If you want to see the stand-up stars of the future, head to The Comedy Zone at this year's Edinburgh Fringe. As always, it features four up-and-coming comics - and this year, those talented types are Ahir Shah, Hayley Ellis, Mark Smith and Kieran Boyd. And they've been kind enough to answer our 10 Quick Questions...
Pitch your Edinburgh show in 25 words or less.
Ahir: It’s a showcase of four stand-ups: me, Hayley Ellis, Mark Smith and Kieran 'The Body' Boyd. There’s an interval, which is wild.
Hayley: 25 words? That’s very specific. I mean, I want to make sure I don’t waste any. How many have I done now? 21? Oh dear…
Mark: The Comedy Zone is a prestigious package show featuring four of the most ‘exciting’ stand-ups around.
Kieran: I’ll be doing the Comedy Zone stand-up showcase - it’s a mixed bill show featuring the brilliant Ahir Shah, Hayley Ellis, Mark Smith and me!
Your best Edinburgh moment?
Ahir: A gig a couple of years ago at The Stand, where everything seemed to go right.
Hayley: This is my first proper run at the Fringe, so best moment would probably be when I won the Foster's Award. Sorry, should have issued a spoiler alert on that. In all seriousness, I love the atmosphere, bumping into comics you haven’t gigged with in a while and getting to watch lots of top quality acts.
Mark: I met Tom Hanks once on the Royal Mile.
Kieran: Realising there was a possibility that this could be my ‘job’.
And your worst?
Ahir: As ever, the worst is yet to come.
Hayley: I did a sketch show for a week in which I had to flyer with a lampshade on my head. The amount of people who tried to turn me on... Not in a sexual way - that would have been weirder.
Kieran: In 2011, I did a stand-up double-header with Mark Cooper-Jones. In the middle of the run, I got ill, and one show opened with me being given immodium by my mum in front of the whole audience, and bolting for the gents after 17 minutes of my half-hour set. The audience were very good about it. Mark, less so.
You've got one hour free in Edinburgh - what do you do?
Ahir: Sit, and enjoy the peace and quiet!
Mark: Have one of those hot dogs they do in the Pleasance courtyard and just sit down for a bit. And eat it.
Kieran: You go and see a show, you oaf. If I haven’t meticulously organised a timetable of all the brilliant comedy, I’ll take a punt on something new on the Free Fringe, where there’s loads of great stuff. That’s what I’d do. But then I haven’t got a free hour….
Which Edinburgh landmark/venue/place would you give a five star review to?
Ahir: Arthur’s Seat, without question. Unless you get swarmed by insects because you’ve interrupted their mating season. That can knock a star off.
Hayley: I would have to give that review to the excellent Pleasance Theatre, mainly the Pleasance Courtyard. It’s probably best you go about 22.45 most nights. Nothing to do with the fact the excellent Comedy Zone is on at that time. *ahem*
Mark: The Filling Station restaurant on the Royal Mile. I just love it there. If anyone from that restaurant is reading this, plese hook a brother up (me).
Kieran: David Bann is good. It’s a veggie restaurant off the Pleasance end of Cowgate. I mean, I wasn’t full or anything when I left, but it tasted nice.
Give us a secret Edinburgh tip!
Ahir: Shops stop selling booze really early. Bear this in mind, or you may get stung.
Hayley: Scottish people love it when you ask them if they like haggis, drink only Irn-Bru and make sure you ask the men why they wear skirts. They will love that.
Mark: If you whisper "I’m going to kiss your Scottish balls" into the ear of the most angry-looking local man you can find, you will receive a special gift. Honestly, try it.
Kieran : See above.
Deep-fried haggis or deep-fried Mars bar?
Ahir: I’ve only had one deep-fried Mars bar, on the day I was leaving Edinburgh last year, and it was genuinely one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. However, this question isn’t really fair on haggis: I don’t eat meat, so that was never an option. In deep-fried haggis’s defence, I’ve heard it is less troubling to the palate than it sounds.
Hayley: I have tried neither. Which has the least calories?
Mark: Deep fried Mars bar, probably. I’m still not totally convinced I know what haggis is.
Kieran: Both, smashed into one polystyrene container. Then await death’s sweet embrace.
Kilt or trousers?
Ahir: Trousers, made from the Shah clan tartan.
Hayley: Trousers. I don’t like my sporran on show.
Mark: Trousers. I understand that if you are Scottish you might wear a kilt, but you don’t have to do it. If you just told me you were Scottish, I would probably believe you.
Kieran: Kilt, obviously. Hence the abundance of kilts across the globe. Oh, wait…
Arthur's Seat or Arthur Smith?
Ahir: I’ve already said Arthur’s Seat, so Arthur Smith. I like his fondness for shorts.
Hayley: Definitely Arthur Smith. He is hilarious - plus you could maybe borrow his seat, so you get best of both worlds.
Mark: Arthur Smith’s Seat Ibiza. WHAMMO! And it’s that sort of quality you can expect from me at The Comedy Zone. Sorry.
Kieran Boyd: The former of a morning and the latter of an evening.
Complete this sentence: “In Edinburgh, I will be mainly...
Ahir: Staying in the plain.
Hayley: Trying to make people laugh.
Mark: Gigging and sleeping and drinking. Join me.
Kieran: Showing off.
Kieran Boyd, Hayley Ellis, Ahir Shah and Mark Smith will be performing in The Comedy Zone at 22.45 at the Pleasance Courtyard, 1-26 August. Find out more and book tickets here.