Press launches can be a bit hit and miss. They are usually packed (hot and sweaty, uncomfortable seats), go on for a bit long and often feature long, rambling and boring speeches by the directors. There are also advantages beyond the free drink. You meet up with long-lost (at least since last August) friends. Though of course Facebook has to some extent taken over that role from the Fringe press launch.

The main benefit is you get bite-size tasters of the acts and performers. A dim sum of shows. That does work both ways though. You might write off an entire production based on a dodgy 5 minute slot. The not so happy medium I referred to in an earlier blog would have packed up and gone home based on his experience at the Assembly launch. I blame John Knox for that one. I think his spirit, aghast at the thought of such an event taking place in The Church of Scotland Assembly Hall, blocked all the other spirits from coming through. Just out of interest -  why did the Church name their meeting place after the Burdett-Coutts enterprise? Yes, I know! However, I was once asked why they built the castle so close to the railway line. The questioner was of an American persuasion though I am sure that is not relevant.

Anyhoo, back to the launch benefits and the hors-d'ouves. I got to see three performers, whose little bits made me want to see more. Nina Conti, who has been around for a while but somehow I was never attracted to her vent act. Over-exposure to Keith Harris and Orville, when I was a child , I suppose. Though, I did have a penchant for Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop. Anyway, her five minutes, were enormously appealing. So much so, that I rushed out and bought (yes bought - we don't cover comedy on WoS) the last 4 tickets to her show that evening. Her full banquet lived up to the appetizer. And her wee,  Scottish granny, as my wee Scottish granny used to say 'would bring a tear to a gless ee'. (gless, Scots for glass, ee, Scots for eye). She was the same granny who put paid to the myth espoused in the traditional Scots song 'Oh, ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus'.

Charlyne Yi brightened up the Assembly event no end and I'll be there to see if her tapas of surreal humour, songs and winning personality can entertain me for a full hour. I'm sure she will. As I am sure will Susan Calman, the Glasgow (and incidentally lesbian) comedian. Think a wee Jimmy Krankie for our times. Don't let me down girls - I'm paying for tickets and bringing friends.

- Keith Paterson