We’re back!

#BIGC2015

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.

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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.

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BBC Radio 4 regular Susan Calman joins Big Comedy Gala celebrity line-up!

Susan Calman joins the Big C

Susan Calman, the star of Rab C Nesbitt, BBC Three’s Dead Boss, Have I Got News For You, and Channel 4’s Ugly Kid, as well as being a regular on Radio 4 (The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Vote Now) and Radio Scotland (Funny Friends), today announces she’s joining the all-star line-up at the 2012 Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

From Glasgow, Calman gave up a lucrative career in corporate law to become a comedian and has proved herself one of the fastest rising stars in comedy. She reached the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Awards and So You Think You’re Funny in 2005, she was also a finalist in Funny Women in 2006.

The feisty Glaswegian went on to become resident compere at Glasgow’s famous comedy club, The Stand, and has been awarded Best New Comedian at the Scottish Variety Awards as well as a Scottish BAFTA.

Calman will join a star-studded line-up at the Macmillan fundraiser, including: Roy Walker (host), George Wendt, Nick Helm, Nina Conti, Tom Stade, Fascinating Aida, Joe Lycett, Dan Nightingale, Steve Shanyaski and The Boy with Tape on his Face.

For more information, interview requests or images, please contact Miriam Attwood on 07825 642225 or email press@bigcomedygala.com.

You can also find the Big C on Twitter (@bigcomedygala), and Facebook (facebook.com/bigcomedygala or search for big comedy gala).

The Big Comedy Gala in Aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012, at 21:30 (2hrs). Box Office: 0844 847 1639 or 0131 226 0000. Buy online: www.venue150.com or www.edfringe.com / www.bigcomedygala.com. Tickets: £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support is in its second year. The sell-out 2011 event raised £18,433.08 for Macmillan Cancer Support and featured Ed Byrne, Rich Fulcher, Fred MacAulay, Sarah Millican, Danny Bhoy, Frisky & Mannish and Roy Walker.

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. 

GOODBYE MR CHIPS

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

The Big C proudly (and giddily) presents…

GEORGE WENDT
NICK HELM
NINA CONTI
TOM STADE
FASCINATING AIDA
JOE LYCETT
THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE

We are delighted to announce that George Wendt, star of Cheers, will be appearing at the Big Comedy Gala 2012. Wendt – Norm from Cheers and also known for appearances in The Simpsons and Family Guy – is in Edinburgh for Re-Animator The Musical at Assembly George Square this August.


Roy Walker and George Wendt kick off an all star line-up, including 2011 Fosters’ Comedy Award Nominee Nick Helm, ventriloquist Nina Conti, Tom Stade, Cheap Flight’s youtube sensation Fascinating Aida, Fringe favourite The Boy With Tape On His Face and comedy newcomer Joe Lycett at Venue150@EICC on Monday 13 August.

Those of you who joined us last August at Venue150@EICC will be pleased to hear that we raised £18,433, all of which went directly to Macmillan Cancer Support.  This year our goal is to raise £20,000.

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

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs), £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

Lisa Kudrow’s laughter will be there for you!

Just when we thought we were well and truly over Friends, along comes Lisa Kudrow’s huh-larious laughter and tickles our fancy raw!

Ok, if you insist on complete honesty, we weren’t over Friends at all. Despite reruns to the point where the show has virtually become the entertainment equivalent of white noise – and the fact that it reminds us of our real age – we do love us some Friends. In fact, we’re watching it as we type this. No really, we are.

Friends will be there for us – we know this as whenever the reruns end on one channel, they start up on another. And whether you like that particular brand of comedy or not,  denying Friends its place in the sitcom hall of fame would be calling Samantha Brick a humble, grounded feminist.

That said, there are only so many times you can watch the same episode of Friends in six months and still laugh at the jokes. So we were delighted to find the below YouTube clip of Lisa Kudrow bloopers, which had us in stitches, rekindling that warm, fuzzy, Friendly feeling.

The only thing we’re not quite sure about is why the Friends directors didn’t give Phoebe the gift of Lisa Kudrow’s real-life laugh. It’s pure comedy brilliance – check it out for yourself!


For more pure comedy brilliance, make sure you join us at Venue 150 on the 13th of August at 21:30 for The Big Comedy Gala 2012.

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The show lasts for two hours and cost £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage).

Meet our Big C ticket give-away winner!

We recently ran a competition on Facebook, giving one lucky comedy fan the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Big Comedy Gala.

Imagine that…the world’s most awesome stand up gala event ever (we’re almost certain) at no cost! I guess we have to concede that the best things in life are free after all, despite what we wrote on here last week.

Well, on the 1st of May, our dashing volunteer Kevin pulled the name of Julia Morrison, 28, from Edinburgh, out of an envelope full of hopefuls, making her our winner and the envy of this season’s Fringe enthusiasts.

We took the opportunity to ask Julia a few questions to find out a bit more about her and rub the whole free tickets thing in everyone else’s face some more.

So, Julia, congratulations on your big win! Now tell us a bit about yourself…like what you do for a living and some weird quirk you have.

I think I have a super life. I’ve got a bunch of great friends and very few responsibilities. Long may it continue!

I work for a charity looking after their digital comms – websites, ebulletins and social media. My proudest achievement at work is becoming the keeper of the biscuits. This makes me the most popular member of the team.

Having consulted with my sister, apparently I have no quirks. I’m completely bland.

Ouch! Well, you’re quite hot at least – are you funny?

Why, thank you. You are pretty handsome yourself. I’m fairly clumsy so maybe that makes me slapstick? Is slapstick funny?

Erm…let’s answer your question with another question: Is it more important to be hot or funny?

I surround myself with people who are sexy and amusing in equal measure. One without the other is a sad state of affairs.

Do you think our volunteer Kevin is hot or funny or both?

In the 22 second video of Kevin he doesn’t display any comic genius – I will form an opinion on that once presented with more evidence.

However, Kevin is clearly hot and talented. Only a man of genius could pull MY name out of an envelope.

Tough – he’s gay and married so hands off! Who’s the funniest person in your life?

It is hard to choose just one. But I suppose, if pushed, it would have to be my friend Charlotte. She is quick, imaginative and dexterous with words. A mini Oscar Wilde.

When you’re not hanging out with Charlotte what do you like to do?

Being Scottish, I seem to find myself in the pub a lot. But that is OK, I like it there. I can frequently be found having “just one more”.

I am also lucky in that I’m dating my own personal chef so we like to cook a lot. I say “we”, I peel the garlic and he does anything that involves culinary talent.

What did you think and / or shout when you found out you had won the Big C tickets?

I was alone in a changing cubicle at the swimming pool when I found out so I had a quiet smile to myself. I did not want to arouse any undue suspicion.

But I was super chuffed as I’ve never won any game of chance – not even the Christmas raffle. I hope this bodes well for my lottery ticket…

Yes, we’ll be expecting a hefty donation if you win! Who will you be taking with you to The Big C?

My boyfriend Paul will be getting the other freebie ticket – he deserves it! But since it is my birthday on 13 August I’ll be bringing an entourage of family and friends.

That’s what we like to hear! What makes The Big C an amazing event to you?

First off, it is a great opportunity to raise a lot of money and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support. They do absolutely fantastic work!

I’m always really impressed to see how many comedians give their time freely to support the show. They can’t all be the sociopaths we imagine them to be.

And finally, cancer is an awful disease that touches so many lives. Comedy is a great way to celebrate the life we have. There is nothing better in life than having a good laugh with friends.

If you could choose one comedian or act that you would like to see in the Big Comedy Gala, who would you pick?

Last year I was fortunate enough to stumble across Marcel Lucont’s show at the Festival. He is my new comedy crush. He is suave, sexy, superior and doesn’t wear any shoes.

Well, thank you for your time Julia…we hope you and Paul enjoy the Big Comedy Gala 2012 – we’ll see you there!

Until then; keep laughing!

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Julia Morrison, Big C fan and our ticket give-away winner.

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs): £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage)

The best things in life are TOTES not free…

But at a mere £22 they’re still a bargain, and they come with the wholesome smugness of doing something good. By which we mean bitch slapping cancer square in the box.

And surely few things in life could be better than enjoying an evening of brilliant comedy, led by none other than the legendary Roy Walker, whilst basking in the fulfilling knowledge that your cash is helping Macmillan look after people with, and affected by, cancer?

Unless you know someone giving away magic unicorns and world peace, the answer to that question should be ‘No’. We think so anyway, which is why we are aiming to make the Big Comedy Gala 2012 even bigger and funnier than last year.

In 2011 we raised just over £18,000 so this year we’re aiming for £20K. The only thing you need to do to help us achieve this kick-ass goal is buy your ticket. Hell, buy one for your friends too! And your mum and your dad and your partner – maybe even organise a staff night out? Everyone deserves a slice of the Big C pie of laughter!

Tickets are on sale right now – in fact we’ve already sold hundreds of them a mere two weeks after release – so get yours now and help us make The Big C the comedy charity event of the 2012 Festival Fringe!

You can book tickets now by calling 0844 847 1639 or buy online at: www.edfringe.com

The Big Comedy Gala in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, Monday 13 August 2012 at 21:30 (2hrs): £22 (subject to booking fee of £2 to £2.40 per ticket + postage)