sleep because I’m so excited about Edinburgh,” he says in the softest Belfast voice.

A few years ago, Walker was on the verge of quitting the old country. “I fancied the West Indies: nice jobs on cruise ships and sunshine for my creaking bones.” But then Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles – who seemed to regard Walker’s dismissal as the injustice of the age – dreamed up Car Park Catchphrase for his breakfast show, using original quiz snippets. Now Walker is cool, a cult hero to students. “To be selling out universities and hearing 3,000 kids chant ‘Roy Walker! Roy Walker!’ football-style – incredible,” he says.

It’s easy to be cynical about old show-bizzers on the Fringe; there are so many. Michael Barrymore, Les Dennis – they used to be on ITV and now their game is eye-ron-ee. But Walker has had post-modernity thrust upon him and is genuinely surprised by this turn of events. In fact, he could be just about the most genuine (ex)-wearer of a shiny suit and flaunter of a cheesy grin there’s ever been.

We meet in a London bar. He’s just done breakfast telly; after me it’s Jonathan Ross. His press officer waves around a hectic itinerary. He barely has enough time to hyperventilate and his forthcoming autobiography may have to be delayed. He wants it out for this Christmas; the press officer reassures him that next Christmas will be fine. But Walker wonders if this autumn in his career might not be over by winter 2009. You should take nothing for granted in comedy, and he likens it to boxing. There have been more than a few punches below the belt.

His reminiscences about Belfast at the time of the Troubles certainly put the odd heckle into perspective. By day, he ran a fruit shop; by night he was the compre at the Talk of the Town club, everyone’s ideas of a grand evening out. That was until two men confronted him, stuck a Browning pistol in his face and demanded to know: “Are you married to a Fenian?”

“Protestants and Catholics drank together in the Talk of the Town – integration happened in front of my eyes every night,” he says. “As a Protestant myself, I had lots of Catholic friends – the Army had been full of them. Bob Hope said you should never admit to anything and that day I didn’t. But then I was told: ‘We’re giving everyone 24 hours – that’s you and them Fenian lovers across the street.’

“I got one of the cards I’d used for the apple prices and on the back I wrote: ‘The owner of this shop served Queen and country for six years’. I stuck it in the window, closed up and walked down the Woodstock Road for the last time.”

The shop had been a kind of annexe to the club with the likes of George Best and Guy Mitchell even taking turns behind the counter. But the terrorists were true to their word and firebombed it. Walker and his wife Jean couldn’t even say their goodbyes because houses were being torched close to where their three children were sleeping.

Walker fled to the mainland, desperate for work. “I’d been ‘Mr Belfast’ but in Sunderland I had to wait by the phone at nine o’clock hoping that some other poor comic had been paid off after his first act. That seven quid got me my digs.” Once he raced round Manchester in a beat-up Ford Prefect and played five gigs in a night. “The last one was at Stalybridge Celtic Social Club; Bernard Manning had just come off and he didn’t think I’d be able to follow him.” Walker not only did that, he followed him on to The Comedians, the show that brought clubland humour to the TV masses.

Manning and Frank Carson were top dogs and could afford the best lounge suits; it was shabby velveteen for the rest. “Bernard and Frank were bullies but everyone hated each other – it was worse than chorus girls – and you had to be careful not to let another comic see your idiot cards or he’d ruin your act.” By then, dizzily, Walker was earning £50 a night.

Bob Monkhouse best summed up his comedy: “A well-dressed gent with thick greying hair and a polite air, Walker’s soft Ulster voice, his lack of aggression, the composed expression hiding a gentle smile, his amazing pauses which defied interruption, somehow overawing and silencing hecklers…” His act used to be based almost entirely round married life, but when Jean died of cancer in 1988, he had to throw a lot of gags away. “That was tough; I couldn’t be bothered with comedy for a long time.”

He also used to bait the crowds. Everyone did in the gloriously politically incorrect Seventies, but the style didn’t suit him. He thinks he’s only ever sworn once on stage. So what gets him angry? “Our soldiers dying in Afghanistan, Tony Blair buying another house…” Walker’s youngest son Phil is currently in Afghanistan, entertaining the troops. The oldest son Mark is also a comic, while their sister Joanna is an actress. Did he warn his boys about the perils of comedy? “No, because they wouldn’t have listened. I never did. My dad died before I got to know him; my mum wanted me to stay a choirboy.”

As a lad, Walker went to work at 12 to bring a few extra pennies into the house, so a stint on the Fringe competing against younger, supposedly cleverer comics doesn’t faze him – despite the odd early morning dose of the collywobbles.

His show will cover his entire career, including those 14 years of Catchphrase (“Say what you see … it’s good but it’s not the right one”), so there’s no shortage of great material. His only real dilemma is whether or not he should break the habit of a lifetime and swear.

He laughs: “I always get mistaken for Tom O’Connor and he dines out on that. Once I got stopped by a whole family in an airport. The mother said she loved my act because I didn’t use bad language, but she thought I was that man O’Connor. I told her I wasn’t and in front of her kids she said: ‘Well, who the feck are you then?’

His second F-word gag relates to a piece of old Belfast graffiti – underneath ‘No Popery here’, someone had scrawled ‘Lucky feckin’ Pope’ – and this is the cue for more reminiscing. “When I walked away from my shop, I had a lump in my throat. But when I turned round for one last look, I laughed. I couldn’t see my sign-off – only a board from the previous day: ‘Salad days are here again.’

For Roy Walker, who’s since had a hometown street named after him, they’re still here.

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is Roy’s only Edinburgh gig this year.  It’s on the 13th August at Venue150@EICC and you can buy tickets here:

The Big C Tickets

Mad About The Boy

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 two 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.

Last year we were delighted that he agreed to perform as part of the Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and once more, we are delighted that on the evening of the 13th August, he’ll be coming off the Pleasance stage, piling into a taxi and taking on the closing slot of our show.

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 brand new 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

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 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), and tickets are £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

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:

Last year’s show…

Today, we thought we’d treat you to some never before seen images from last year’s Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Since our photographer couldn’t be in two places at once, it seems we don’t have any images of the wonderful Jason Cook.  Do you?

Sarah and Ed before the show.

Hal Sparks wows the crowd in the closing slot (the one no comic wants to touch!)

Danny Bhoy gives a sneek peak of his new material to open the second half.

Carl Donnelly

Frisky and Mannish perform Rude Boy in the style of the Bee Gees.

The Boy with Tape on his Face

Eleanor Morton sings about John Travolta and Paris Hilton.

Ellis James

Tom Allen

The audience during the interval.

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

Ed opening the show.

The moment most of the men in the audience became smitten: Dana Alexander


Tom Allen chats with Sarah Millican as Frisky fixes her fascinator.


Sarah Millican (one of our surprise guests last year).

Ed and his parents

Roy Walker charms the crowd with his deadpan

Steve Shanyaski