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Facilitators of Mirth

Jonny Awsum's 4 O'Clock Club

Jonny Awsum has been entertaining the nation each day at 4 o’clock, on Facebook Live, with his children’s show: The 4 O’ Clock Club!

The show is a fantastic 20 minutes of Jonny performing his very special feel-good brand of musical comedy, responding to comments from his captivated audience, doing shout outs to his supporters, playing games, and challenging our very own Production Manger, Ollie Downton each day, with a ridiculous task, suggested by the audience.

The ‘Four O’ Clock Rockers' have also been treated to the adventures of a naughty fraggle who has been causing mischief, Wild Wilbur, a choose your own adventure book, and plenty of classic Jonny Awsum songs, live.

Every episode is available to watch back on Jonny’s Facebook page, or you can join him LIVE online at 4pm! It’s the epitome of family fun, and exactly what the nation needs whilst we strive to entertain the kids each day on lockdown. With all comedy gigs cancelled for the foreseeable future, Jonny is determined to continue performing. People can support him by donating to his Virtual Bucket. There’s no obligation to contribute, but if his antics have given you a laugh, and viewers can afford to make a contribution, he’s extremely grateful. The show has been so popular, it even has its own t-shirt, available online from Nippaz with Attitude

NWA is a fiercely independent company run by Ian Mclaren, who’s background in the music business has created an awesome brand, making the UK's coolest baby and kids gifts. He describes himself as having an unhealthy obsession with typography, sarcasm, irony and bad puns..

Celebrity supporters over the years have included Stella McCartney, Chuck D, David Beckham, Noel Gallagher, Fearne Cotton, Damon Albarn, Madonna, Russell Crowe, Jaime Winston and Reese Witherspoon.

Jonny has also performed a show at 9pm, for the adults, which has been just as popular, and a welcome relief for people trapped in their homes and missing being part of a comedy club audience.

Jonny Awsum's 4 O'Clock Club Jonny Awsum's 4 O'Clock Club

News story posted on 08-04-2020 12:00

Ben Hart launches 'The Darkest Corners'

Ben Hart and Neil Kelso have launched their new book The Darkest Corners, filled with creativity and wisdom, earned from hundreds of performances.

Readers will learn Ben's signature piece, in which a signed silk appears in a peach, a trick with a real Venus Flytrap, and the best lottery prediction we've ever encountered. You'll learn several effects you can perform... over the radio. And you'll learn how to make an egg appear from a scrap of paper.

It’s a book very much created for magicians, teaching his approach to magic, some of his tricks and advanced theory. Sadly this one isn’t for us ‘muggles’ or non magicians though.

Described as ‘Beautiful, clear and thought-provoking’ by Vanishing Magic, you can watch the books trailer, and pre-order your copy now, here

The Darkest Corners is the rarest kind of magic book, in that it focuses entirely on finished parlor effects. Ben Hart is a sensation in the UK: a finalist on Britain's Got Talent, a perennial sellout at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and a featured touring artist around UK theaters. The Darkest Corners features the very best routines from those shows. Ben's methods and material selection take inspiration from magic's past, yet his presentations are modern and enticing. It's a blend that fits together perfectly to create intriguing presentations for highly-deceptive effects.

You'll also learn effects that can be performed on the radio that sound like real magic, a trick using a real Venus Fly Trap, techniques for using video projection in a stage show, and much more. Everything is described in complete detail and author Neil Kelso helps tease out what makes Ben such a dynamic performer.

The book itself is beautiful: 300 pages with over 250 large full-colour photographs, with a unique gorgeous cover.

"When it comes to a magician who really gets every nuance and detail it takes to create a real magic experience for his audience, Ben Hart is a master, well before his time! I personally find his performances inspiring and I might have to just buy every copy of this book personally as the secrets are too good I wanna keep them for myself. One of my faves of 2020 by far!" Dynamo

"If you are looking for original, creative and theatrical material along with a superb understanding of how to present it then you’ll find it in The Darkest Corners. What a glorious and stunning work of our art this is. Highly RecommendedNick Einhorn

Ben Hart just might be the best magician working today. I know that’s high praise, but in my defence, I’ve seen him perform. A lot. Close-up, stand-up, cabaret, stage, mind-reading, live and pre-recorded TV, he does it all. And he does it flawlessly. Of course, he’s not just a performer. He’s also an inventor, a historian, a technician, a writer and a storyteller. And ALL of these skills are brought to bear in this extraordinary new book. Highest recommendation.Mark Elsdon

Ben Hart launches 'The Darkest Corners' Ben Hart launches 'The Darkest Corners'

News story posted on 07-04-2020 18:00

John Robertson to host a marathon session of The Dark Room for charity

Multi-media performer John Robertson is to host a marathon session of his anarchic, interactive, live-action videogame comedy The Dark Room, with some very special guests.

The Dark Room - welcome to the world’s only live-action, text-based adventure game. It’s strange, insane and addictive. It’s a comedy night, a gameshow and a pantomime all in one. John has been performing the show on tour, and at the Fringe for eight years, setting impossibly tough challenges for the audience members, charged with escaping from a dark room without succumbing to any of the myriad ways of dying a gruesome death.

How do you play? The audience is trapped in a retro videogame with a sadistic end-of-level boss. Choose your options, survive the abuse simulator that is the improv comedy overlord John Robertson, and escape to win £1000 – or, be brutally murdered by the rest of the crowd!

Now, will you: A) Find the Light Switch / B) Go North? / C) Abandon Hope?

This high-octane show is the brainchild of comedian & cult leader John Robertson. Filled with stand-up, appalling prizes and more audience chanting than you’d get at a protest – it’s a gut-busting rock n’ roll experience for everyone involved. John has performed The Dark Room to crowds of thousands at comedy and gaming festivals around the world. Most recently: Insomnia Gaming Festival, London Film & ComicCon, Sci-Fi Weekender, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FringeWorld Perth, Leeds International Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest AND a monthly residency in London at the prestigious Soho Theatre.

"Will have you crying with laughter"
– Broadway Baby

 

"One of the most innovative and original comedy shows around"
– Manchester Evening News

 

Robertson feels that as usually only works an hour each night, it’s nothing compared to the shifts currently being worked by NHS staff, dealing with coronavirus and mental health workers helping process the fallout from a world pandemic.

Over Easter weekend 2020, in honour of the doctors, nurses, support workers and admin staff pulling 12 hour shifts, and the emotional labour done by their families, Robertson will present online 48 hours of The Dark Room.

The event, which starts at 11am on April 10th and runs until 11am on April 12th, will be hosted on twitch.tv/Robbotron – anyone with an internet connection can come and play the world’s largest live-action videogame – and donate money to NHS Charities Together and MIND - the mental health charity.

Get in the chat, and pick options on the screen to go on a massive interactive adventure that involves crap prizes, special guests and getting roasted by an increasingly exhausted man pretending he’s a videogame boss.

He’s billing it as ‘a physical challenge from the laziest profession to honour the ones working the hardest’.

It’s a stupid idea for a good cause,’ he told Comedy website Chortle. ‘And with Edinburgh Fringe being cancelled, I thought I’d condense everything I do in that month-long festival into two days. Except crying and throwing up, which will probably also happen.

"It’s a stupid idea for an excellent cause"
– John Robertson

 
John Robertson to host a marathon session of The Dark Room for charity

News story posted on 07-04-2020 12:00

Gag Reflex welcomes Alice Fraser

Gag Reflex are very pleased to welcome Alice Fraser to our Live roster this week. Alice is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, performer and comedian. She performs reliably silly, unpredictably meaningful, narratively unorthodox, gut-punch comedy.

"Her stand-up is poignant and gut-punchingly funny... Alice Fraser’s a total star in her own right”
– ★★★★★The Herald Sun

 

She is a full time comedian and writer, and she has performed all over the world, from Cambridge to New York, and from London to Damascus, to universal critical acclaim.

"Raw Supersmart Hilarity”
Cosmopolitan Magazine

 

Alice's breadth of experience from the hallowed halls of Cambridge in the Footlights to the sticky floors of New York's cut-throat comedy scene has left her with tough, flexible and impressive writing and performing skills.

Her sold out solo shows have been performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, Canberra Comedy Festival, Perth, Adelaide, New Zealand and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.

Her shows are available to watch on Amazon Prime Video Australia (Savage), and on Next Up Comedy (Ethos and The Resistance)

"incisive, dextrous hour of compelling storytelling: the way she brings characters to vivid life, then resolves their narratives to a bigger picture”
Chortle

 

"This is stand-up like you’ve never seen it before. Wonderfully funny and devastatingly poignant, Savage is a show that really could change the world, or at least the way you choose to see it”
– ★★★★ Broadway Baby

 

Alice has given a TEDx Talk about vanity in the face of death, debated the power of the media against Julian Assange at Splendour in the Grass and once did a gig in a Butcher’s shop next to a rotating meat display that was much more stressful than either of those things.

Alice has been involved in a number of Podcasts, including 'The Bugle' and ‘The Trilogy’, which was voted Best Australian Podcast of 2018. Her 'Tea with Alice’ Podcast, is extremely popular, every week this chronic thinker, comedian, ex lawyer and Cambridge graduate drinks tea and solves the world, with a rotating cast of bright and brilliant guests.

Gag Reflex welcomes Alice Fraser

News story posted on 06-04-2020 12:00

Cosmic Shambles Stay at Home Festival

Cosmic Shambles have created the #ShamblesStayatHomeFest, which has seen some excellent line ups, beamed directly into your home, via youtube.

‘It is stating the obvious to say that strange days have got a hell of a lot stranger with many people facing confusion and anxiety during this COVID-19 pandemic. Artists have nowhere to play and audiences have nowhere to go to to be distracted. Venues are having to close, gigs are having to be cancelled and festivals abandoned. And so we, at The Cosmic Shambles Network, proudly present The Stay at Home Festival.

We will be live streaming pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day, some of our top podcasts like Book Shambles and Science Shambles as well as presenting mixed bill comedy nights and conversations all without anyone leaving their home. It’s fair to say it might be a bit rough and ready in places but that’s where we’re at with things.’

Their shows are free to watch, however there is a virtual bucket, where you can donate, and shows are available online afterwards, in case you missed one. All profits will go direct to acts and artists who have been hit hardest by having their livelihood taken away.

‘hopefully this will go some way to bringing some happiness and helping out artists too. Enjoy.’

Worth catching up in particular on are the following shows, featuring Gag Reflex clients ofcourse!

Ed Byrne, Lost Voice Guy, Suzi Gage, Robin Ince & Josie Long

Robin Ince, Josie long, Russell Kane, Mat Ricardo and Bar Jungr

 

Cosmic Shambles Stay at Home Festival

News story posted on 06-04-2020 11:00

2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe announcement

1st April, 2020.

Today the Fringe Society have announced – alongside their sister festivals in Edinburgh – that the Edinburgh Festival Fringe will not go ahead as planned in 2020. 

'The idea of Edinburgh without a Fringe in August is not something any of us want to entertain and our thoughts go out to all of you that were planning on bringing shows this summer. Ultimately, however, we’ve come to this decision with the health and safety of Fringe participants, staff, residents and audiences firmly in mind. The decision was not ours alone nor was it taken lightly, but due to the present circumstances it was the only sensible option.

We will be offering a full refund of the registration fee to participants who have already registered for this year and will share details of how to claim your refund as soon as we can.'

From Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Fringe Society;

'Just a few months ago, the idea of Edinburgh without the Fringe and our sister festivals would have been totally unthinkable; now, like so many other aspects of our day-to-day lives, we must pause and take stock in the face of something far bigger. 

Our hearts go out to the doctors, nurses, health and social care professionals on the front line, to everyone working to keep the country going, and to those who have been directly affected by this pandemic. Your courage in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all. 

My thoughts too are with the many thousands of artists, writers, producers, reviewers, venues and backstage crew whose careers have been put on hold over the past month or so. We know today’s decision will be a difficult one for many, but please know that we will continue to be here for you and will do everything we can to support you in the weeks and months ahead.

Today’s decision that the Fringe will not go ahead as planned was not taken lightly. We have spent the past month listening to a broad cross-section of Fringe participants, as well as to government, healthcare professionals, residents and many more; however, in light of present circumstances it was unavoidable. Public health must and always will come first.

We are working hard to mitigate the impact of this decision on Fringe artists and audience members. Today we are committing to refunding all participant registration fees, as well as refunding the Fringe tickets and Friends memberships purchased by our audience members. We are also offering participants who have already paid the alternative of rolling their show registration forward to the 2021 Fringe to cover an equivalent show listing. Our thanks in particular here go out to our sponsors and partners, without whose long-term commitment to the Fringe none of this would have been possible. 

Financially this has not been straightforward – as the small charity that underpins the Fringe we receive very little public subsidy – but we believe that offering refunds is the right thing to do and will turn this around as quickly as possible. There will also be an option to donate all or part of your purchase to support artists and the work of the Fringe Society, but this will of course be entirely optional. 

Whilst the Fringe and its sister festivals may not be able to provide a stage in the same way as before this summer, we are committed to working with artists and creatives from Edinburgh, Scotland and across the world to find new ways of uniting people under a Fringe umbrella. It’s too early to say what this will look like, but we are confident that as a collective we can find a way to reach through the walls that currently surround us and inspire, cheer and connect. 

The performing arts have an important role to play in providing a prism through which to process and understand the multiple traumas of this pandemic. Art has always helped shape and reshape how we think of ourselves, and will help now to pull through the threads that unite us as human beings in a globally shared experience.

From its earliest beginnings in 1947, the Fringe has provided a totally uncensored platform for artists from all backgrounds, cultures and perspectives to tell their story and shape their own worlds. As we try to adapt in the face of an all-encompassing global emergency, this spirit of shared storytelling and open dialogue feels more important than ever. 

We look forward to seeing you in Edinburgh in 2021. In the meantime, look after each other and stay safe.'

 

News story posted on 01-04-2020 12:00

Up For It - Series 2 for BBC Scotland

Three of Scotland’s most popular comedians are back for another series of challenges and banter on BBC Scotland's 'Up For It'.

Ashley Storrie, Rosco McClelland, and Christopher Macarthur Boyd have been busy before lockdown, taking on new activities that test not only their mental and physical skills, but also tests their friendship, as they sort out the winners and the losers in a search to find who is Up For It?

In this series can Christopher surpass Series 1 and actually come out on top at anything they try – he’ll give it his best shot despite his “supposed” chums’ put downs?

In episode 1, they visit master baker Lilly Macleod at Lilly Bakes Cakes in attempt to come up with the perfect cake for a real wedding. Ashley goes traditional, Rosco goes provocative and Christopher produces a sentimental tribute to the end of days being single with a gravestone creation. So, will they get them to the wedding in one piece and which one will the bride pick as the cake for the big day?

The three try their own version of Car Pool Karaoke where they take it in turns to do their strongman (& woman) routine, as they physically pull a flat bed truck, whilst the other two sing karaoke full pelt

The series continues over the following 5 weeks, when they try their hands at being gymnasts, teppanyaki chefs, mixologists with some unorthodox cocktails, golfers, and visit a cowboy ranch in Aberdeenshire to learn cowboy skills. Finally, they become “Dance Bums” and give Strictly a run for its money before trying “The Still Game” as human statues - who can stay completely still with the other two clowning around?

Will they still be friends after that lot?

Up For It is broadcast on the 2nd April at 11pm, on BBC Scotland