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The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - YOUR WEEKEND -

he weather has taken a turn for the worse and the dark nights are vis­i­bly start­ing to draw in. If there was ever a time we needed a bit of hu­mour in­jected into our lives, this is surely it.

Here to an­swer our prayers is the Aberdeen In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val, which starts to­day and runs un­til Oc­to­ber 14 at var­i­ous venues through­out the city.

From Fringe favourites to stand­out head­lin­ers, the line-up of­fers an im­pres­sive va­ri­ety for all ages and tastes.

Pop­u­lar acts ar­riv­ing in the Gran­ite City in­clude Ben El­ton, Fern Brady, Daniel Sloss, Jim Smith and Sid Ozalid, with venues from the Blue Lamp to the Mu­sic Hall.

There are some fam­ily-friendly shows too, in­clud­ing com­edy in­volv­ing mu­sic and bal­loons suit­able for younger au­di­ences.

How­ever, the main fo­cus of the nearly two-week-long event, is to get peo­ple in the north-east laugh­ing, some­thing Ed­in­burgh­based co­me­dian Me­gan Shan­d­ley is get­ting more used to.

“I’ve been do­ing com­edy for four years this month,” said the 29-year-old.

“I’m an ac­tress first and fore­most and trained at drama school in Lon­don, but I worked at the Gilded Bal­loon in Ed­in­burgh one year dur­ing the Fringe, which is how I sort of got into com­edy.

“I got to know the good shows that were on that year and started dat­ing a co­me­dian too, so I was around the whole scene a lot and be­gan to see how it worked.

“I fin­ished my act­ing course but jobs were very com­pet­i­tive, so in 2015 I had my first ten­ta­tive go at com­edy.

“Then a year later a had a slot on a split bill show at the Fringe with some other girls.

“I was pretty ner­vous as you feel re­ally ex­posed when you’re on stage – if peo­ple aren’t laugh­ing you know you’re not do­ing a good job.”

How­ever, peo­ple did laugh, and have been laugh­ing ever since when Me­gan gets on stage to per­form her ob­ser­va­tional stand-up rou­tines.

She’s a reg­u­lar at Break­neck Com­edy Club in Aberdeen too, so is well used to north-east au­di­ences.

“I love the Break­neck club, it’s al­ways well at­tended and a great room to gig in,” she said.

“This time round my show is a mixed bag. I talk about tech­nol­ogy, mod­ern-day re­la­tion­ships and a bit about Leonardo DiCaprio.”

While Me­gan has au­di­ences laugh­ing at her hu­mor­ous ob­ser­va­tions, co­me­dian Scott Gib­son prefers a sto­ry­telling style to get his hu­mour across.

Orig­i­nally from Glas­gow, Scott has been a full-time stand-up co­me­dian for seven years and in 2016 took home the Best New­comer prize at the Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val Fringe.

“I was the first Scot­tish act to ever win it,” he said, “which on one hand was a huge hon­our but on the other quite sad that no other Scot­tish tal­ent had been recog­nised be­fore.

“I ac­tu­ally live in Ed­in­burgh now, for my sins, so was at the Fringe again this year.

“It’s a crazy month but great to have so many other co­me­di­ans in the same city at the same time, so we all get to catch up in the pub.”

Scott will have yet more op­por­tu­nity to catch up with fel­low co­me­di­ans when he ar­rives in Aberdeen for his gig on Oc­to­ber 11, bring­ing with him a brand-new hour of sto­ry­telling.

“I’ve al­ways been a long-form sto­ry­teller style of co­me­dian,” he said. “So I cover one topic or story over the course of an hour.

“It’s usu­ally some­thing which hap­pened to me or some­one I know, told with some typ­i­cal dark Glaswe­gian hu­mour.

“I’m ac­tu­ally dis­cussing men­tal health this time round and my ex­pe­ri­ence of de­pres­sion and sui­cide… it doesn’t sound funny when I say it like that, but it is.

“I wanted to do it be­cause it’s some­thing I’ve been deal­ing with for a while now and noth­ing I’ve ever read about it has res­onated with me.

“I know men­tal health is a bit of a buzz word at the mo­ment but I’ve tried to look at it from a new an­gle. The sto­ry­telling method works well for it too.”

First launched in 2016, the Aberdeen Com­edy Fes­ti­val has grown rapidly year on year, with this fourth edi­tion at­tract­ing close to 50 acts to venues big and small through­out the city.

Catch Me­gan Shan­d­ley’s show, Mega­zoid, at O’Neill’s Bar on Back Wynd on Oc­to­ber 10, while Scott Gib­son’s show White Noise is on Oc­to­ber 11 at the Park Inn by Radis­son on Jus­tice Mill Lane.

● The Aberdeen In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val is run­ning at var­i­ous city venues from tonight Oc­to­ber 3 un­til Sun­day Oc­to­ber 14. The fes­ti­val has been or­gan­ised by Aberdeen In­spired since 2016 with sup­port from The McGinty’s Group Scot­land and Bal­moral Group. To book tick­ets, see ab­erdeen­com­e­dyfes­ti­val.com

Me­gan Shan­d­ley’s show Mega­zoid is at O’Neill’s Bar on Oc­to­ber 10

Scott Gib­son’s show, White Noise, is on Oc­to­ber 11 at the Park Inn by Radis­son

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