Struan Erlenborn interviews St Andrews Comedy Society members Ed Fry and Jonathan Hewitt while drinking incredibly sweet coffees at The Bean Room.


This year, the St Andrews Comedy Society popped up on the performance scene.  It was novel as a fourth year to see the emergence of a new performance society, especially one that I believe has been long overdue.  The calibre of comedy at St Andrews is well documented.  Blind Mirth, for example, are a consistent hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  The Revue regularly provides us with hilarious shorts (my favourite being the Wolf of South Street) that gives us something new to talk about in our daily conversation.  Although these comedy groups have quite a bit of overlap in membership, it is surprising that until now nothing more than this has brought the groups under the same roof.  I was interested in finding out more information on what Comedy Soc is about, so I sat down with Ed Fry, founder and president, and Jonathan Hewitt, secretary, to learn more.

For Ed, comedy started at St Andrews.  He had no formal comedy practice in school.  At St Andrews, he started with Mermaids shows.  He found himself gravitating to plays that held parts for comedic characters which led him towards Blind Mirth and The Revue, which were both a part of his first year.

So what was the reason behind creating the Comedy Soc?  With the undeniable talent available in St Andrews comedy, Ed believed that well established and new groups alike should be able to benefit from a funding body.  Like Mermaids, Comedy Soc seeks to support comedy endeavours financially.  The presence of Comedy Soc is meant to enable students not a part of Blind Mirth or The Revue to start their own comedy projects that a funding body like Mermaids (which is historically theatrical rather than comedic) would be less likely to support.  We’ve seen the blossoming of Salvator News this year.  An unbiased and breaking news outlet, Salvator has become the first big project to come of Comedy Soc.  Their goal is to provide a gripping alternative to satire news sites such as The Saint and providing an outlet for St Andrews journalists who believe that they can contribute to the high quality reporting that Salvator strives for.

You might have seen advertisements for the upcoming Bargain Ball, another Comedy Soc project that attempt to subvert expectations we have as St Andrews students for balls.  There’s no charity affiliation, cheap tickets, and comedy and performances the whole night through.  There will be three different price ranges: scum, regular, and regular plus (which gains you access to a Lambrini reception to start the night).  Prepare for a big night.

Jonathan gave me some of his thoughts for what he wants the future of Comedy Soc to hold.  Ed is in his final year and will be passing the torch off to other members soon.  Jonathan hopes for a continued focus on the establishment of a professional, not just comedic, atmosphere for the Society.  He hopes for greater support and connection between Blind Mirth and The Revue with the end goal being national recognition of each.  Finally, he hopes the Society continues to strive to make the creation of new comedy in St Andrews economically feasible for anyone interested.

Interested in getting involved in the Comedy Society?  Email for inquiries and follow them on Twitter @St_ComedySoc.



Struan Erlenborn