Raymond Mearns has been genning up. The man regularly found leading the line-up at The Beehive Inn’s Scottish Comedy Festival has this year taken up a second Fringe engagement as a tour guide. And so he hit the books…

Thus we find ourselves on top of a boneshaking red bus, rattling through Edinburgh while the newly fact-pumped comedian serves up a joke-speckled history of Auld Reekie. Among the familiar tales of Greyfriars Bobby and Burke and Hare, there are more esoteric diversions into the history of Edinburgh’s sewerage and San Diego’s donation of an unfortunately named dog statue. There are fewer Fringe anecdotes than were promised, though we do get an amusing tale about what happened to Johnny Vegas’ rider. Nonetheless, it is, even for us jaded locals who thought we knew the place, educational.

This being the Big Red Bistro, food is served too, though it’s harder than you’d think to enjoy comedy while tucking into chilli nachos. Time it wrong and you’re laugh-spurting half-chewed tortilla chips over fellow passengers.

Mearns’ earthy, homegrown humour is a different kettle of fish to the flashy, high concept stuff that makes waves in Fringe circles and all the easier to enjoy because of it. He banters with transatlantic visitors and drops in nuggets of the local lingo that will no doubt find their way into travel tales for the folks back home. They leave punching into their phones to book tickets for his Beehive show later tonight and won’t be disappointed.

As an arts review site, we can’t whole-heartedly recommend a city bus tour when there’s so much else on. But you do need to eat. And if you’re only here once, you do want to see the city. This tour covers all the bases, with the bonus that this fella knows the Fringe.