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Amnesty announces Edinburgh Festival comedy line-up

Includes Stand Up For Freedom, No Pressure to be Funny, Comics vs Critics match and new Secret Comedy Podcast

“If you just see one show at Edinburgh, see Stand Up for Freedom. It’s like a taster menu with all the best bits from the top names’ shows.” - Ed Byrne

Stand up for freedom

The initial line-up for Amnesty International’s annual sell-out comedy show, now in its 15th year at the Fringe, Stand Up For Freedom was announced today.

The flagship Stand Up For Freedom gig, organised by the producers of the acclaimed Secret Policeman’s Ball, is at Venue150 at the EICC on Wednesday 15 August 10pm.

Hosted by Susan Calman and Fred MacAulay, the line-up for this year’s show features the best of Edinburgh’s stand-up, sketch comedy and cabaret, including: the multi-talented Josie Long; Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer 2011 Hannibal Buress; star of Channel 4’s ‘Stand Up For the Week’ Sara Pascoe; sketch trio Pappy’s; winner of 2008 Edinburgh if.comedy Award David O’Doherty; comedy cabaret sensation Frisky and Mannish; and one to watch Rob Beckett - with more names to come.

  • Tickets are £18/16 and on sale now at

Release Burma's prisoners of conscience

For the last 15 years, Amnesty has joined with comedians and festival-goers to promote freedom of expression, asking them to help speak out against injustice, and take action for an individual whose freedom of expression has been denied.

This year Amnesty is highlighting the case of jailed Burmese human rights defender and prisoner of conscience U Myint Aye, who has dedicated much of his life to speaking out for human rights and democracy in Burma. Aged 61, he is currently serving a life sentence in prison, convicted after an unfair trial, on charges Amnesty believes to have been fabricated.  Amnesty considers him a prisoner of conscience.

Amnesty is calling for the release of U Myint Aye and all remaining prisoners of conscience in Burma. 

  • Sign our petition to release Burma's prisoners of conscience /li>

No pressure to be funny

On Saturday 18 August 3pm, also at Venue150, Amnesty International is teaming up for the first time at Edinburgh, with topical comedy panel show and podcast No Pressure to be Funny, described by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the best topical comedy shows out there’.

Show regulars Alistair Barrie and Nick Revell will be joined by award-winning crime author Ian Rankin; and comedian, activist and writer Mark Thomas as well as musical acts. The panel will be discussing the week’s news in front of a live audience, plus comedy songs, monologues and diatribes.

  • Tickets are £10/8 and on sale now at /li>

Critics vs comics football match

The ‘critics vs comics’ football match returns to Edinburgh this year courtesy of Amnesty International with the comedians, captained by Mark Watson, looking to avenge last year’s embarrassing 7-3 defeat at the hands (and feet) of the critics.  It’s billed as “such a grudge match they had to get Amnesty International to referee” and may live up to the hype this year, on Sunday 19 August in the Meadows. Kick-off 2pm.

Amnesty's secret comedy podcasts

Throughout the Fringe, Amnesty’s Secret Comedy Podcast: Live From Edinburgh will feature the cream of the festival’s comic talents. Hosted by comedian, actress and writer Susan Calman, the free hour-long podcasts will be recorded live at Underbelly every Monday and Tuesday at 1pm, starting this Monday 6 August, when Susan will be joined by guests including Rhys Darby, Reginald D Hunter, Jason Byrne and Helen Arney.
For free tickets for the recording and to download the podcasts people can visit

  • A taster podcast is available on iTunes now /li>

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