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Edinburgh fringe festival: struggling to surprise

The quality at this year’s fringe festival was high, but there were too few shocks. Now that comedy is part of the mainstream, has it lost its cutting edge?

The charismatic comedy rock group Dead Cat Bounce: Ireland’s answer to Spinal Tap

I didn’t laugh as much as I expected to at the Edinburgh festival this year. I’m a huge fan of live comedy and many of the acts were both extremely funny and technically near-perfect, so what was missing?

This year Edinburgh celebrates the 30th birthday of its prestigious comedy awards—once known as the Perrier, now funded by Foster’s—and, by extension, 2010 is widely being billed as the 30th anniversary of “alternative comedy” itself. In that time what was alternative has, of course, become a profitable, mainstream form…

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