Edinburgh Festival 2024

Grand Designs

31st Jul – 25th Aug (Not 7th, 13th, 14th, 15th) – 9:20 pm
Pleasance Courtyard, Grand

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Taskmaster’s yardstick for failure returns for his tenth run at the Pleasance. A recap:

The Comedy Zone (Cabaret Bar, 2010): drinking games, driving tests, and Josh Widdicombe on afterwards.

Binoculars (Cellar, 2013): Stereophonics, Walkers Sensations, and living with gran.

Bow Ties & Johnnies (That, 2014): thank you letters, school magazines, and an actual girlfriend.

No Filter (Beside, 2015): Birthday pokes, broken Nokias and Eddie Redmayne.

Educated Guess (Beneath, 2017): Weakest Link, frosted glass, and the 650 MPs. Motion Sickness (Cabaret Bar, 2018): Go Ape, a proposal, and a second hand fridge.

The Game of Life (Forth, 2019): babies, boules, and bloodbaths at the dentist.

My Future, My Clutter (One, 2022): Zoom risottos, childhood short stories, and nuclear fallout at Peppa Pig World.

Organised Fun (Beyond, 2023): Traitors, trumps, and treading water through trivia.

And now, Grand Designs, a fast and furious return to what Ivo does best: exquisitely articulated updates on a relentlessly chaotic life. Navigating the increasingly three-dimensional challenges of modern parenthood, running late for trains and planes and actual marathons, and laying out as many deckchairs as he can on the sinking ship of the Fringe. A manic, fate-tempting dissection of the gulf between his expectations and his reality, in a show where you will laugh with him, and laugh at him, and laugh a lot.

Carousel

31st Jul – 25th Aug (Not 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th), 2:20 pm
Assembly George Square, The Box

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‘Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means, ‘the pain from an old wound’. It’s a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone’.

Ivo Graham, who has watched this Mad Men clip approximately 100 times, steps away from the frivolity of his stand-up and invites you onto his own carousel: around and around, backwards and forwards, to the places he aches to go again. A searingly direct, exquisitely soundtracked story of a life, as workshopped last year in the Green. Good luck at your next meeting.

Comedians’ DJ Battles

2nd, 9th, 16th August – 11:30 pm
Assembly George Square, Underground

24th August – 11:00 pm (Grande Finale)
La Belle Angele

The glorious return of, by most accounts, the best night out of last year’s Fringe. Ivo Graham (gig pig, dad dancer, Shazamer to the stars) commentates frenetically on Powerpoint as illustrious guests bring the bangers, setting them one very specific brief (letters of the alphabet, etc) and one very broad one: get out there and absolutely have it. 2023’s myriad highlights included Spittle Shrek, Linkin Laws, the Petts-Magliano Pact of Friendship, and the String-Spitta Tank Engine conga; you simply had to be there, and still can. Battles from 23:30, party ‘til late!

Yardsticks For Failure

Publishing 26th September 2024
The new book Yardsticks For Failure

Ivo Graham is adapting to an increasingly irreversible reputation as a man better known for his chaos than his comedy. Yardsticks For Failure is an exquisite map of the brain behind the breakdowns; a deep dive into the various facepalms of Ivo’s recent past, and a live diary of his unravelling present, where his solution to the general bedlam of his life has been to pile his plate higher than ever before.

This book is a feast for anyone who’s ever been enthralled or appalled by Ivo’s cursed politeness, squandered promise, or serial prank-victimhood; for anyone battling to get their own life inbox to zero; for anyone who’s ever set fire to a diary, lost their mind over a quiz, or pegged it through a station for the last train home. Yardsticks For Failure is a unique self-examination from one of the most eloquent writers and worriers of his generation.