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Facilitators of Mirth

Rosco McClelland talks to the Scotsman

Rosco McClelland chatted to The Scotsman;

‘When comedian Rosco McClelland began his Edinburgh Fringe run last year he had no idea the month would contain the worst day of his life.

Halfway through his sell-out run fiancée Linzi was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and the former Scottish Comedian of the Year had to consider whether he should cancel the show or carry on.

Glaswegian Rosco, 30, went into August expecting news about his fiancée’s health – Linzi, 32, was under investigation for a neck lump but he was optimistic of a good outcome. Then, as he exited the Gilded Balloon one weekday afternoon, he received a call that would change his life.

He said: “Linzi called after a show and just started crying. I knew right away it wasn’t good news. When she said the lump was cancerous I just couldn’t believe I wasn’t there with her. I thought about ending the Fringe right there, cancelling the rest of the shows but Linzi told me to stay there and keep doing what I’m doing.”

Rosco doesn’t regret carrying on with the show but worried about other people’s reactions. He said: “I wouldn’t care if I had a bad show because of what happened, that’s my fault for choosing to be there. I did worry that my in-laws, my parents or friends would think I was a bad person for carrying on. Thankfully everyone was understanding and supportive of the decision.”

Fortunately, Linzi’s cancer was contained to the thyroid and she didn’t need any further treatment beyond an operation to remove the gland. The couple married in December 2018, meaning they had the best and worst days of their lives within mere months of each other. Comedian’s often grapple with mortality in their work and the story of what happened last year will feature in new show Magic Belly.

Rosco took a lot of things into consideration when deciding to come back to the Fringe this year. Edinburgh would forever be associated with bad news and the Gilded Balloon itself a reminder of the devasting day. He said: “I absolutely love the Gilded Balloon staff and the venue but it will always remind me of that horrible moment and I needed a bit of breathing space so have moved to Monkey Barrel this year.”

After an expensive 2018 with the Fringe and a wedding to pay for Rosco’s hoping to make some money or at least breakeven at the festival this year and couldn’t imagine giving up the chance to perform at the Fringe. He said: “I think as a Scottish act it’s insane to not take part in the biggest arts festival in the world when it arrives on your doorstep. People come from all over the world to perform and watch shows and it almost seems rude to pass up that opportunity.”

Rosco featured in the BBC Scotland show Up For It with fellow comics and friends Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Ashley Storrie earlier this year which has led to more career opportunities outside of stand-up. This has eased the pressure somewhat for this years show and allowed the comedian to make Magic Belly fun and silly, rather than something worthy to pander to awards judges or TV executives.

The show promises to be different every day, with the stand-up having almost two hours of material to choose from. The show will also feature props, Rosco explains:

"The audience get to throw rubber bricks at me, there’s a lot of visual pieces which I love to do. A lot of nonsense, fun
Rosco McClelland


After the year he’s had, you can’t blame McClelland for wanting to indulge in a bit of nonsense.’

See Rosco in action in 'Magic Belly' at Monkey Barrel 5, 16:35 daily (except 12 August)

Rosco McClelland talks to the Scotsman Rosco McClelland talks to the Scotsman

News story posted on 04-08-2019 16:00

Mat Ricardo....... on AGT?!

Mat Ricardo has previously been unenthusiastic about the rise of talent shows, and often been pretty vocal about his opinions. So when viewers saw him auditioning on arguably the worlds largest talent show on Tuesday night, America’s Got Talent on NBC, to 11 million viewers across the United States, a certain amount of surprise was understandably registered.

Mat’s main concern has been that the only viable place on television to see variety artists perform is in a competitive format. He has never lambasted performers who chose to appear on these shows, believing that everyone makes their own choices; he respects the hustle. It just wasn’t his hustle.

How then, did he find himself in Los Angeles, walking through the ever impressive Universal studio lot, smiling into the blue steel abyss of Simon Cowells gaze, this Spring?

Artistically, he had a white hot new act to show off; a cool, fun and fairly bulletproof trick that he suspected would work really well on the worlds largest stage. And once you suspect something like that, well, the temptation is hard to ignore, right?

Also, curiosity feels like a decent enough motivator for adventures, and he was curious.

The main reason, was 2018’s new one-man Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, “Mat Ricardo vs The World”, created by releasing a viral video 12 months previously, in which Mat bet everyone in the world that he could learn any skill or challenge that they dared him to, then spent a year learning as many as possible, which created the show.

The show was critically acclaimed, and arguably his best work to date

"Undoubtedly one of the greatest variety artists at work today, Mat Ricardo is an outstanding juggler and much more beside.. It makes for another great show from a master of his form" – ★★★★The Scotsman
Read the full review here


"When you’re considered the best at what you do, some of us might rest on our laurels but Mat Ricardo wants (indeed, needs) new challenges.. The skill he has mastered above all others is that of the showman.. Mat Ricardo is often described as the best variety act in the business and deservedly so" – ★★★★★Broadway Baby
Read the full review here


"A portrait of raw endeavour." – ★★★★★Fringe Guru
Read the full review here


Every single night Mat would show a collection of some of the craziest, most un-learnable, insane challenges he received. And each night, one would stand out – a tweet challenging him to appear on AGT. It soon became pretty clear, what he had to do.

"I had to answer the challenge. I had to walk into the belly of the beast, I had to make a leap of faith. I was a clown walking toward a banana skin, knowing it might hurt, but that it would almost certainly be entertaining
Mat Ricardo


So off he went to Los Angeles, to blow away the Producers with his never ending wit, charm and skill. He aced the audition, naturally, with a trick involving the legend that is Terry Crews, and received a well deserved standing ovation. Onto Judges Cuts a short time later, and Mat performed his best known trick – the tablecloth pull, and so much more. The judges loved him, but under the immense number of talented acts, all vying for those coveted places, he didn’t make it further. The experience was massively varied, an eye opener in many ways, and something we will never forget. Mr Ricardo, you did yourself proud.

Extracts of Mat's blog have been taken to create this piece - read Mat's full blog post about being on the show, here

Want to see Mat LIVE in person at this years Edinburgh Festival Fringe? You're in luck! Ticket links and full info, here.

Mat Ricardo....... on AGT?! Mat Ricardo....... on AGT?!

News story posted on 25-07-2019 15:00

Comedy Poster Awards

The Comedy Poster Awards are back for the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, and Gag Reflex have five excellent entries this year.

★★Vote for Lost Voice Guy: I'm Only in It for the Parking, here★★

Lee Ridley performs at the Museum, Gilded Balloon, Sun 11th to Sun 25th Aug at 7.30pm

★★Vote for Matt Stellingwerf: Sisyphus, here★★

Matt performs at the Las Vegas Room, City Café, Thurs 31st July to Sun 25th Aug at 4.15pm

★★Vote for Rosco McClelland: Magic Belly, here★★

Rosco performs at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, Thurs 1st to Sun 25 Aug at 4.35pm

★★Vote for Vikki Stone: Song Bird, here★★

Vikki performs at Beneath, Pleasance Courtyard, Wed 31st July to Sun 25th Aug 2019 at 7pm

★★Vote for Matt Parker: Humble Pi, here★★

Matt performs at 10 Dome, Pleasance Dome, 31st Jul to 25th Aug at 8.20pm

With hundreds of acts, and hundreds of thousands of potential customers coming to the Fringe, having a strong, funny, informative, or entertaining poster has become a vital marketing tactic for comedians to get bums on seats.

Recognising the best in comedy artwork and poster design on show at the Edinburgh Festival, two prizes are handed out annually: the Audience Award, voted for by the public on their dedicated website; and the Panel Award, decided upon by a panel of industry figures. 

First taking place in 2014, this competition was established by TV and live comedy producer Gina Lyons to celebrate the most popular and loved designs in poster artwork at the Fringe: from the idea, to the photo, to the finished artwork.

The CPA’s look to shout about and celebrate the hard graft that goes into perfecting the art of poster design, ideas and photography.

Browse the entries and vote for your favourites, here. Voting closes at 5pm on 17th August 2019, and results will be announced at a ceremony at the Gilded Balloon's Patter Hoose venue on Saturday 17th August.

Previous winners have included Lou Sanders, Olaf Falafel, Desiree Burch and Tom Parry.