The shittest jokes of the Edinburgh Festival 2023

IT’S that time of year for articles entitled ‘The best jokes of the Edinburgh Festival’. Here standup Martin Bishop talks you through his favourite incredibly laboured gags.

‘Have you ever noticed how birds always shit on your car just after you’ve washed it?’

Martin says: Brilliantly original observation from comedian Jasper Wicks. It’s funny because it’s true. Birds definitely understand the concept of clean cars.

‘I bought some balloons for my son’s birthday, but they were already blown up. Must be all this inflation.’

Martin says: A great topical gag from Josie Snape using the dual meaning of inflation. Literally genius.

‘Cats are like girlfriends. They cost you a lot of money, like tuna and wee sitting down.’

Martin says: Spot-on insight into the battle of the sexes from standup Nick Barbados. 

‘I was really annoyed at entering a tin containing a woodwind instrument. I was incandescant.’

Martin says: Clever wordplay from up-and-coming comedian Amanda Gleason. ‘Incandescent’ is spelt wrong, but she’s definitely not just shoehorned words together into an ultimately meaningless gag. 

‘Who remembers Curly Wurlys?

Martin says: Wonderful retro gag from Lee Morphet, taking audiences down memory lane to the 1980s. They still make Curly Wurlys and have them in most newsagents, so it’s even more relatable.

‘Don’t you just hate it when your boyfriend gets out the animal masks and says it’s furry golden showers night?’

Martin says: Georgina Frith describes a relationship situation every woman can relate to, with toe-curling personal details you wish she’d kept to herself.

‘I lost my virginity last week. Turns out it was down the sofa.’

Martin says: You think you know where this joke from Anil Chandra is going, then it goes there. Brilliant.

‘I thought I was empowered. Then I realised I’d just got a contract with Npower.’

Martin says: Another instant classic from Josie Snape. It’s no wonder she’s tipped for a Perrier.

‘I haven’t got a drink problem. I’ve got a pissing yourself while unconscious problem.’

Martin says: Valentina Adamski tells it like it is. Seriously though, she sounds like a nightmare.

‘My girlfriend says I’m a hit in bed. Turns out I misheard her and she said I’m shit in bed.’

Martin says: Great gag by Marcus Friedman. A classic of the ‘pretending you misheard what someone said to set up a mildly amusing punchline’ genre.

‘What does Madonna sing when she really needs some adhesive? Crazy for Glue.’

Martin says: Another zinger from Edinburgh veteran Bill Penn. So good it could have come from a children’s joke book you’d paid actual money for.

‘A weird thing happened last week. I was watching a 2012 time travel film with a Scouse criminal friend and the Jim Henson puppet Red when Harry Kane failed to score and I noticed some evaporated urine on the floor and the dark-haired one from The Breakfast Club mixed up some water, yeast, sugar and flour while telling me to be quiet. It was a case of looper-scally-fraggle-missed-it-ex-pee-ally-dough-shush.’

Martin says: Classic gag by rising star Pierre Tremblay. Totally worth the effort and every penny of my £396 train fare getting here.

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Five wanks better than entire relationships

LOVING relationships with human beings have their moments, but can they really hope to compete with these five stunning acts of self-abuse? 

Surprise opportunity wank

You love your partner. They’re beautiful, intelligent and funny. But do you think of them as fondly as you think of that occasion when they nipped out to get milk and you had an unexpected and welcome opportunity to rub one out? You’d trade them in instantly to experience that debauched rush again. That wank was the one that got away.

Working from home wank

What’s this? A 30-minute gap between meetings? There’s no way you can get any work done in that tiny window, but you could easily crank one out at least one. Even the thought of busting a nut on company time gets you close. Not even a happy 50-year marriage can beat a hand shandy you’re getting paid for.

It’s been a couple of days wank

Relationships are fine, you guess, but they’re oppressive. Your partner’s always about, demanding texts and an audience for his dull workplace dilemmas. Wanking doesn’t place demands on you. In fact, when you leave it a couple of days, it’s even better and never accuses you of not loving it anymore. You’d marry it if you could.

Holiday abroad wank

Remember that solo trip to Paris? A cute little Airbnb by the Seine, the masterpieces at the Louvre, then rounded the day off with some hand action in bed. That wank set the bar impossibly high not only for future partners but future wanks. It was the platonic ideal of masturbation. Richard Linklater could make a poignant movie about it.

Post break-up wank

Nobody looks forward to their first wank after being dumped, but it’s necessary; the onanistic equivalent of eating your vegetables. Five minutes and post-climax clarity brings you to the realisation you’re better off single, and your dream partner is your own busy digits. Though they don’t count as a plus-one at a wedding.