8 of the most exciting debuts at Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Take note now, before you struggle to get tickets.

One of the best things about the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is that feeling you get when you watch someone at the very start of what's clear will be a long career in comedy. I've had that feeling before with the likes of James Acaster and Lolly Adefope, but who are the next generation of comedians you'll find difficult to avoid in the coming years?

I've trawled through this year's Fringe listings and picked 8 of the most exciting comedians making their hour-long debut at this year's festival...

Grace Campbell

Why I'm Never Going Into Politics

Credit: Amelia Allen

As the title of her debut hour might suggest, Grace Campbell is indeed the daughter of former Press Secretary for Downing Street, Alistair Campbell. However eagle-eyed Channel 4 viewers might recognise her as one of the four up-and-coming comedians who starred in hidden camera prank show pilot Riot Girls in May 2018. Aside from comedy, Grace is one of the co-founders of The Pink Protest, a community of activists committed to engaging in action and supporting each other.

On her third birthday, Tony Blair won his first general election and because her father was his spokesman and campaign director, Grace split a lot of her childhood between the local state school she attended in North London and Downing Street.

Now at the age of 25, her debut Edinburgh show is Grace's opportunity to explain to audiences why her childhood and experiences as a young activist, mean she’ll never consider a career in Westminster. Promising to talk about her vagina, mental health in Parliament and hanging out with Putin’s kids, Why I'm Never Going Into Politics is one show not to be missed!

Gilded Balloon Teviot (Wee Room), 31st July - 26th August (not 13th) at 3:15pm. Book tickets here.


Helen Bauer

Little Miss Baby Angel Face

In 2018, Helen Bauer was part of the Pleasance Comedy Reserve which meant she was able to share the bill at the Pleasance Dome with three other up-and-coming comedians hand-picked by The Pleasance. It's also that year that she was nominated for the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year and became a finalist for BBC's New Comedy Award.

Before all that, Helen was a Semi-Finalist in So You Think You’re Funny in 2016, came runner-up for the Max Turner Prize in 2017 and was a Regional Finalist in 2017 for Funny Women. But 2019 is set to be her year as she brings her debut hour, Little Miss Baby Angel Face, to the Pleasance Courtyard.

An hour which promises to be an exploration of Helen’s love for tragic situations and the competitive relationship she has with her Mum. She will also dissect the current climate for Reality TV shows and especially ‘make over’ shows which are her passion and discuss her own paranoia that she is living in the Truman Show!

Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), 31st July - 25th August (not 14th) at 6pm. Book tickets here.


Jack Gleadow

Mr Saturday Night

In 2018, local lad from Hull, Jack Gleadow was also part of the Pleasance Comedy Reserve which meant he was able to share the bill at the Pleasance Dome with three other up-and-coming comedians hand-picked by The Pleasance. It's also that year that he was named Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year.

Before that he was runner-up at Leicester Square Theatre's Comedian of the Year competition and runner-up at Chortles Student Comedy Awards and was named Hull Comedian of the Year in 2016. But 2019 is already shaping up to be a great year for Jack as his debut solo Edinburgh run follows recent nominations for Chortle's Best Newcomer and Leicester Comedy Festival's Best New Show.

Taking influence from the likes of Norman Wisdom, Bruce Forsyth and Lee Evans, Jack's debut hour Mr Saturday Night is a love letter to the entertainers of the past and comedy’s traditional beginnings with Saturday night TV that had something for everyone. It details his unique story of growing up and falling in love with performing all told through sounds, stories and jokes... and even a scooter!

Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Below), 31st July - 25th August (not 12th) at 5:45pm. Book tickets here.


Kelly Convey

Telephone Voice

If you're a fan of First Dates (and who isn't?) then you might recognise Kelly Convey as the comedian who went on a date in 2017 only to be told by her date that being a comedian "isn't a fucking job", that "men are funnier" and that female comedians are often "quite fat and unattractive". You won't be shocked to hear that there wasn't a second date.

Within the first six months of pursuing a career in comedy, Kelly reached the final of So You Think You're Funny? in 2016, in less than twelve months she had signed to Off The Kerb who also look after Jack Dee, Jo Brand and Michael McIntyre and in 2017 was nominated for Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year.

As well as tour support for Alan Carr and Russell Kane, Kelly is determined to make 2019 her year as she heads to Edinburgh with her debut hour Telephone Voice, which sees her travel back in time to her errant teenage years, through her high-flying twenties as an executive, right up to the life-changing decision to become a comedian in her thirties.

Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker One), 31st July - 25th August (not 14th) at 7pm. Book tickets here.


Michael Odewale