Fife comedy festival offers a month of laughter

Fred MacAulay launches Fife's 2016 comedy festival (Pic: Steve Brown)
Fred MacAulay launches Fife's 2016 comedy festival (Pic: Steve Brown)
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A stand-up comedian, a magician and two giant hippos are in a shopping mall …

Sounds like the intro to a great, if slightly off-the-wall joke ...

But it was the backdrop to the launch of That’s Fife - the Kingdom’s 2016 comedy festival which promises to get us all laughing in April.

It’s the second annual event which has been put together by OnFife and the Gilded Balloon - and it features much more than stand-up comedy.

How about some comedy cooking? Or fancy a bit of magic?

Add in kids’ shows, ventriloquism, photography exhibitions and some movies on the big screen and you can declare April to be the month of mirth.

The festival spans four towns - Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Glenrothes and St Andrews - and brings together a host of big names, from Ed Byrne to Chris Ramsay, Ardal O’Hanlon, Nina Conti, Tom Stade, and Fred MacAulay.

And it was the broadcaster and stand-up who found himself astride a multi-coloured fibre glass hippo to help launch the 2016 festival.

Fred was joined by comedy magician Kevin McMahon, a Fifer, to kick-start the countdown to April’s LOL-fest.

Browsing the brochure, he said: ‘’It’s a great festival - there’s people performing here I’d go and see.’’

One of the names which jumped out of the pages was Ardal O’Hanlon, the star of Father Ted.

Just days earlier, Fred had found a picture of him and Ardal at the Melbourne Festival taken some two decades ago - underlining how the travels of stand-ups criss-cross at events around the globe.

So who would a comedian recommend you go and see?

He picks out Nina Conti - the ventriloquist who creates a new show every night using volunteers from the audience - and Zoe Lyons, one of the rising stars of the Scottish circuit who has now made the ’Live At The Apollo’ breakthrough.

And from the up and coming ranks, he notes the name of Al Porter.

‘’It’s really a great mix and festivals need that,’’ he said. ‘’Zoe is one of the strongest stand-ups on the circuit right now and starting to get the recognition she deserves. She was the ‘comedians’ comedian’ award winner.

‘’And Nina is someone who is just outstanding. Rock solid and I guarantee you will laugh - for speed of thought on stage she is un-matchable.’’

Fred’s own festival contribution consists of two shows - one at the Byre with his touring show, ‘Life’ and a slot at the gala show at Rothes Halls in the company of, among others, Grant Stott.

He promises a mix of material.

‘’I always go to the Glasgow Comedy Festival in March and aim to have something new there.

‘’Then it’s the Fringe in Edinburgh in August where you have a new hour of material.

‘’I’m out on the road so it’ll be interesting to see how it all shapes up - the set is always getting refreshed.’’

His aim, as always, is simply to enjoy the sound of laughter.

‘’A lot of comedians to great satirical, political work which is great, and if there is a style I admire, then that is it, but, for me, I like nothing better than roaring with laughter for an hour, and coming out of a show saying ‘that was great!’

Maybe one of this belly laughs will include a which starts off, a stand-up, a magician and two hippos were in the Kingdom centre ...’’

Full festival details and ticket info can be found at OnFife