News & Reviews

About Us

Performers Area

Press & Media Area





Jul 2016
S M T W Th F S
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Aug 2016
S M T W Th F S
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
All Shows by Name
All Shows by Start Time



Venue:Cabaret Voltaire, 36-38 Blair Street Edinburgh EH1 1QR
Phone: 0131 247 4704
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: Main Room
AUG 4-15, 17-28 at 21:00 (60 min)
Show Image

It's Comedy Set Swapping LIVE! The cult hit show where comedians perform their own jokes, then each others'. Chortle Awards Winner 2015 - Best Club Show London, Top 5 comedy shows of 2014 (List). Top 10 late nights out at the fringe (Time Out). 'A brilliant Format' (Guardian). 'Birth of a new cult comedy night ... an undoubted hit' (chortle.co.uk). 'Spontaneous and anarchic' **** (Fest). 'A truly electric night' **** (Scotsman). 'Action-packed and chaotic' **** (broadwaybaby.co.uk). 'Deserves more than one visit' **** (one4review.co.uk). As heard on BBC Radio 4 Extra's 'The Comedy Club'. Developed into a television pilot for the BBC.

Click Here for Show Website
This Show on Facebook This Show on Twitter Video Link

News and Reviews for this Show

August 13, 2016  The Chocolate Ocelot's Pouch
Review for Joke Thieves
Joke Thieves
Main Room @ Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire
Comedy set swapping live! The cult hit show where comedians perform their own jokes, then each other’s.
The Ocelot says: Not bad, though very much dependent on how each comedian chooses to riff on their randomly selected comedian's material. Lanky Anglo-Frenchman Eric Lampaert did the best, stripping and doing a rubbish impersonation of Welsh comedian Kiri Pritchard-McClean which was as much self-mockery as it was a roast. A Scottish woman's take on Finn Taylor was less successful - just a summary of his material with unfunny put-downs. 4/5 Click Here

August 9, 2014 Guardian
Joke Thieves: Cover Version Comedy
In the music world, artists cover one another's material. Should it happen in comedy? I remember Stewart Lee once joking that he planned, for his next show, to perform an entire Michael McIntyre set verbatim. Jim Davidson's current gig at the Assembly Hall, meanwhile, serves as a reminder that not so long ago, comics happily recirculated third-hand gags.

Might we ever return to those days – or get to the point where, like musicians, comics happily perform cover-versions of one another's best-loved routines? Maybe Will Mars's Joke Thieves is the canary in the mine. The format, now 18 months old, invites four standups per show to perform their own material – then perform one another's. It's both an experiment in whether a comic's material is transferable, and an opportunity for comedians to ruthlessly lampoon one another. On both counts, it's proved a big success, and is now being developed for BBC2.

I had my first encounter with it last night, and it was certainly one of the most eye-opening hours I've spent on the fringe. Introducing the show, Mars explained that participating comics usually select their least transferable material – that is, the stuff that is unique to their skills and their particular performance style. On some nights, the fun is in seeing whether one-liner merchants can deliver storytellers' sets, or how physical comics render the material of someone static and deadpan.

Last night, we were treated to two versions of how the show can work. The first pair to swap sets were Eric Lampaert and Ian Smith. Lampaert – as per Mars's intro – chose to make life difficult for Smith. One joke drew on his ability to speak multiple languages; he also performed a rap about Neanderthal man. Both comics offered a decent approximation of one another's sets, but it was a long way from verbatim. Joke Thieves isn't, it transpires, an exercise in sticking to one another's scripts. It's about taking the gist of the material, the keynote gags, and adapting them freely to one's own style. And mickey-taking shamelessly along the way.

Give or take a few barbed remarks – and some judgments traded on the quality of one another's comedy – Smith and Lampaert's tit-for-tat was affectionate. But – as the pre-publicity for the TV pilot has it – "What will happen if a blokey bloke is paired with a feisty lady?" What indeed? The other pair was Tania Edwards and (fresh from hosting the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games) the Glaswegian Des Clarke. Performing their own material, neither seemed to have made life particularly tricky for the other. But when they swapped, sparks flew. First up, Edwards failed embarrassingly to rise to the challenge. Either she couldn't remember or wasn't prepared to try any of Clarke's material, so she just pretended to have a cock, she kept telling us, and be Glaswegian. It was a long five minutes.

Then Clarke came onstage – and tore Edwards to shreds. He mimicked her jokes in the crudest way, and held up everything she'd done onstage (the way she spoke; the hack nature of some of her material; the things she'd told us about her life) for ridicule. The blokey (working-class, Glaswegian) bloke clearly loathed the feisty (posh, English) lady – or did a good job of pretending to. The audience oohed in sympathy and he shouted them down. (Edwards had left by this stage.) It was appallingly funny: deep professional antipathy reconstituted as comedy.

In music, you only cover the work of artist you admire. In Joke Thieves, you don't have that choice. The event made me think less of the opportunities for cover-version comedy than the obstacles to it – how possessive comics are of their material; how blurred is the line between a comic's material and their very soul. And how – more so than in music – antithetical ways of seeing the world are distilled into different comics' sets. Joke Thieves is a brilliant format. But whether cover-version comedy ever breaks out of that format and goes mainstream – well, I'm still longing to see Stewart Lee's Michael McIntyre tribute, but I think I'm in for a long wait.
 Click Here

Press & Media downloads for this Show
Media File 1

Comment on this Show


 Website Design & Development by Craig Shaynak and Alex Petty

Sponsorship & Advertising About Us Press and Media Area
Kingswell Productions Laughing Horse Comedy Become a Free Festival Venue
Google+ Australian Festivals Brighton Fringe