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Fringe comedy

Des Clarke:

The Trouble With Being Des

Assembly Rooms

Having entertained the biggest audience he is likely ever to perform for at the closing ceremony of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games, Des Clarke could be a name to watch out for this year.

With a 10-year career from DJ on sadly-missed Beat 106 to playing the Gerard Kelly roles in the panto at Glasgow's King's Theatre, he says he knew he had "arrived" when he was a clue in the Daily Record's crossword puzzle, much to the surprise of his alpha male father.

So far, so parochial, some might say, but in The Trouble With Being Des he talks about his past, his upbringing and his career so far, making himself the butt of most jokes.

His stand-up pedigree is evident, however, in the interaction he builds with the audience. In Studio One he joked about the opulent chandeliers ("In the Gorbals, they'd be earrings!") while seeking out some equally "mentalist" audience members. With (probably) the biggest game of Guess Who on the Fringe, he whittled down the almost capacity crowd, and unearthed the kind of gems you are only rewarded with when you have the bravery to interact - and care about the response you receive.

Runs to August 24

Jason Byrne: You Name The Show

Assembly Hall

Friday's show was one of wonder for Jason Byrne: "Is this really happening?" he screamed, when the vast majority of the audience (or at least everyone Byrne picked out) appeared to be 100 per cent off their rocker. And in You Name The Show, there was a high proportion of audience input, with a "wheel of fortune" that dictated the order and quantity of the comic's act.

Audience members were the subject of quite a few of Byrne's frenetic attacks (attacks that have always seemed to be part of his comedic charm and which he invariably gets away with). Some pretty graphic chat about his wife probably means this isn't the ideal family show (it is billed as a 14+). With a list of all the show names since his July gig in Falkirk presented on the stage, I Thought This Was The Queue For The Buffet was the lively crowd's snappy offering.

Runs to August 24

Zoe Lyons: Mustard Cutter

Gilded Ballon

Zoe Lyons is going up in the world: no longer an inhabitant of Brighton, she and her Dutch wife have now entered the high society of Hove (albeit, Lyons can still be found with a straw inserted in a grand old box of wine of an evening). But there's a problem. Her younger neighbours think they're better than her, and Lyons knows that's not the case.

With a backdrop of social snobbery and snapshots of Mexican wrestling, the audience is given a glimpse of her world and the upsets she has faced this year: attending her first funeral has ruined her enjoyment of all future grief-laden engagements, while shopping in Tiffany's has definitely lost its glister for the moment.

This is an hour that swoops by with proper laugh-out-loud one liners and cleverly interwoven comedy subplots.

runs to August 24

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Arts and Entertainment

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