Glasgow International Comedy Festival: Glasgow comedians bring Barlinnie & Low Moss prison stand-up show to a venue near you for the first time

Inspired by Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, the show has been a laugh-riot at prisons across Scotland’s central belt

Johnny Cash move over, six Scottish comedians launched their own prison show - bringing comedy to the many men behind bars in the Scottish Prison Service.

The show, called Wholesome Prison Blues, launched at HMP Low Moss in November after six comedians were inspired by Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues tour in the 60s. Now the show is coming to prisons and comedy venues across Glasgow.

The six comedians running the prison comedy sets are Amanda Hursy, Eddy Mackenzie, Mikey Motion, Paddy Linton, Jack Traynor, and Tattoo Dave. Each act will headline a different night during the festival.

The Wholesome Prison Blues show will play at HMP Barlinnie on March 31 - leading to Glasgow International Comedy Festival listing the Glasgow prison as an official festival venue.

The prison shows are only available to prisoners (who have exhibited good behaviour while imprisoned), meaning those living outside the prison service will be unable to access the shows at Barlinnie or Low Moss.

For those lucky enough to live life not behind bars, the public shows elaborate on the comedian’s time at the shows, sharing funny anecdotes from their gigs as well as their personal experiences with the Scottish Prison Service.

It’s of particular importance to one comedian in the six-man line-up, Patrick (Paddy) Linton, who has personal experience with the Scottish Prison Service, growing up with a father who spent time incarcerated at numerous prisons around the country.

Paddy Linton explained how the Wholesome Prison Blues show came to be, he said:“Aye so the genesis of the show - we were at the Edinburgh Fringe last year, me and a few other comedians, and we were sharing horror stories of people leaving halfway through our our shows on the train back to Glasgow.

"Jack Trainer, one of the boys, said it would be good if you could just lock the doors and have a captive audience. Then someone else brought up Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues - and that’s where it came from.

“We were intending on doing maybe one or two shows - but then it just grew arms and legs. The first show was a bit of a hit and then it spread through the prison service from there.

“They put on a lot of art workshops across Scottish Prisons, but for a lot of the guys in there art isn’t that accessible to them, and stand-up comedy is probably the most accessible art-form for people.”

Some of the Wholesome Prison Blues crew post-performance at HMP PolmontSome of the Wholesome Prison Blues crew post-performance at HMP Polmont
Some of the Wholesome Prison Blues crew post-performance at HMP Polmont

Following the success of the Wholesome Prison Blues tour, the comedians hope to bring the show to areas beyond the central belt of Scotland, up in the Highlands and even to the North of England.

The show has been a resounding success with inmates and the public alike, so much so that the comedians have been asked to host stand-up comedy workshops across the Scottish Prison Service to give incarcerated people a creative outlet - and perhaps even a career option when they are released.

The Wholesome Prison Blues stand-up set will be performed six times over the Glasgow International Comedy Festival - with four public shows and two prison performances. To buy tickets to any of the four public comedy sets, click on the venues below to link through to the ticket sites.

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