WHILE SHARING A BILL WITH THE Scotch (‘omcdians in thc |‘)3()s. Yorkshirc circuit comic Stainless Stcphcn grouscd that Scots turns had only to flash thcir tartan pants and yell ‘()L‘li {\ycl‘ lo sci Ilic‘ttlt'cs roaring. linglish chauyinism or cultural rcality'.’ Whatcycr. the popular turn- ol-thc-ccntury yaricty thcatrc ccmcntcd this strong tradition of parochial Scots humour.

(‘haractcr clowns Harry (iordon. Jack Radclil'lc and Tommy Lornc joked about ‘thc itch' (scabies) and parodicd cultural l'igurcs likc thc pcnny pinchcr and thc dour Prcshytcrian minister. l’ccrlcss was the drunkcn strch philosophcr. an carly Rah ('. .\'cshitt. immortaliscd in Will liylilc's ‘l Bclong 'l‘o (ilasgow‘.

Scots cat‘icaturcs traycllcd particularly wcll in thc sporran ol' l’ortohcllo’s lincst. Sir llarry l.attclcr"s

So, we've looked at those who make us laugh. What about those who put on stage the people who make us laugh? The List got three of Scotland's leading together in the pub. and chewed the fat about the business. TOMMY SHEPPARD runs The Stand in Edinburgh, Scotland's only all year-round comedy venue. and will shortly be opening a Glasgow branch.

KAREN KOREN heads The Gilded

Balloon, a major Fringe venue, which

also promotes gigs and tours in

Scotland throughout the year. BILLY BONKERS is a performer and runs The Cosy Comedy Cafe, a smaller scale

regular Glasgow club. Compere: Steve Cramer

12 THE LIST i/ let) 2 Ha' 200C“

idcntikit Scotsman - rcd nosc. wild whiskcrs. kilt and stick tourcd thc

nly J ocking

world. hrokc rccords on Broadway Harry

and arguath set back Scottish culturc .

to The (‘lcaranccs. liycn Matt LaUders

(irocning must hayc hccn inspircd. il‘ identikit

you bring to mind (iroundkccpcr

Willic. his tokcn Jock in T/lt’ scatsman

.S'impsons. toured the By |‘)5(). a new gcncration of world broke

comics wcrc cxpanding their acts for '

ncw mcdia. Stagc wags who records on

graduatcd succcssl'ully to radio and Broadway and

tclcyision included Stanley Baxter.

Johnny Bcattic and l‘rancic & Josie. arguably set

Andy Stewart cnjoycd hcart—throh status hctwccn pantos as the 'tcuchtcr" l'rontman of The ll'liin' [It’uI/It’l‘ ('lul). Mcanwhilc. the west coast consolidatcd its position as thc comedy hcartland (lidinhurgh was still the home of ‘scrious culchur‘). Workers socials provided a platform for relief from thc rcalitics of thc minc and shipyard as an updated

places to perform in

back Scottish culture to The Clearances.

\crsion ol thc classic undcrdog charactcr cmcrgcd with ('hic Murray and l.c.\ Maclcan. Sc\_\ l.c.\_\'s hcst- known charactcr was thc huimcttcd. work-shy malingcrcr hullicd by thc mothcr-in—law and harasscd by ‘thc hurroo'. llis drag and hlucnosc innucndo inl‘lucnccd .-\ndy (‘amcron and. ironically. madc him a houscwiycs l‘ayoui'itc.

’l‘hc l‘)7()s produccd an innoyatiyc comic stylc. horn lrom a union hctwccn l'olk-music and thc uniquc ohscryational humour ol‘(‘hic Murray. This comcdian/songwritcr mmcmcnt madc a star ol' onc William ('onnolly. \‘t'hcrc Murray and Maclcan wcrc thc \Vcc l-‘owk ridiculing lil‘c‘s commonplaccs as it passcd thcm by. Billy ('onnolly was thc Big Yin. a loud. swcary. irrcycrcnt tanglc ol hcard and hair lor whom cycrything. l‘rom wcllics to johhics. was comic li)ddc‘l'.

The List: How did you get started as comedy promoters?

Billy Bonkers: For me, it started as a performer. lwas in bands, and I acted before I began doing comedy. I started a small club in 1992; it was a free gig for two or three seasons. I set up The Cosy Comedy Cafe about three years ago, and it runs itself really.

Karen Koren: It was the early 80$ for me. Friends of mine were stand-up comics in London and wanted

Edinburgh. They hated performing in church halls and places like that and needed somewhere that was more relevant to comedy, where people could sit and drink. I've never been able to do a full comedy venue like The Stand, but I like the idea of a venue that does comedy, as well as other stuff. Tommy Sheppard: I started as a fan in London in the 805. Back in Edinburgh, we found there weren't the permanent, year- round venues we'd seen down there. It

started almost as a hobby and we opened in a seedy little dive in the Grassmarket. On the first night we got seven people and the door takings were £22, split between six of us. Then we decided to look for a permanent venue. It’s been a real struggle, but we finally opened in '98, and now we’ve got a 170- seat venue.

The List: Why hasn’t the current comedy scene produced any real superstars like Billy Connolly?

KK: Robbie Coltrane is


a brilliant stand-up. But there's a lot of talent here, so why do we need another Billy Connolly?

BB: Billy Connolly has mythic status. He was the first to break through the surface, a working class Scot who went on Parkinson and made the Royal Family laugh.

KK: You tell me what Welsh person did that? 'I'S: There’s been a change in British light