The best comedy shows of 2022

10. Nish Kumar: Your Power, Your Control

A set delivering all the livid topical comedy we’ve come to expect from the Mash Report man and more, as Kumar explored the implications (for the state of the nation, for his sanity) of when his jokes anti-colonial and anti-Brexit at a posh charity concert saw him bombarded with buns. Always so funny but intriguing too. Read the full review

9. Lara Ricote: GRL/LATNX/DEF

This debut album by the Mexican-American comic strip, and reigning champion of Funny Women, waltzed with the gong of the best newcomer to the Edinburgh festival. Praise was well-deserved by one show, GRL/LATNX/DEF, which both dined on Ricote’s multi-layered identity and complicated it in many fascinating and fun ways. Read the full review

8. Sami Abu Wardeh: Bedou

Comedy and clown at the same time, as Abu Wardeh tells the story of a Palestinian refugee’s journey to the United Kingdom. Movement guru Giralomo, sleazy guitarist Rodrigo, and an overly enthusiastic kid ninja trainer star in a cruise ship that combines the rowdy and ridiculous with intriguing hints of something more substantial. Read the full review

Good mood… Chloe Petts. Photography: Andy Hall/The Observer

7. Chloe Petts: Transience

Equanimity and good humor are not hallmarks of gender discourse. Kudos to Chloe Petts, then, whose delayed solo debut recounts her own life lived as “the man I always wanted to be” with quiet conviction, nuance, and an ever-amusing sense of her own (and the rest). of our) ridiculous. Read the full review

6. Tarot: Uplifting Tales

“Sketch will never die,” launches the slightly forlorn refrain of this latest offering from Ed Easton, Kath Hughes and Adam Drake: a fantastically wild and inappropriate hour of occult-tinged team comedy. A member of the public is asked to count each laugh on the show. Suffice to say that they are very busy. Read the full review

Disconcertingly funny… Frankie Thompson in Catts.

Disconcertingly funny… Frankie Thompson in Catts. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

5. Frankie Thompson: Cats

Every now and then a show comes along that creates its own theatrical language and finds new ways to make us laugh. Frankie Thompson’s Catts was one such performance, a sanity coping mechanism wrapped in a collection of DIY cat videos and delivered by a fit clown on a treadmill. Wonderfully, confusingly funny – and more. Read the full review

4. Jordan Gray: Is it a bird?

The Edinburgh Fringe is the place to go for those ‘a star is born’ moments. And nobody is present at Is It a Bird? might doubt that this is exactly what they were witnessing. Tackling transgender, culture wars, clickbait, superheroes and more, this irrepressible hour of musical comedy will be cited in “I was there” trivia for years to come. Read the full review

3. Jacqueline Novak: Get on your knees

Taking an innocuous topic and thinking about it is a fine comedic tradition. I can’t remember a funnier or more extreme example than this Off-Broadway smash that investigates – from every conceivable angle – the art of the blowjob. Part memoir, part parody academic treatise, Get on Your Knees took its audience to dizzying heights of comedic excitement. Read the full review

2. Kim Noble: lullaby for scavengers

Some will wonder if it’s comedy. Maybe it’s too disturbing, unethical, too completely weird for that? But I laughed – and cringed and cried – a lot at Lullaby for Scavengers, another extraordinary multimedia recording of Kim Noble’s life adrift among dying parents, consumer capitalism and the wildlife of London nightlife. Read the full review

Thrilling comedy… Leo Reich.

Thrilling comedy… Leo Reich. Photograph: Linda Nylind/The Guardian

1. Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares? !

Today’s most exciting comedy is performed by the social media generation, who now flaunt their organized and muddled identities, their selfie awareness, their fragility – and their sophisticated self-irony – on the stage. No one does it better than 24-year-old Leo Reich, whose debut heralded the arrival of a talent you couldn’t take your eyes off. Slick, narcissistic, and snappy, Reich’s character could be read as a satire on Gen Z’s ego madness. But with his interchangeable opinions, low-level terror that he doesn’t signal his virtue loud enough, and with the world and its prospects collapsing around him, you can’t help but love him too – and laugh at him, a lot. Read the full review

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