Jon Richardson, Apollo Theatre, London

Richardson has a lot to get off his chest. Dirty skirting boards, children’s artistic ineptitude, olives – life is just one hardship after the next for the Lancastrian comic, whose latest show feels more like a therapy session than a stand-up set.

Pajama Men: Improv Show, Soho Theatre, London

For their latest show this sharp-witted and usually slumberwear-clad pair, who you'll normally never catch sleeping, have cast off crafted lines and practised clowning - and their normal stage attire - in favour of freeform improv in casual clothes.

Magnus Betner

Magnus Betner, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
Des Bishop, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh
Max and Ivan, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
Comedian Dies in the Middle of a Joke, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

If comedy is the new rock 'n' roll, then Magnus Betner may be its Lou Reed: deadpan, downbeat and determinedly difficult. The Swede tells us he is a "fucking superstar" in his home country, though it's hard to tally that with the jaded figure who explains he couldn't be bothered to give his show a name. "People would go to something because of the title? How stupid is that?" he seethes. Duly, his set is austerely gimmick-free. A vitriolic jeremiad sees him weighing in on numerous "horrible, tragic" news stories – his preferred kind – with provocative one-liners and skewed sermonising. Given the ground covered, it's inevitably a mixed bag – his rundown of the Aids "hierarchy" was as trenchant as his analysis of the Batman shootings was glib. But, in an hour that inspires as many awkward silences as laughs, his uncompromising commitment to serious humour is a perversely admirable thing.

Totally Tom, Underbelly, Bristo Square, Edinburgh

There is a double helping of promise in this show from Totally Tom - better known as Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton (son of broadcaster, Ed).

Sam Fletcher: Good on Paper, Bannerman's Free Fringe, Edinburgh

In a dank back room of a pub, in an unlovely daytime slot on the Free Fringe, Sam Fletcher has created a tiny world of wonder. It's a delight to spend an hour there.

Lou Sanders: “I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: ‘It’s not rocket salad”

Lou Sanders: And Now for a Nice Evening with Wallan, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

In a year of high-octane show openings, Lou Sanders, self-styled "Beyonce of comedy", might just have the best. It's certainly the only one involving techno, pink tights and rollerblades.

Joe Lycett: Some Lycett Hot, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Though this 24-year-old comedian fails to convince that he has brought a complete hour with him to Edinburgh, he does enough with this debut show to flaunt his potential star quality.

Discover Ben Target, Underbelly, Edinburgh

Ben Target (pronounced Tar-jay) has clearly taken the original spirit of the Fringe to heart in this show, which attempts to create a kind of ‘happening’ in the space of an hour-long comedy gig.

Doctor Brown - The good doctor has made a splash at Edinburgh the past two years, and has returned with another heavily feted show. The Puck-ish performer makes full use of the space in his 'Befrdfgth' show, stealing audience drinks and creating uproar without saying a word. The clowning skills instructor trained with French master clown Philippe Gaulier

Doctor Brown, Underbelly, ****/ Tony Law, The Stand, ***

There are no words. Literally. Edinburgh has witnessed a mime wave this year, with acts such as The Boy With Tape On His Face, Billy the Mime and Doctor Brown stealing punters away from the stand-up acts who are already experiencing a downturn.

James Acaster: Prompt, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

After a tumbleweed-inducing debut solo show last year, the 27-year-old Kettering boy has returned to the Fringe and imposed an effective rule of three on his whimsical stylings: judicious repetition, reinforcement and joined-up thinking.

Rachel Stubbins is Stubbing Out Problems, Udderbelly Bristo Square, Edinburgh

Rachel Stubbins' agony aunt character is a disappointingly drab creation, albeit a confident one. It is quite a feat that she elicits an emotional response from her audience by the end of her show, snatching it rather from the jaws of indifference.

The Imaginary Radio Programme: Drennon Davis, Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh

If you add “with Monique Moreau on keyboard” to the self-explanatory title of this show then you get exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a simple recipe to prepare and serve: the American duo pretend to dial surf through the airwaves in order to pastiche various musical styles.

Comedian Dies in the Middle of a Joke, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Ever watched a stand-up and thought, ‘I could do better than that?’ The latest work from the brilliant, genre-leaping performer/ writer Ross Sutherland is a chance to prove it.

Eddie Pepitone’s Bloodbath, Just the Tonic at the Tron, Edinburgh

“I used to want to be a star but now I just like the hot darkness.” So laments the 53-year-old Eddie Pepitone. Part of this year’s American contingent, the comedian and actor (his roles include a recurring part on The Sarah Silverman Show) powers through a set that is almost exclusively anticomedy.

Nick Mohammed, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

How to define Nick Mohammed’s show? It’s a character comedy/maths lecture/magic show with a bit of Countdown and some acrobatics (he does an Arab spring – and has been doing them since way before the political movement took off, he tells us proudly) thrown in.

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