How a new generation of comedy stars reinvented stand-up in 2018

New stars: Ahir Shah (left), Rose Matafeo and John-Luke Roberts
New stars: Ahir Shah (left), Rose Matafeo and John-Luke Roberts

Billy Connolly this month announced his retirement from touring. Who today can fill the Big Yin's shoes? After judging the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards – the art form's most coveted prize – I'm convinced the next generation of big names is already here.

As ever, the Edinburgh Fringe was a hotbed of experimentation, full of comics who treat a punchline the way Heston Blumenthal treats food. The best of that ilk this year was John-Luke Roberts, whose Byzantine solo sketch-show revives the clever-clever silliness of Monty Python. By contrast, the Fringe's most hyped left-field offerings – such as Jordan Brookes's creepy, hi-tech Bleed, and young absurdist Sam Campbell's award-winning The Trough –...

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