Comedian and political activist Chris Coltrane talks pen-pals, anime and Nintendo – Fixated podcast episode 2


It’s the second episode of Fixated and my buddy Chris Coltrane takes a break from stand-up comedy and political activism to tell me all about his many pen pals (but not keyboard kompadres), enlighten me about anime (but not anim-b) and reveals just how good he was at Nintendo (but not Nintendon’t… well, that got out of hand) back in the early nineties. If only I’d known he was less than 20 miles away from me at the time, I’d have challenged him to a game of Mario Kart battle modes!

Chris is on twitter @chris_coltrane and his website is here. Go there to get free downloads of his past solo stand-up shows and to find out all about Lolitics, his live political comedy night which is also a podcast. A pod-what? Yeah, me neither. Never heard of them.

Subscribe, download and listen on itunes now. And…

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Brydie Lee-Kennedy and Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Fixated podcast episode 1


In the very first episode of the new comedy podcast, Australian comedian, writer, podcaster, cabaret performer and sex columnist Brydie Lee-Kennedy tells us about her love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a complete Buffy noob, I was interested to hear about Buffy as a feminist role model and how the series tackled difficult and important subjects like sexuality and depression. Over the course of the episode, I learn that British men control ALL women* and I came to realise I wasted so many hours watching Dawson’s Creek that I should have spent on Buffy. Luckily, in the UK at least, the series is available on Netflix!

*apparently. I have not managed to prove this. In fact I might have proved the opposite.

Brydie can be found on her website, on twitter and on either of her own great podcasts, Do Who I Say Not Who…

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20 Edinburgh Fringe shows for hip-hop heads

HipHopBlogPicIf you’re in the vicinity of Auld Reekie this August, you can’t help but notice the stampede of comedians, drama students and tourists otherwise known as the Edinburgh Fringe. Flicking through the music section, it seems the programme has fewer hip-hop shows than Kanye has moments of modesty. Fear not, fellow rap aficianados, for there are plenty of options for us up at the Fringe. Here are a whole 20, enough for a week, or a very full long-weekend…

The hottest tickets in town.

Beardyman: One Album Per Hour
This is the big one people! Best known as Jay Foreman’s brother (Hi Jay!), Beardyman hits the extra extra large Pleasance Grand and creates a whole album in just one hour. Three nights only.
23.15, Pleasance Courtyard (Grand), 15th-17th

Abandoman: Hot Desk
In da house? More like IN DA COWS! Ireland’s top hip hop improv comedy team are back with a new show. Are they always new? They’re improvised. Anyway… repeat after me: The udders, the udders, the udders are on fire….
21.10, Udderbelly, 30th-25th (not 11th or 18th)
Mo’ money, mo’ problems? Alas, for most of us, it is not all about the Benjamins. Or Elizabeths for that matter. These five shows are totally free to see! Just pay what you want at the end.

Dave Waller: Where My Folk To?
Lunchtime laughs with Cornish rap nerd Dave Waller, as he embarks on a quest from Bodmin to Brooklyn.
12.00pm, Laughing Horse @ The Wee Pub, 31st-24th (not 11th or 18th)

Brains Mcloud: 15 Reasons Why Justin Bieber is Gay
The Scottish rapper who fooled the rap world into believing he was American. Only 5 chances to see this guy, but you can book in advance for a fiver. Otherwise take a chance on a seat being free (in both senses) on the night.
23.00, Heroes @ Bob & Miss Behave’s Bookshop, 21-25th

Philosorap Cabaret
This spoken word show promises a colourful rap journey through the history of thought. Sounds good to me! I just hope they don’t give out essay homework at the end.
12.30, Banshee Labrynth, 2nd-24th (not 12th or 19th)

Comedian Rap Battles
No details online for the fringe version of this yet, but if you want to see comedians’ friendships crumble in the name of hip-hop – and believe me, you really do! – you should seek out this show.

Tom Goodliffe: Thug Liffe
A stand-up show, about hip-hop, by an award-winning comedian and thirty-something accountant. Featuring upwards of three jokes (four jokes) and some awkward rapping.
16.45, Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, 31st-24th

Hotly tipped debuts, award-winning returnees, and more!

Baba Brinkman – The Rap Guide To Religion
“Baba’s unique brand of ‘peer reviewed rap’ brings together hip-hop, comedy, and behavioural sciences, striving to make sense of nature’s most unpredictable primate.” Sounds fascinating! Count me in.
14.30, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 30th-25th (not 11th or 18th)

The Canterbury Tales Remixed
Not content with doing just a show on religion, Baba Brinkman remixes Chaucer’s classic tales with a comedy hip-hop edge.
17.50, Underbelly Bristo Square, 30th-25th (not 11th or 18th)

Off The Top
This guy must have stamina! BB and neuroscientist Heather Berlin explore the brain and improvisation. A bit of science in my comedy. Yes please! And this one’s free too!
12.10, Canons Gait, 2nd-24th (not 11th or 18th)

Chris Turner: Pretty Fly
Improviser and stand-up extraordinaire Turner brings his debut solo show to the Courtyard after sold out runs in Australia and India. Definitely worth a look.
18.45, Pleasance Courtyard, 30th-25th

Rubberbandits: Continental Fistfight
The plastic bag wearing boys from Limerick return with “dazzling” new songs and “at least one puppet”! Dunno about you, but I’m sold.
20.15, Gilded Balloon, 30th-25th (not 11th, 18th)

Simon Feilder: All The Things I’m Not
No mention of hip-hop in the blurb for this stand-up’s debut solo show, but check out his youtube channel and you’ll see why I’ve picked this one out. Si knows his hip-hop.
20.30, Pleasance Courtyard, 30th-25th (not 11th)

Hedluv and Passman: Doin’ it Dreckly
This Cornish rap duo see themselves as modern day folk heroes, but somehow they’re in the comedy section. Either way, they put a smile on my face, “in the shape of a pasty”. Check them out.
22.30, Gilded Balloon, 30th-25th

Jarred Christmas and Jack Hobbs: The Christmas and The Hobbit -A Beat Box and Stand-Up Collaboration
The rap game is full of collabo’s. Snoop and Dre, Meth and Red, Ant and Dec. This is quite possibly the hottest one hitting the fringe this year. Only a short run, so grab them tickets quick!
23.15, Gilded Balloon, 18th-20th

A BIT OF CULTURE (i.e. theatre, spoken word, music and cabaret)
Because it’s not a comedy festival, it’s an arts festival!

Jay-Z and Me: A Fast Talking Memoir
Gutted to miss this one (it clashes with my show). A show by a tiny, 60-year old white woman about her obsession with the self-appointed “greatest rapper alive”. Apparently she’s going to try to act her age after the fringe and take up knitting. Oversize hoodies? Maybe.
16.40, Sweet Grassmarket, 31st-17th (not 11th)

Mark Grist & MC Mixy: Dead Poets’ Death Match
The teacher who blew away MC Blizzard and YouTube hits the fringe. Sylvia Plath vs Ted Hughes? Rabbie Burns vs Byron? Let the wordy bloodbath begin!
17.30, Assembly George Square Studios, 30th-24th (not 11th)

Spoken word hip-hop theatre with breakdancers. That’s enough for me! I’ve already got my tickets.
20.50, Underbelly Cowgate, 31st-24th (not Mondays)

Chap-Hop Superstar
Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer is back at the fringe “for another hour of Chap-Hop, acid ragtime, drum and brass and naughty ballads.” Less weed, more tweed, indeed.
21.00, Voodoo Rooms, 12th-24th (not Mondays)

Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum
This Aussie duo blend heartfelt songwriting and melodic finger-work with heavy hitting, world-class beatboxing.
20.50, Underbelly Cowgate, 31st-12th
18.25, Underbelly Bristo Square, 19th-25th

That’s your lot! See you at the fringe.

I’ll be performing my new show, Thug Liffe, every day from the 31st of July to the 24th of August. If you’re not heading up to the Fringe, sign up to my mailing list to hear about other show dates in London and around the UK.

Summer is coming!


Gang! Crew! Posse! Team! Squad! Entourage! Members of Goodliffe Squadron!

Summer is coming! That can mean only one thing… It is now socially acceptable for me to eat the amount of ice cream I eat all year round.
Coincidentally, it also means that the Edinburgh Fringe is upon us, where I shall be doing two shows, pretty much every day:

Bec & Tom’s Awesome Laundry, Gilded Balloon, 12.30pm (check website for dates)
This is the kids show that Bec Hill I did last year. Those who saw it, loved it. Those who didn’t had a legitimate reason not to – it was on in the morning. What sort of fool does an Edinburgh show in the morning? This sort of fool. This year, we’re back, and we’re on a bit later, so no excuses guys. What’s that? You’ll be working on the International Space Station until September? NO EXCUSES!

Tom Goodliffe: Thug Liffe, Laughing Horse @ Bar 50, 4.45pm (basically every day)
This is my brand new stand-up show. It’s about hip-hop and stuff. And it’s free. So no excuses guys. What’s that? You’re close to finding a cure for The Big C*? NO EXCUSES!
*Common Cold. If you’re close to finding a cure for any other bad c-illnesses, feel free to skip the show, but understand that it will be your loss.

If you are not going to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, you can see the stand-up show in preview at the following venues:
Wednesday 18 JuneThe Comedy Biscuit, Soho. Preview double bill, with fellow tall accountant, Luke Benson
Tuesday 1 July – The Library Pub, Islington. Preview double bill with Romesh Ranganathan (ticket link coming soon)
Tuesday 15 July – The Library Pub, Islington. Preview double bill with Stu Goldsmith (ticket link coming soon)
And that’s basically it.

So, those are the plans. Hope to see you at one of the shows. Or all of the shows. Except you, Commander Space-Doctor – totally valid excuses.

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A message from the comedian “from Accounts”.

This is not an open letter from accountants to comedians. Mainly because:

  1. open letters have been done to death recently. I mean there’s been lots of them, not people have been writing to the grim reaper. He’s more of a BBM guy.
  2. I am both a comedian and accountant, so it would sort of be like me writing to myself, which in the ‘7 signs of madness’ ranks above talking to yourself. I used to email myself (which is fine by the way), but now I use evernote.

Anyway, here’s the thing. In the build up to deadline day (tax, not football transfers), one’s facebook timeline is filled with status updates reporting various cases and levels of last minute stress, early submission smugness and general confusion. And then there’s the requests for recommendations for good accountants and help deciphering HMRC gibberish. Oh, how it all changes once January is gone…

For the other eleven months of the year, accountants are figures of fun. Easy targets for the lazy. I am tired of hearing “accountant” and “from accounts” or “in accounts” as a reference or even a punchline. Whenever a comedian or writer needs to have a dig at a generic employee or say “hey, you know, that boring guy (here he is in an unusual situation)” they just say it’s an accountant.

[Aside: Of course, the accounts department isn’t always concerned with financial accounting. Any Mad Men watcher can tell you that. Pete Campbell is an “accounts man”, and spends his time winning new business and keeping clients sweet. No self-respecting accountant would stand being likened to such a snivelling toad. Accountants have integrity. Even the wideboys in tax avoidance schemes have more morals than Campbell!]

Why is it always “in accounts”? Why not “in IT” or some other department? Is it the plosive consonants that give it the edge? Are there no other supposedly dull jobs? Surely there is a similar lack of fun in watching security monitors or washing dishes. Maybe it is a genuine lack of understanding of what accountants do. Maybe successful professional creative types haven’t ever had to hang around long enough in an office job to get a grip on the details. I heard one comedian say that an accountant (who still lived with his mum) was good at square roots! Mostly they just do a bit of adding and subtracting. Plus “in accounts” tells us nothing! Is it Accounts Payable or Accounts Receivable? BE SPECIFIC!

But most of all, it’s just so played-out. Python did it several times 40 years ago (here are some examples) and even nowadays some of the best comedy minds, people I admire and respect, reach for their broad brush and paint the easily recognised code for ‘dull man’ in big red paint in the middle of their otherwise brilliant work. I’ve seen it in all manner of TV shows and stand-up sets. Someone dresses in a suit – they look like an accountant. Someone lacks social skills, they’re like an accountant. Even comedy clubs use it in their marketing blurb. If that’s not enough do a simple sickipedia search. Give it a rest!

Several of our finest comedians have come from accounting. Arnold Brown, Fred MacAulay, Bob Newhart… Eddie Izzard studied accounting… the list goes on… (actually, I’m not sure it does, but it’s a thing people say, isn’t it. Like Dave from Accounts, he probably says that). What would they say?

So, think about your tax return and how much you hate doing it. Now think about people who spend most of their lives doing tax returns and things like tax returns. Next time you need a handy description or reference point for a nerdy person or boring job, remember that the worst hour of your working year is EVERY hour of an accountant’s!

And put “Bob from IT”.

If you want to see me say jokes (and things like jokes), some of which will be about accounting and maths (yep!), have a look at my gig list here. And if you haven’t already done so, please sign up to my mailing list. Subscribers get a free mp3 download of my debut solo comedy show, and hardly ever get emails from me!

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Bec & Tom’s Awesome Laundry hits Edinburgh

A very quick update before I tuck in to my deep-fried haggis and chups (chips in Scottish)…

We’ve done 9 shows up here in Scotland and have 5 left (our last is on the 13th). We’re having a great time, and while our room is sometimes a little too big for our audience (not the other way around), everyone seems to be leaving with a smile on their face. Even reviewers. Check out the latest on the Bec & Tom page of this website, here.

And if you’re at the Fringe, why not pop along? No kids? There’s plenty of jokes for grown-ups. One audience member (not a child) even said we cured her hangover!

Bec & Tom’s Awesome Laundry is at the Gilded Balloon at 11am until 13 August. BOOK NOW!

Bec & Tom’s Awesome Trailer

Hey gang!

Here’s an advert I tried to make for the kids show. Bec had other ideas…

Check out our silly show for cool kids by childish adults at the Edinburgh Fringe.

11am, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 31 July – 13 August. BOOK NOW!

Loads more info over at, and on facebook and twitter.

2013 Edinburgh Fringe news!

Tommy G here with a quick update about what I’ll be doing this summer.

I’ve been going up to the Edinburgh Fringe to do stand-up since 2008. This year, I’ll be doing something a little different…

Bec & Tom’s Awesome Laundry!

Oh pants! It’s laundry day! But Bec (‘side-splittingly funny’ ThreeWeeks) and Tom (‘clever gags and bumbling charm’ Scotsman) have other ideas*. Join the puerile pair in a world of silliness, make-believe and bad celebrity impersonations. A sketch show for cool kids by childish adults. *Warning: Ideas may contain awesomeness.

We’ll be at the Gilded Balloon at 11am, 31 July – 13 August. Tickets are on sale now from the venue or

We’ll also be doing a few preview shows at Camden’s Etcetera Theatre on weekend afternoons (22 June, 14/20/28 July). Visit their website for more info.

Like our Facebook page and you’ll be kept up to date with all things Bec & Tom.