Comedy Fringe

‘Balance of talent and disaster’: Late’n’live review

Late’n’live has earned itself quite the reputation. A show that starts at 1am, a booze-soaked crowd are entertained by equally inebriated comics for four hours of chaos. Many a famous comedian has paid their dues here: Russell Brand, Johnny Vegas, Zoe Lyons, Jason Byrne, Russell Howard and Shappi Khorsandi to name a few. The madness that the early hours of the morning bring breeds some raucous laughs and brilliant banter with would-be hecklers. However, it also allows for moments of utter disgust and stunts that reek of desperation. The balance of talent and disaster is entirely dependent on the night. 

The MC of this final Friday night of the Fringe was Scott Gibson. Having been a Late’n’live host for the past six years, he has been allowed to book six acts of his own choosing. The first four comics are well-picked: Colin Geddis, Harriet Dyer, Micky Barlett and Aaron McCann are very entertaining and funny, skilfully winding up and bantering with the crowd as they saw fit as well as getting through their own scripted material. 

The fifth comic started his set by stating that he had taken far too many drugs that day. For his sake, I hope that this was the explanation for his set. Performing acts on the stage that should never be seen, partly because they are horrible and partly because they are just not entertaining. During David Correos’ 15-minute set, roughly half of the crowd departed. This left a severely depleted audience for the final act, the novelty that was Zach & Viggo. The pair did the best they could do rewarm the crowd, but it was an uphill battle.

Following roughly two hours of stand-up (bringing the time to 3am-ish), a DJ then starts up for dancing through to 5am. Although raucous, the environment was not unlike that of any other club that stays open until a similar time. 

The set-up of Late’n’live is, for the most part, the same as the majority of stand-up shows except for one key element. An arch of purple spotlights adorns the back of the stage, which light up between each act. Angled properly, this would not be a notable feature at all. Unfortunately, these lights are perfectly pointed so that they brightly shine directly into the audience’s eyes between each set. Whether this is to wake up the crowd in the early hours of the morning, rile up potential hecklers or just add to the madness of the event, they were not a positive addition.

Late’n’live is doubtlessly a Fringe creation. It challenges comics to give a ride-or-die performance, and for many, it’s an opportunity for greatness. For some, however, it is a great opportunity for a great fall. It is worth going for the sake of the spectacle and to honour the tradition, but prepare yourself for what you’re stepping into.


Late’n’live is on at Gilded Ballon Teviot – Debating Hall

At 1:00 until 26th August

Book tickets here


Image: Steve Ullathorne


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