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Venue:The Free Sisters, 139 Cowgate Edinburgh EH1 1JS
Phone: 0131 622 6802
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: Maggie's Chamber
AUG 4-14, 16-28 at 20:15 (60 min)
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Bet you didn’t even know he’d been away? Well after the debacle of his last TV appearance, rehab & a failed marriage, Stephen Carlin is back! Catch him now before he dies some place on a toilet seat. Not recorded but before a live audience.

No fat Elvis Presley’s were harmed in the making of this show.

Chosen as one of Stewart Lee’s “Ten Best Stand Up Comedians Ever”, Carlin has supported Stewart Lee, Stephen Merchant, Felix Dexter and most recently, Tom Stade on their national tours. Carlin has acquired a growing fan base and critical acclaim for his original, insightful material and accomplished delivery. This married with his exceptional turn of phrase and brilliantly opinionated broadsides make for memorable routines. All skilfully delivered in trademark deadpan Scottish brogue. His popularity is growing internationally with recent performances in Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, South Africa & United States.

“Announcing the arrival of a new comedy original” Herald ★★★★★

“Laconic laced with Red Bull, material so thoughtful you would put your house on (him) reinventing the knock knock joke” Herald

“One of the most distinctive, and funniest, comedians in Britain” - Chortle ★★★★

“If this man isn’t a household name in five years time, the world is even more lacking in justice than we could have feared” - Scotsman

“A cult favourite among fans at the sharper end of stand-up” - Guardian

News and Reviews for this Show

August 20, 2016  The Skinny
Review for Stephen Carlin: TV Comeback Special
We’ll give the benefit of the doubt to poor Stephen Carlin, who fights against a small army of mindless hecklers on the night we see his stand-up show TV Comeback Special [★★★]. He gets close to a story about nearly appearing on Newsnight, and what he manages to deliver (about Donald Trump, drugs and sex with a mad girlfriend) is the kind of solid material we'd expect from him, but on a raucous Friday evening this is pearls before swine. Click Here

August 15, 2016  Broadway Baby
Review for Stephen Carlin: TV Comeback Special
When Stephen Carlin was named by Stewart Lee as one of the ‘Ten Best Comedians in The World Ever’ in 2008, he wasn’t exactly a household name. Now, however — well, okay, he’s still hasn’t found the fame he deserves; his brand of deadpan wit is well overdue widespread recognition. Unfortunately, TV Comeback Special won’t be the show to propel Carlin into the spotlight.

Just enough flashes of bleak brilliance, and inspired turns of phrase, to make the more pedestrian moments forgivable.
Carlin touches on some of the usual topics for comics in 2016, but most of his set is emphatically idiosyncratic. It’s true that, when described in the broadest terms, the topics are fairly familiar — love, relationships, drugs, driving, suicide, sex — but Carlin’s routine reliably steers away from cliché: he delivers idiosyncratic, dependably morose perspectives on these well-worn topics, couched in his distinctive, desert-dry delivery.

Carlin takes a scathing eye to the world and himself. He mines a vein of self-deprecation for some excellent bits on a jury duty equivalent for dating, his own middle-class politeness and the insult of being trusted to look after a stranger's bag. Carlin’s sometimes brutally honest insights are well-served by his talent for finding weirdly illuminating out-of-left-field similes. There are extremely funny comparisons made between love and multipack toilet rolls, between suicide and the emergency services.

The show, however, could do with some tightening. The pacing was less than ideal, with some lengthy lulls which didn’t build to much of anything, capped off not with raucous laughter, but with a smattering titters — too many stretches of silence that led to whimpers, not bangs. An excellent moment of improvised crowd work, too, slowly foundered as Carlin himself was derailed by the hilarity of the moment — a smoother, momentum-maintaining response was sorely needed.
TV Comeback Special — in spite of these few blips — contains just enough flashes of bleak brilliance, and inspired turns of phrase, to make the more pedestrian moments forgivable.

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