Edinburgh 98: Comedy

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The Independent Culture
THE SHARP stand-up Junior Simpson (right) is not content just to tell fluffy, throwaway gags. "I want my material to have a point - not just to be joke, joke, joke without substance," he asserts. "If that was the case, I'd just talk all the time about kebabs, drugs and masturbation. But I don't like kebabs, I don't take drugs, and my private life is private." He's proof positive that issues don't have to be desperately unfunny.

The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh (0131-226 2428) 9.45pm

In one show, the highly original American comedian Rich Hall whipped out Loot and started singing what he claimed were random lines from it to the accompaniment of an electric organ: "Ford Escort. 376,000 miles. As new. Needs windscreen... Thirty metres of Number 4 grit sandpaper. No time-wasters, please... Sing along if you know the words." Not the sort of routine you'd expect from a run-of-the-mill "why are relationships so difficult?" raconteur.

The Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh (0131-226 2428) 8.30pm