Edinburgh Fringe 2022: Our critic’s pick of the 20 must-see comedy shows

·6-min read
Edinburgh Fringe 2022: Our critic’s pick of the 20 must-see comedy shows

The 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe promises to be unique. After two years away, there is a bottleneck of performers bursting to perform. The official Fringe brochure is published this Thursday but it could take until September to read it all. From newbies breaking through to stars roadtesting their new tours, we’ve picked 20 must-see shows that will have you howling with laughter.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 3 - 29. Tickets available at edfringe.com

As Seen on Screen

 (Matt Crockett)
(Matt Crockett)

Maisie Adam 

Adam has quickly become one of the most in-demand comedians – even if you have not seen her on Mock The Week or QI you’ll have heard her voice doing continuity links and TV ads. And of course she is the owner of that distinctive hairstyle which is almost almost as memorable as her pin-sharp observational comedy.

Gilded Balloon, August 3 - 29

 (Drew Forsyth)
(Drew Forsyth)

Kiri Pritchard-McLean

Pritchard-McLean brings her latest show, Home Truths, to the Fringe - in which she discusses moving to Anglesey, acquiring some chickens and learning Welsh. Pritchard-McLean is funny and dynamic. When lockdown first struck she set up online comedy club The Covid Arms – it is still going, raising over £150,000 for charity.

Monkey Barrel, August 3 - 28

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Paul Sinha

TV quiz buffs will know Sinha as The Chase’s white-suited Sinnerman, but comedy connoisseurs will know him as a consummate storyteller. In 2019, Sinha was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and calls his latest show his "second post-diagnosis album" charting how his life has changed. The title alone is worth the ticket price – One Sinha Lifetime.

The Stand, August 4 - 2

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Frank Skinner 

Skinner is a stand-up legend, but many other things too, from football fan to literature lover. Recent years have seen him present TV programmes about poetry and write a modern prayer book. He returns to his funny bones roots with a sneak preview of his new show, 30 Years of Dirt.

Assembly Roxy, August 4 - 28

 (Troy Edige)
(Troy Edige)

Daniel Sloss

The outspoken Scot has made his name with his scorchingly honest shows about subjects ranging from toxic masculinity to divorce. These dates are a chance to see an early version of his next show, CAN’T. You’ll have to wait a while to see it in London; from Edinburgh he heads to New York for a US run.

Just The Tonic Nucleus, August 4 -28

Returning Heroes

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Catherine Bohart 

During lockdown this Fringe favourite released a podcast about relationships with her partner. They then split and the Irish comic had to learn to love herself while coping with OCD. Lockdown was not all bad, it produced this inspired show about finding the funnies in trauma.

Monkey Barrel, August 4 - 28

 (Matt Crockett)
(Matt Crockett)

Jordan Brookes

Brookes won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2019 with a challenging show that was largely improvised. He is now back with a show that he claims is his most accessible set yet. Jokes worthy of Live at the Apollo are intertwined with Brookes’ trademark existential angst and self-exploration.

Monkey Barrel, August 3 - 28

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Sophie Duker

Duker comes to the Fringe fresh from her victory on Channel 4’s Taskmaster. Those in the know knew she was a rising star before then. Her informed, intelligent comedy won her a Best Newcomer nomination in 2019.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 3 - 28

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Tim Key

Key won the Best Show Award in 2009 and has latterly become an ubiquitous TV face, co-starring with Steve Coogan in various Alan Partridge iterations and recently fronting The Witchfinder. Mulberry is another lockdown show, but if you only see one lockdown show make it this sublime one.

Pleasance Dome, August 3 -17; Pleasance Courtyard, August 18 - 28

 (Matt Stronge)
(Matt Stronge)

Ivo Graham

Everything looked golden for Graham in 2019. He picked up a Best Show nomination and one of his jokes was chosen as a Joke of the Fringe – "I’ve got an Eton College advent calendar, where all the doors are opened by my father’s contacts." During lockdown he unearthed his childhood possessions – My Future, My Clutter is the result.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 3 - 28

Next Big Things

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Isabelle Farah

Isabelle Farah’s Ellipsis was considered by many to be the best show at the pared down 2020 Fringe. This year she reprises it and also premieres Irresponsabelle. The former is about grief, the latter about growing up. See both.

Irresponsabelle, Assembly George Square, August 3 - 28; Ellipsis, Underbelly August 16 - 27

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Sam Nicoresti

The Leicester Square New Comedian of 2021 takes on contemporary politics in his solo show Cancel Anti Wokeflake Snow Culture. Nicoresti has an engaging surreal streak making this a must for lovers of comedy that is daft but also deft.

Banshee Labyrinth, August 6 - 28

 (Matt Crockett)
(Matt Crockett)

Chloe Petts 

It is sometimes hard to tell what an Edinburgh show will be like from an early Fringe preview, but seeing Petts in a cafe in Highgate discussing gender fluidity while punters queued for coffee, it was clear she had something special.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 3 - 28

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Lily Phillips

Phillips once worked as a Disney Princess impersonator but was fired for her feminist rhetoric. Stand-up is probably a better fit for this honest, deadpan Londoner whose comedy takes in her thoughts about pop stars and how she has learnt life lessons from her pet spaniel.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 3 - 28

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Lara Ricote

Ricote, originally from Mexico, won the Funny Women stage award last September and last month shared first prize in the 99 Club’s Edinburgh Bursary showcase. Her Fringe debut is about having an anti-vaxxer parent, moving to Europe and being partially deaf.

Monkey Barrel, August 3 - 28

Wildcards

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Josh Berry

Berry was not even going to do Edinburgh this year, but he played the Monkey Barrel on tour and went down so well they invited him back for three new material sets and three sets as spoof political advisor Rafe Hubris. A Downing Street parody even more comical than the reality.

Monkey Barrel, August 15 - 17

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Rosie Holt 

Holt has become an online star thanks to her rapid response satirical clips in which she plays a nameless (and clueless) politician defending the government’s latest gaffes. She now extends her repertoire playing a whole cast of characters in The Woman’s Hour.

Pleasance Courtyard, August 3 - 29

 (Dylan Woodley)
(Dylan Woodley)

Liz Kingsman

Kingsman’s Soho Theatre run received multiple five star reviews and sold out. If you still haven’t caught this excruciatingly funny multi-layered satire on Fleabag-style feminist comedy your best bet is get to Edinburgh this August.

Traverse Theatre, August 16 - 28

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Joz Norris 

A comedy oddball whose reputation grows every year. Norris gigged in London last week and one audience member tweeted, “Bizarre? In a glorious way.” Which I think means they enjoyed it. In his new subversive show he sets out to make his entire audience blink in unison.

Pleasance Dome, August 3 - 29

 (Steve Ullathorne)
(Steve Ullathorne)

Sugar Coated Sisters 

Siblings Chloe and Tabby Tingey have notched up millions of hits on Tik Tok, and now bring their quickfire comic songs to life onstage in Bittersweet, blending close harmony with songs about mental health and suburban life.

Just The Tonic, August 4 - 28

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