Critics throw down footballing gauntlet to Edinburgh Festival comedians

Critics have thrown down the gauntlet to comedians at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, to take them on in a football game that has proved such a grudge match in the past that this year Amnesty International will be providing the referee.

The match, organised by Amnesty International and Fest Magazine, takes place at Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh on Sunday 15 August.

The Guardian’s Brian Logan said:

"The gauntlet is down – Meadowbank Stadium, Sunday 15 August. We’ll be there, come and get us. As relentless as a vuvuzela, and harder to handle than a Clint Dempsey pile-driver, we’re ready for anything the comedians have got. Unless it’s someone who’s actually good at football.

"If North and South Korea meet one another at the World Cup – well, it won’t be a patch on this game. The comedians begrudge us the honest public service we provide, by telling people not to see their shows. And we rage against them for being, err, funnier and more famous than we are. Talk about scores to settle? Now it’s payback time."

Time Out’s Tim Arthur said:

“This match sorts out the men from the boys, or the slackers - who do twenty minutes work a day and then sit around all day whining about why Michael McIntyre is doing better than them - from the hard-working noble journalists who provide an ancient and revered service for the general public.

“It is a classic and legendary scrap between those who work for the light against those who spend all their time trying to compensate for lack of parental attention by screaming ‘Me, me, me’ into a microphone for hours.

“If there's any justice the critics will once again triumph.”

Comedians wishing to take up the challenge should get in touch with Steve Ballinger or Lynn Canham at Amnesty International on 020 7033 1548 or 020 7033 1695.

Amnesty International’s campaign at the Edinburgh Festival will strike a particular chord this year with comedians, as the organisation is calling for the release of Zarganar, one of Burma’s top comedians, who was jailed for 35 years in 2008 after he criticised the way the government was handling the Cyclone Nargis relief effort. Amnesty is also calling for the release of the ’88 Generation Students Group, locked up in 2007 – some for 65 years – for peacefully protesting against the Burmese government.

Amnesty’s famed Stand Up For Freedom comedy show returns to Edinburgh bigger than ever this year with more acts, more punters and even more laughs. Top comedy names are already confirmed to appear and the line-up will be revealed in the next few weeks.

Find out more at www.amnesty.org.uk/edfest

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