David Hasselhoff, Eddie Izzard, Jimmy Carr to Perform at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival

Eddie Izzard Editorial - P 2012
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Eddie Izzard Editorial - P 2012

The three-week event, the largest arts festival in the world, will also feature a one-man show from a former tabloid reporter who spoke at the Leveson Inquiry.

LONDON - Eddie Izzard, David Hasselhoff, Jimmy Carr and a one-man show from a former tabloid reporter who spoke at the Leveson Inquiry that was started following the phone hacking scandal - those are just some highlights at this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival, which kicks off Friday night.

The three-week annual event in the Scottish capital, formally called Edinburgh Festival Fringe, says it is the largest arts festival in the world.

The festival says it will this year feature a record number of performances in 279 venues with an estimated 22,457 performers. Organizers say online that the festival will feature 42,096 performances overall, with 2,695 shows, up 6 percent from 2011. Comedy once again makes up the biggest percentage with 36 percent of the lineup.

With the Fringe festival running through Aug. 27, it overlaps with the London 2012 Summer Olympics. While some in the industry have wondered how that was going to affect ticket sales,

Kath Mainland, CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, told the BBC: "It is really exciting the Olympics are in London, and it is exciting they are happening at the same time as the world's greatest cultural event."

She added: "We have done some specific London marketing to try to convince people to make the journey, either when the Olympics is on or when it has finished." Last year's Fringe sold a record 1.88 million tickets.

England-born Izzard, along with Carr who was involved in a tax controversy this year, will be among the big comedy stars at the festival, which industry observers often attend to find new talent.

"Very pleased to be doing my first stand up show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 19 years - this Monday at 10.45pm," Izzard tweeted on Friday. The festival's web site in its final program lineup on Friday showed Izzard taking the stage with two international comedy stars - Germany's Michael Mittermeier and South Africa's Trevor Noah.

Mittermeier, one of Germany's biggest comedy names, previously spent some time in New York to develop English-language comedy skills. Beyond the appearance with Izzard, he is at the Fringe to perform his "A German on Safari" in his Fringe debut. The online description of his show promises that "he arrives ready to explore his experiences as a tourist and stand-up all over the world."

Meanwhile, Noah will entertain Edinburgh audiences with "The Racist" in his first Fringe festival. "Coming-of-age in post-apartheid South Africa, Noah shares his story with this exploration of race and place," the festival says.

Hasselhoff will add some Hollywood flavor to the Scottish festival with "An Evening With David Hasselhoff Live" being listed under the event's musical offerings. The Fringe site describes the show as "a glorious hour of singing, dancing and chat with a nice line in irony." It continues: "An intimate, hilarious and fun-filled behind-the-scenes look at his amazing life through media, song, dance and audience interaction. …From the Knight Rider days to Baywatch to Broadway and to the Berlin Wall. Hoff crazy? You bet!"

Edinburgh audiences can also expect some phone hacking scandal humor at this year's Fringe.

Sketch comedy show "How the World Wags" promises jokes across various fields. "From Indiana Jones's return to the office, the grammatically correct footballer and how not to hack a celebrity's voicemail," the description of the show begins.

"One Rogue Reporter," a one-man show by former tabloid staffer Rich Peppiatt, also promises to bring a whiff of phone hacking-related seriousness to the Fringe. Peppiatt is a former Daily Star reporter who shared insights into the life in a tabloid newsroom during the Leveson Inquiry where he drew some laughs with stories about made-up stories.

"Now the former red-top hack pursues redemption by hilariously turning the tables on the tabloid power players, testing the public’s right to know to its eye-opening extremity," the Edinburgh Fringe's web site says.

The show features Peppiatt talking to the audience and showing videos of stunts he played on tabloid editors.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai