Stewart Lee to headline comedy gig for SNP depute contender Tommy Sheppard


Gig to raise cash for depute leadership campaign

CRITICALLY acclaimed comedian Stewart Lee will head up a comedy night to raise funds for Tommy Sheppard’s campaign to be depute leader of the SNP.

The gig will see seven comedians including Lee, Mark Nelson, Jo Caulfield, Andy Zaltzman, Fern Brady, Josie Long and JoJo Sutherland perform together after an introduction by Sheppard on Saturday 27 August.

The gig will take place at The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh – which Sheppard co-founded – with proceeds going towards Sheppards campaign to be elected depute leader at the SNP’s conference in October.

Explaining his motivation to organise the gig, Sheppard said: “The campaign is costing a wee bit more than I had thought, and my campaign has no establishment or big money backers, it depends entirely on what I get from supporters.

“The Festival is here and some friends from the past are about, so I thought it would be nice to ask them to do this gig.”

Sheppard co-founded the The Stand, a famous comedy venue in Edinburgh, in 1995 and worked as a comedy promoter alongside a lengthy career as a political activist in the Labour party. He later joined the SNP and was elected as MP for Edinburgh East in 2015, but has come out of comedy promotion retirement for the benefit gig.

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For several of the comedians at the gig including Lee, the performance will be their last during the festival period, which closes at the end of August, as their own shows have sold out.

Sheppard said that the gig would likely have some political content but not be too serious.

He said: “The comedians are pretty much all satirists of one kind or another, but I’m sure there’ll be some general silliness in there as well.”

Sheppard’s campaign has focused so far on re-engaging the party membership, and transforming it into an activist body sufficiently organised to campaign in a future independence referendum. His plans include full-time organisers at local and national level, with local organisers under the control of branch members.

“I’m very happy with level of support I’ve been receiving. There are a lot of people in agreement with the ideas I’m putting forward,” Sheppard said.

Other candidates in the leadership race are MEP Alyn Smith, leader of the party’s Westminster group Angus Robertson MP and Inverclyde councillor Chris McEleny.

Around half of the available tickets for the gig had been sold by time of publication, and remaining tickets can be purchased here.

Picture courtesy of Mc-Q

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