Amnesty announces phenomenal extended line-up for Edinburgh comedy shows

Amnesty International, producers of the renowned Secret Policeman's Ball, today announced an extended comedy line-up for its Secret Comedy Podcasts. This year, for the first time, Amnesty will be producing 15 lunchtime live shows at the Underbelly, with an array of hosts and guests who make up the pick of the Fringe comedy talent. The legendary secret policeman will make his Edinburgh debut this year with stunts and ticket giveaways planned throughout the festival.

Hosts Julian Clary (in Edinburgh exclusively for Amnesty) Ed Byrne; Alan Davies; Jo Caulfield and John Moloney will be joined by guests including; Sandi Toksvig; Al Murray; Marcus Brigstocke; David O'Doherty; Jenny Éclair; Tig Notaro; David Baddiel; Mark Thomas; Zoe Lyons; Ian Rankin and Lucy Porter with more big names added to the bill daily.

The 15 live shows throughout August will be recorded at 13.20 in the Cow Barn on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost £7 available now from

The first show, hosted by Ed Byrne, is on Friday 2 August – press places available – drinks reception afterwards.

Julian Clary said:

“I’m very excited to be a Secret Policeman for Amnesty at the Edinburgh Festival this year.  Who’d have thought that by putting on a flasher’s mac and getting my truncheon out I’d be making a difference to human rights?

“I’ve always been tickled by Amnesty’s relationship with comedy from Amnesty’s Balls to the present day, it’s a great way to see the pick of the festival stand up talent while standing up for freedom.”

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen, said:

“Amnesty’s Secret Comedy Podcasts are a unique opportunity see the pick of the Fringe while doing your bit to protect freedom of expression. Festivals like this simply couldn’t happen in many countries around the world and we should use our precious freedom of speech to speak up for those who can’t.

“We’ve always had great support from comedians, who value the right to free speech more than most. Just as one of the Pussy Rioters has had her appeal rejected, it seems fitting to be announcing all the artists who are rightly outraged about restrictions on freedom of expression and want to stand up with us.”

During the Edinburgh Festival, the 17 August will mark a year since members of Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced. Amnesty declared three of the band’s members; Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samutsevich, prisoners of conscience after they were charged with ‘hooliganism’ and although Eketerina was later released on appeal, Maria and Nadezdha are still only halfway through their two-year jail terms. Maria was refused parole at an appeal hearing yesterday.

The ‘critics vs comics’ football match also returns to Edinburgh this year courtesy of Amnesty, with the comedians keen to trounce the critics for a second year in a row.  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 11 August in the Meadows. Kick-off 3pm.

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