Sofie Hagen and Scottee: ‘Fat should be something you flaunt’

The comedian and her artist-activist friend have teamed up for Hamburger Queen, a beauty pageant that celebrates fatnessA few months ago, I went to see a show and when I got to my seat, I sat down. Or rather, I tried to sit down. I realised quite quick…

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Billy Connolly announces retirement from live performance

Comedian also rejects suggestions that Parkinson’s disease has ‘dulled’ his brainBilly Connolly has announced that after a half-century career in standup, music, film and television he is retiring from live performing.The news came in an interview wher…

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Wanda Sykes on why she had to quit Roseanne – but still has empathy for its star

When Roseanne Barr wrote a racist tweet, the comedian walked off the show – and 90 minutes later it was cancelled. She talks about the furore, coming out and being booed by Trump fansThe last time Wanda Sykes was booed was four days after Donald Trump …

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Theresa May drag queens: ‘We’ve dined out on her leopard-print heels for years!’

Hard Brexit innuendos, frolics in fields of wheat, that strong and stable obsession … four drag queens reveal why the prime minister is camp gold

Sue Gives a Fuck

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Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse review – tomboy tales and top-notch jokes

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
The LGBTQ+ standup twists gender into new shapes in a fringe debut that feels like a great intro to a fresh comic personality

Should we be disowning words like “boys” and “girls” – or broadening what those words are allowed to mean? Sarah Keyworth is in an interesting position to discuss the question. She’s LGBTQ+, even if she seldom lingers beyond the first letter. As a solo-show debutante, nominated for best newcomer at the Comedy awards, she’s part of generation pulling gender into new shapes. And her adolescence was blighted by bullying because she didn’t conform to stereotypes of what a girl should be.

Such is the stuff of Dark Horse – a maiden fringe hour that (as per convention) sets out Keyworth’s stall, but without a hint of navel-gazing. For that, we’ve got Roly to thank – he’s one of two well-heeled children she’s nannied for the last four years. Latterly, Roly emerges as the show’s subject and star, as Keyworth sees her mafia levels of infant confidence eroded by the pressure never to be “bossy”, far less a “slut”. Like Cora Bissett’s What Girls Are Made Of, Dark Horse is determined to let girls fearlessly be girls. Keyworth risks overarticulating the point, and there’s no need: her show could scarcely be better constructed to express it.

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Rosie Jones: ‘People feel awkward about disability so I always have jokes in my back pocket’

The Bridlington-born standup is at Edinburgh with her debut show. She talks about surprising audiences, her sitcom and how her cerebral palsy lets her push boundaries

How would you describe your sense of humour?

I’m very cheeky. Because of my disability, I know how to push things and I know where the line is. I can probably push that line further than a lot of able-bodied comics. I enjoy playing with what is comfortable, and trying to make people be more open and more willing to see past the disability.

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Rosie Jones: ‘People feel awkward about disability so I always have jokes in my back pocket’

The Bridlington-born standup is at Edinburgh with her debut show. She talks about surprising audiences, her sitcom and how her cerebral palsy lets her push boundaries

How would you describe your sense of humour?

I’m very cheeky. Because of my disability, I know how to push things and I know where the line is. I can probably push that line further than a lot of able-bodied comics. I enjoy playing with what is comfortable, and trying to make people be more open and more willing to see past the disability.

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Booze, bankruptcy, brain haemorrhage: the comics turning tragedy into laughs

A former alcoholic, a cancer survivor and a man who lost all his money in a Bitcoin crash are among the comics coming back from the brink at the Edinburgh fringe

I didn’t start drinking until I was 18,” says Matt Rees. “That’s quite a rarity for someone in the UK. But straight away, I recognised that I liked it – and I knew that one day I’d have to stop.”

Rees, who was born in Maesteg, south Wales, is making his debut at this year’s Edinburgh fringe with Happy Hour, a look back at his battle with alcohol. He started performing in 2010 and quickly scooped up some new act awards. Then, two years ago, his comedy career stalled as he experienced problems with addiction.

‘It’s normal to go on stage after a few pints, and it’s fine to be hungover the next day. Someone with a normal job would’ve been fired’

Related: 50 shows to see at the Edinburgh fringe 2018

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Can you do comedy about rape? Natalie Palamides thinks so

The LA comic, who won best newcomer at last year’s Edinburgh fringe, has tested her electric new material on American audiences. But how will Nate – her ‘douchebag’ male alter ego – go down in Britain?

We should know, after last year, to expect the unexpected from Natalie Palamides. Who could have foreseen that the buzziest comedy in 2017 would come from an unknown LA actor making performance art about fertility, parental anxiety and eggs? But so it proved. In a blizzard of yolk and shattered shells, her show Laid wowed Edinburgh and poached the Comedy award for best newcomer. So we should have been braced for more surprises. But this? A cross-dressing comedy show for the #MeToo era that workshops, with audience participation, the idea of consent?

The show is called Nate, after a male character the 28-year-old has played since college. “He does come off as a douchebag, as we say in America,” says Palamides, speaking by phone from Los Angeles, where she has been developing the show with her director, the cult clown and previous Edinburgh Comedy award champ Doctor Brown. “At first you think Nate’s a jerk,” she adds. “But people warm to him because he’s sweet – a sweet lovable idiot.”

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Paul Mayhew-Archer: ‘I want to show people with Parkinson’s can do comedy

The writer of The Vicar of Dibley and Mrs Brown’s Boys discusses the funny side of living with the illness and his new Edinburgh show, Incurable Optimist

“Good news,” the comedy writer Paul Mayhew-Archer likes to say of the moment he learned he had Parkinson’s disease. “The neurologist said I could expect five good years.” There is, of course, some bad news too. “The diagnosis was seven years ago.” “You find it quite difficult to smile, don’t you?” the neurologist said to him at that fateful meeting. “Well, that could be because you just told me I’ve got Parkinson’s,” Mayhew-Archer replied.

It’s tempting to fill this entire article with Mayhew-Archer’s gags about his Parkinson’s. The fact that it takes him so long to fumble for his wallet that he never has to pay for a drink in a pub. Or the irritation that all his limbs get stiffer except for the one he’d occasionally like to get stiff. Immediately after his diagnosis, he decided he could either laugh or cry about Parkinson’s. He chose to laugh, and is now taking the one-man show he’s developed around the disease to the Edinburgh festival.

I have more difficulty getting out of the bath. On the other hand, I quite like being in the bath

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