Edinburgh Fringe 2018: the 55 funniest jokes

Clockwise from top left: Olaf Falafel, Rachel Fairburn, Adam Hess, Alice Fraser
Clockwise from top left: Olaf Falafel, Rachel Fairburn, Adam Hess, Alice Fraser

This August, hundreds of stand-ups are descending on Edinburgh for the world's largest comedy festival. We asked a few rising talents to share the sharpest quips from their new shows, and these are 55 of the best

Ken Cheng: “In school I had the nickname ‘the human calculator’, which meant bullies would come up to me, say the number five million, three hundred and eighteen thousand and eight, lift me upside down and not let me go until I said the word ‘boobies’.”

Athena Kugblenu: “People think I don’t order takeaways because I’m healthy. It’s actually because I can’t be bothered to put clothes on to answer the door.”

“Patriarchy is putting Jane Austen on £10 notes the same time as bringing in contactless.”

Athena Kugblenu: Follow The Leader (Underbelly)

Ian Smith: “I saw a shop with ‘Everything Must Go’ written on the window and I thought, ‘Yeah, I know. You don’t need to explain to me how a shop works’.”

Ian Smith: Craft (Underbelly)

Brett Goldstein: “My girlfriend is half Irish and half Chinese. Which means she’s incredibly beautiful and I’m never allowed to do an impression of her.”

Brett Goldstein: What is Love Baby Don’t Hurt Me (Pleasance Courtyard)

Matt Winning: “I wonder if the inventor of the shoehorn ever tries to bring it up in conversation?”

Matt Winning: Climate Strange (Just The Tonic at The Mash House)

Paul Mayhew-Archer: “All the parking spaces near the hospital entrance are reserved for people in wheelchairs which I think is wrong. I think people in wheelchairs should park furthest away - they’ve got wheels.”

Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist (Underbelly)

Matt Price: “I weigh twenty stone, so being stalked by me is like heart disease. If you really want to avoid it, just start jogging”

Matt Price: Last Night A Weegie Saved My Life (Gilded Balloon)

Myra Dubois: “I’m not surprised Jesus is fondly remembered. Born in December, died in April. A life-span of just four months and look what he achieved!”

Myra DuBois: We Wish You A Myra Christmas (Underbelly, www.edfringe.com)

Lucy Porter: “My parents lived in Croydon, which for any overseas visitors is a lovely little fishing village.”

Lucy Porter: Pass It On (Pleasance Forth, 0131 556 6550, pleasance.co.uk)

Mark Watson: “I told my mother I’ve got this dead bee in my sink: what do I do? “Get a spoon and flush it down the toilet.” Then I said, I’ve done that - now, what about the bee?”

Mark Watson: The Infinite Show (Pleasance Forth, 0131 556 6550, pleasance.co.uk)   

Glenn Moore: “I asked my girlfriend to be my wife. She’s keeping her surname - mainly because she rejected my proposal.”

“My friend Shalil’s so old-fashioned, he stilll calls Snickers Opal Fruits.”

“I’ve only got two weaknesses: being vague, and one other weakness.”

Glenn Moore
Glenn Moore

“I don’t like paintballing. I prefer to sit in the trenches writing poems about the horrors of paintballing.” 

“My housemate hates working at ITV because he starts at 8am. He should just work at ITV+1, start at nine.

“Someone close to me died this morning, which made for an uncomfortable train journey.

Glenn Moore: Glenn, Glenn, Glenn, How Do You Like It, How Do You Like It (The Tron, 6.20, 0330 220 1212; edfringe.com)

Rachel Fairburn: “Everyone’s got to have a rescue dog. You can’t have a pedigree dog these days, because everything’s got to be vintage.”

Rachel Fairburn: The Wolf at the Door (Underbelly Dexter, , 0131 510 0395, underbellyedinburgh.co.uk)

Kieran Hodgson: “I was instantly crushed, like a snail at the Grand National.”

Kieran Hodgson: ’75 (Pleasance Beneath, 0131 556 6550, pleasance.co.uk)


Helen Lederer performing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Helen Lederer performing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Helen Lederer: “I’m at that slightly awkward age: too old for Donald Trump, too young for Harry Styles.”

Helen Lederer: I Might as Well Say It (Underbelly Jersey, 0131 510 0395, underbellyedinburgh.co.uk)

Jake Lambert: “I like watching Antiques Roadshow with my nieces, because I get to tell them that the old people in the background are ghosts trying to get their stuff back.”

Jake Lambert: Little Lost Lad, Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-26 (not 13)

Rob Auton: “I saw the list of the top 100 things to do before you die for dolphins and swim with humans wasn’t on it.”

“You know the best place to meet new people? The maternity ward.”

Rob Auton: The Talk Show, Just the Tonic at the Caves (0330 220 1212), Aug 6-26 (not 13)

Adele Cliff: “I'm super competitive, which is like being competitive, but better.”

“Jokes about feminism often get 20% less than they deserve.”

Adele Cliff
Adele Cliff

“I have a fear of loneliness. Am I the only one?”

“I lost a friend after we had an argument about the Tardis. I thought it was a little thing, but it was much bigger once we got into it..”

“I always wear a seat belt, because when else in life do you get to see your breasts expressed as a fraction?”

Adele Cliff: Sheep, Just the Tonic at the Caves (0330 220 1212), Aug 2-26 (not 13)

Jim Tavaré: “One of the side effects from having a crushed chest due to an accident is no longer being able to yawn. Shame, because I used to watch a lot of theatre.”

Jim Tavaré: From Deadpan to Bedpan, Laughing Horse @ The Counting House (0131 667 7533), Aug 6-26 (not 13)

Jim Tavaré on returning to comedy after a car crash: 'I almost died three times'
Jim Tavaré on returning to comedy after a car crash: 'I almost died three times'

Catherine Bohart: “People with OCD don’t clean because we like cleaning, we do it because we’re terrified of what will happen if we don’t do it. You know, like when straight people get married.”

Catherine Bohart: Immaculate, Pleasance Courtyard  (0131 556 6550), Aug 6-26 (not 14)

Adam Riches: “I love street life, street food and street theatre – which is like regular theatre, just served in a bap.”

Adam Riches Is… The Lone Dueller and Adam Riches is… Coach Coach 2: Coach Harder, at Pleasance Dome, Aug 1-27 (alternating nights).. Adam Riches is… The Guy Who..., Underbelly Cowgate, Aug 2-26. Details: edfringe.com.

Pete Firman: “I spent the last 3 days alone trying to learn escapology. I need to get out more.”

“I was thinking about booking a session with a Psychic, so I'm expecting a phone call pretty soon.”

Pete Firman: Marvels, Pleasance Courtyard  (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-26

Juliette Burton: “I’m a comedian who was committed to a mental hospital and grew up in a rural, isolated agricultural community. I am the definition of Funny Farm.”

Juliette Burton: Butterfly Effect, Gilded Balloon Teviot (0131 622 6552), Aug 1-15

Juliette Burton will perform at the Gilded Balloon Teviot - Credit: Steve Ullathorne
Juliette Burton will perform at the Gilded Balloon Teviot Credit: Steve Ullathorne

Alistair Williams:“Everyone keeps asking me what I’m doing about the wage gap. I’m an non-famous stand up comedian. I make 9 grand a year. I’m closing it by myself.”

Alistair Williams: Great White Male, Just the Tonic at the Caves (0330 220 1212), Aug 2-26 (not 13)

Alice Fraser:“I like advertising but I think it’s deceptive as very few shops actually sell oily young women.”

“I saw my optometrist the other day. Which made him a bit redundant.”

Alice Fraser: Ethos, Underbelly Bristo Square (0131 510 0395), Aug 1-27 (not 13)

Felicity Ward: “I have a lot in common with post WWI Germany: we both went through a great depression in our 20’s. Then in our 30’s a nice man came along. Great facial hair. I’m hoping for the best.”

“A woman who’s had sex with a lot of people. That isn’t a slut – that’s an expert.”

Felicity Ward: Busting a Nut, Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-26 (not 13)

Felicity Ward's show Busting a Nut is at the Pleasance Courtyard
Felicity Ward's show Busting a Nut is at the Pleasance Courtyard

Olaf Falafel: “My dad caught me curing a piece of salmon – to teach me a lesson he made me smoke the whole packet.”

I describe my girlfriend as Amazonian, not because she's tall but because she recommends things I might like based on my previous purchases.”

Olaf Falafel: There’s No I in Idiot, Laughing Horse at the Pear Tree (0131 667 7533), Aug 2-26 (not 14)

Jim Campbell: “It might seem like we’re heading for a dystopian future right now but I read that book, 1984, and things were way worse back then.”

Jim Campbell: Trampoline, Just the Tonic at The Mash House (03302201212), Aug 2-26 (not 13)

Chris Turner: I got married in the age of Tinder. That's like turning Vegan during a bacon hurricane.”

Chris Turner: We're Where We Were, Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-26

100 funny quotes about love, sex and marriage
100 funny quotes about love, sex and marriage

Kathy Lette:  Next time your daughter hits you, or kicks you, or says "I wish you’d just die!"... Take a big drag on your cigarette, and a big gulp of wine, and say, “I’m doing my best, darling!””

Kathy Lette's Girl Talk, Underbelly George Square (0131 510 0395), Aug 4-11

Leo Kearse: Trump isn't popular here in Scotland because we don't trust anyone who can live to the age of 72.”

I like to use a Ouija board while I'm sitting in a bath full of yoghurt. I like to dabble in the Yakult.”

Leo Kearse: Right-Wing Comedian, Laughing Horse @ Espionage (0131 477 7007)), Aug 2-26

Tom Houghton: I grew up watching musicals. Miss Siagon, Oliver, Les Mis. Because there’s nothing upper class people like more than going to the theatre and watching other upper class people, dressed as working class people, singing about how hard it is not being upper class people.”

Tom Houghton: The Honourable, Pleasance Dome (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-26

Tom Houghton performs at the Pleasance Dome
Tom Houghton performs at the Pleasance Dome

Laura Lexx: “Camping is stripping life back to its basics. Camping with your family is stripping life back to its nerve endings.”

With my comedy I’m trying to lift the lid on anti-depressants, but it’s hard because first you have to squash it down and click it round.”

Laura Lexx: Trying, Gilded Balloon Teviot (0131 622 6552), Aug 1-26 (not 15)

Adam Hess: “It must be annoying for clocks that from their perspective their hands are moving anti-clockwise.”

Adam Hess: Seahorse, Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-27

Rachel Fairburn: My dad loves his dog more than us. He makes it a roast chicken seasoned in herbs every Sunday, which is stupid as dogs have no concept of thyme.”

Rachel Fairburn: The Wolf at the Door, Underbelly Bristo Square (0131 510 0395), Aug 1-27 (not 13)

George Rigden: “I love Scotland, it’s such a beautiful country – if I only I could speak the language I'd move up there in a heartbeat.”

My dad hates that I do comedy about him and went as far as to insist I not refer to him by name, which is fine because I'm not entirely sure what it is.”

George Rigden: George-ous, Pleasance Courtyard (0131 556 6550), Aug 1-27 (not 13)

Arthur Smith: “A man goes into a pub and he walks up to cigarette machine to buy fags. The cigarette machine says ‘Sod off’. He’s a bit upset. So he goes to the bar. There’s a bowl of nuts. They say ‘You look lovely!’ The man’s really puzzled. He looks over at the landlord who says ‘I’m sorry mate. I should have warned you - the cigarette machine’s out of order and the peanuts are complimentary.’

Arthur Smith: Syd, Pleasance Dome (one of his father’s jokes)

Laura Lexx: “I love camping – I think it’s stripping life back to its basics. Camping with your family is more like stripping life back to its nerve endings. When you’re camping everything is more intense (You can groan if you like)”

Laura Lexx, Trying, Gilded Balloon

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs from August 3-27; edfringe.com