EP 14 – (Kate) Copstick – Head comedy reviewer for the Scotsman Newspaper at the Edinburgh Fringe

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EP 14 – (Kate) Copstick – Head comedy reviewer for the Scotsman Newspaper at the Edinburgh Fringe

Total run time: 1 hour 58 mins 56 secs.

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About The Kate Copstick…

Kate Copstick (or Copstick as she prefers to be known) is the head comedy reviewer at the Scotsman Newspaper during the Edinburgh Fringe. She’s been a reviewer for 20 years and has judged several comedy awards. Outside of reviewing she co-runs the The Grouchy Club podcast with daily comedy blogger John Fleming and writes for the Erotic Review (a magazine she purchased over a decade ago). Most of her days are spent in her charity shop (Ma Ma Biashara) in Sheppards Bush and she talks about how the work she does in Kenya informs her work as a writer. She’s infinitely interesting and provided such a unique insight into the business from someone who has watch it change from the “industry” side for over 2 decades.

Here are a list of the questions we covered. 

Perrier Comedy Award judge in 2003 and 2004

  • Do you enjoy judging comedy? And do you think comedy can be judged? [1 hour 14 mins 49 secs]
    • What did you look for in a winning act?
  • The years you were judging were the acts who won your choice? [1 hour 18 mins 28 secs]
    2003 Demetri Martin.
    2004 Jackson’s Way
  • Are there agendas behind the awards in Edinburgh? [1 hour 20 mins 25 secs] 
  • There’s a discussion going round about if a show needs to be an hour long. And if 30-minute, 45-minute shows should be allowed into the awards, what do you think of that? 

Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Award judge in 2008-2013 / podcast

  • What do you enjoy about this award? [1 hour 16 mins 12 secs]
  • Do you think the Fringe has too many awards? [1 hours 39 mins 35 secs]
  • Do you think awards can ever be too niche?[1 hours 39 mins 35 secs]
  • What do you think of Edinburgh Stunts? Which are your favourites? What does it take for a “stunt” to catch your eye? [1 hours 39 mins 54 secs]

Show Me the Funny (2011) – Judge (TV)

  • What’s the main difference in being a TV judge and a live comedy judge? [1 hours 43 mins 23 secs]
  • Her thoughts on the show?  [1 hours 41 mins 36 secs]
    • Do you think TV comedy is better / worse / just as good as live?
  • Was there a reason why you took the role? [1 hours 43 mins 55 secs]
  • You described yourself as a “Woman rent a gob” on the John Flemming blog. Do you think you were picked to do that as the female judge? [1 hours 45 mins 08 secs]
  • What do you mean by a “rent a gob”? [1 hours 45 mins 08 secs]
    Do you think this happens to comedians? They fill a box or tick a box and keep getting booked as the token women / ethnic act etc [1 hours 45 mins 08 secs]

Chief comedy reviewer for The Scotsman newspaper

  • Do you ever comment on people’s name in a review if you think it doesn’t suit them? [8 mins 36 secs]
  • What mistakes do people make in marketing / titling their Edinburgh Fringe show? [8 mins 36 secs]
  • Why she finds Dapper Laughs so funny. [11 mins 38 secs]
  • Do you listen to PRs? Are they worth the money? [1 hour 29 mins 02 secs]
  • How should we contact you if we want you to come and review it? [1 hour 34 mins 50 secs]
  • Do you think a show can be amazing in 30 minutes? What do you think of the awards that say the show should be an hour? [1 hour 35 mins 42 secs]
    • What makes a good Edinburgh show?
    • What is the difference between a 4 and 5 star show?
    • Should we contact you through the website / newspaper or directly if we want a review?
  • Can we use things you say as quotes? [1 hour 36 mins 52 secs]
  • If you come see a show, but can’t publish a review about it, can we email you for feedback? Quotes? [1 hour 36 mins 52 secs]

Paid vs Free Fringe

  • I’ve been told you’re an advocate of the free fringe. Is this true? Why do you think it’s so valuable? [44 mins] [ 49 mins 40 secs]
    • Peter Buckley Hill
  • Do you think comedy clubs can be free? Which do you enjoy? [45 mins 52 secs]
  • Do you go to “showcase” split shows in Edinburgh or only hours? [47 mins 40 secs]
  • How much freedom do you get from the Scotsland to watch what you’re interested in at the Fringe? [47 mins 47 secs]
  • What are your rules for which shows you will / won’t review? [48 mins 56 secs]
  • Where do you see the Fringe evolving in the next 5 years? More free? More paid? [59 mins 17 secs]
    • What advice would you give someone taking their debut show to the Fringe?
    • You’ve commented on the different types of free fringe, are there ones which you prefer? What do you think of the new kids on the block like Freestival or Bob’s Bookshop?
  • What’s the best way of getting you down to a Fringe show? [58 mins 06 secs]
  • Is it true you won’t come to a show if they’re with Freestival? [53 mins 43 secs]
    • The Man
  • Do you see more comedians going from paid venues to free? [1 hour 00 mins 50 secs]
  • Do you think there’s too much comedy at the Fringe? [1 hour 22 mins 25 secs]
  • Her thoughts on comedy bullying the rest of the Fringe.
  • How does word-of-mouth work for industry? And do you have any advice on how to build a good positive narrative around your show? [1 hour 31 mins 22 secs]
    • Kunt and the gang.

Female Comedians / Feminism

I’ve heard a lot about your views on female comedians and feminism and to be honest, I’d rather ask you directly

  • “I’m not anti-feminist. I just find it very irritating… Not everything is the fault of men.” John Fleming blog
    What is it that annoys you about feminism?

Mama Biashara (Mother Business)

  • What was the thought process that led you to start Mama Biashara, because not everyone knows what it is. [1 hours 48 mins 54 secs]

Social Media

  • What do you think of the internet as a means of finding your audience? [37 mins 24 secs]
  • Her thoughts on how TV has changed in the past 10 years and how the internet is taking the lead. [37 mins 24 secs]
  • The art of banter is being lost [37 mins 24 secs]


  • Best shows you’ve ever seen?
  • Is it true you dislike female stand ups? [21 mins 16 secs]
  • Do you think women will ever “catch up” with men comedically? [26 mins 36 secs]
  • Her thoughts on TV panel shows [16 mins 10 secs] 
  • Do you think it’s the fault of comedians watching TV shows thinking “that’s what I should aim for” because they’re all over the schedule or producers fault for having low budgets and a large number of rubbish comedians who are “telly friendly”? [30 mins 25 secs]

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Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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