EP 03 – Julian Hall (comedy reviewer for The Independent newspaper / Fringe PR expert / Author)

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EP 03 – Julian Hall (comedy reviewer for The Independent newspaper / Fringe PR expert / Author)

Total run time: 2 hours 15 minutes.

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About Julian Hall…

Julian Hall entered the comedy industry in 2003 as the the comedy critic for the .Independent newspaper, a position he held for 11 years. In that time he also wrote for The List and other magazines and penned a book called The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy.

In 2014 he moved away from journalism to  PR or as he puts it “game keeper turned poacher”. He now offers PR, publicity and marketing advice to performers looking at taking a show up to the Edinburgh Fringe. You can contact him through his website or email address.

Here are a list of the questions we covered…

Ex comedy reviewer for The Independent Newspaper

  • What’s the sign of a good review? [14 mins 30 secs]
  • Do you think about how performers might use your reviews when you write them? [19 mins 27 secs]
  • If there’s a misquoted pull quote do you call an act up on it? [22 mins 46 secs]
  • What do you think makes a 5 star show?  [31 mins 04 secs]
  1. Stewart Lee
  2. Daniel Kitson
  • What do you think of star rating systems? [26 mins]
  • What’s the pull of the Free Fringe vs paid fringe for reviewers? [53 mins 18 secs]
  • Do you think performers should get a say if they don’t want to get reviewed? [1 hour 2 mins 40 secs]
  • How do the Fosters award work and what do you do for it? [1 hour 50 mins 45 secs]
  • Do you have to cover who the paper want?  Or can you suggest some shows if you think they need covering? [1 hour 32 mins 30 secs]
  • How would someone go about contacting you to come see / review a show? [2 hours 9 mins 40 secs]
  • Do you prefer watching previews or finished shows? [2 hours 9 mins 40 secs]

Edinburgh Fringe PR

  • What’s the line between a PR and an agent in Edinburgh? [7 minutes 18 secs]
  • Do you go through reviews with your act? [13 mins 25 secs]
  • How did Luisa Omielan go from no coverage to a cult hit show? [57 mins 15 secs]
  • What kind of show do you take on? Why do you think these are your strong point? [1 hour 5 mins 12 secs] & [1 hour 8 mins]
  • What kind of acts do you turn down and do you give feedback? [1 hour 6 mins 38 secs]
  • Do you help get agents down to shows? [1 hour 27 mins]
  • What stage should I talk to you about being my PR? [1 hour 53 mins 48 secs]
  • You offer help writing press releases, which is something of a stumbling block for acts. As a reviewer is there anything you’re looking out for in a press release? What do you think should be included / not included? [1 hour 30 mins 40 secs]
  • You also do media stunts, what is your favourite you’ve done or heard about? [1 hour 53 mins]
  • What makes a good media stunt? Is it just being over the top or eye catching? [1 hour 55 mins 55 secs]
  • Thoughts on Malcolm Hardee Stunts & the award. [2 hours]
  • What is your relationship with Laughing Horse? [1 hour 27 mins 50 secs]
  • Do you send friends who are reviewers to shows? [46 mins]
  • What advice do you have to someone who is doing their first show? [1 hour 4mins 32 secs]

Author [The Rough Guide To British Cult Comedy]

  • Do you do PR for books? [1 hour 37 mins 48 sec]
  1. Beyond a Joke by Bruce Dessau
  • A lot of comedians I know also want to write books, what advice would you give them on approaching publishers vs agencies? [1 hour 42 mins]
  • Books you’d recommend. [1 hour 46 mins 34 secs]
  1. Frank Skinner biography
  2. Bruce Dessau books

Edinburgh (and other festivals)…

  • What’s your favourite type of comedian? [36 mins 13 secs]
  1. Bill Hicks
  2. Doug Stanhope
  3. Bill Burr
  • What shows did you take up? And what did you do to help them? [1 hour 10 mins 30 secs]
  1. Rebecca Humphries – Dizney Rascal
  2. An Evening With Patti DuPont
  3. Lights and Darks.
  4. Joe Bor
  5. Spencer Brown
  6. Dave Griffiths
  7. Spencer Jones is a herbert
  8. Richard Gadd: Breaking Gadd
  • What attracts you to go and watch a show? [41 mins 54 secs] & [48 mins 12 secs]
  1. Liam Williams
  2. John Kearns
  3. Luisa Omielan
  • Podcasts you’d recommend [1 hour 50 mins]
  1. Marc Maron podcast.
  2. Stu Goldsmith – Comedian Comedian podcast
  • What people did you stumble upon which you were blown away by? [37 mins 22 secs]
  1. Maria Bamford
  2. John Oliver
  3. Pappy’s Last Show Ever

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If you liked this you might also like…

Previous Podcast
LH Back Londonist Back
EP 02 – Alex Petty (Founder of Laughing Horse Comedy Clubs and the Edinburgh Free Fringe)



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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