COMEDY

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The Independent Culture
The Condos' Hey Get a Life! show, Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh (0131- 226 2151) to 30 Aug

Jonathan Kydd and the three other smartly dressed members of The Condos, an acapella quartet singing jokey songs, have been out in Edinburgh trying to draw attention to themselves - not always with success. "On the Mound, you get all the detritus from the Festival - fire-eaters, ghettoblasters and dogs jumping through hoops - while you're trying to sing four-part harmonies," Kydd sighs. "We're going to have to hire an amplifier."

The Condos have struggled to attract attention - mainly because people on the comedy circuit can't come to terms with the idea that music could make them laugh. The Condos' originality often counts against them with conservative promoters and audiences.

"We're having to deal with getting our heads above water in an area dominated by stand-up," Kydd admits. "When I tell people I do music, they reply `oh really' with no interest whatsoever. The show is treated as if it's something twee that won't have any success. People say it's fringey and won't see it because it's not stand-up. You can get sucked down to a level of mediocrity by it all. You despair in some comedy clubs where there is one mike and one amp and nobody can hear the words of your songs properly. An audience doesn't expect songs to be funny - most of the time they're shit."

The Condos certainly aren't. In their Hey Get A Life! show, the foursome masquerade as guru-worshippers trying to sell the audience their self- help booklet (and such wonderfully tacky items as the Condo Abdominal Crusher). They outline their philosophy by crooning songs with such deathless titles as "Trust Me, I'm a Dentist," "I Want to be Your Piece of Cheese" and "Linford Christie's Lunchbox". A number about alien abduction glories in the title of "I'm For You, UFO For Me".

"It's all about satellite TV junk culture," Kydd explains. "It is presented as a play. Rather than do cabaret this year, I decided to do a theatrical piece because you're more in control of your environment in the theatre. Also, people come with different expectations. They actually listen to the words!"

EYE ON THE NEW

Here's something else out of the ordinary. "Help, the Dutch Are Coming!" showcases the best of stand-up comedy from the Netherlands. What is more, they tell jokes in English - can you imagine our comics doing an act in Dutch for an Amsterdam audience? The Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh (0131 226 2151) Wed to Sat.

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