Comedy Central, Edinburgh Fringe Festival Team Up on Stand-Up Specials

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which takes over the Scottish city's stages and streets every August, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

'Comedy Central at the Edinburgh Fringe' will feature up-and-coming stand-up comedy talent with a virtual audience.

ViacomCBS' Comedy Central International has teamed with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society on a series of specials featuring up-and-coming stand-up comedy talent and a "virtual audience."

The Fringe, considered the world's largest arts festival, typically takes place in August and includes stand-up comedy and other stage productions. But organizers this year called off the event along with Edinburgh's other August festivals, including its book fest, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Comedy Central at the Edinburgh Fringe hopes to provide comedy fans with at least some of the laughs they were looking for this summer. The series of 10 digital specials, which are seven minutes long, will air across Comedy Central International's Facebook, YouTube and Instagram channels on weeknights starting Aug. 17. "The episodes will feature stand-up routines from 10 rising comedians and a host to be announced at a later date," Comedy Central said.

Highlights from the digital series, which will be "pretaped to a live virtual audience of individuals and households hand-picked from the Fringe community and beyond," will also air in a 22-minute linear special on Comedy Central International debuting Aug. 28 in the U.K.

"The Fringe is an incredible platform for creative freedom, and emerging comedic talent is the heart of Comedy Central International, making this a perfect partnership," said Kerry Taylor, executive vp of ViacomCBS Networks International Youth & Entertainment Brands. "This series gives rising comedians a chance to perform as part of the world-renowned Edinburgh Fringe, despite the circumstances this year, and a massive international platform to spotlight their talent and reach new fans around the globe."

Added Shona McCarthy, the CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society: "The Fringe has always been an important platform for emerging comedians. It is a place for talent to grow an audience and connect with the industry, and we're so pleased that initiatives like this are there to ensure that doesn't get lost in 2020. Now more than ever, we need to make sure our artists aren't falling through the cracks, and are still getting as much support as we can offer."

Executive producers of the series are Rebecca Hewett and Craig Orr for Comedy Central International and Chris Jones for production firm Electric Robin.