The National:

A SCOTTISH comedian summed up perfectly why missing out on Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party might not be the worst thing.

In regular times, the street party would attract thousands of Scots and visitors from around the world for a night of live music.

Since there's a global pandemic and record numbers of cases of Covid, the Scottish Government took the sensible decision - along with other devolved nations - to put restrictions on the number of people that can go to live events.

In an interview at The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh, Vladimir McTavish was asked what Scotland loses by missing out on the high profile party that shuts down streets in the capital to celebrate the new year.

Not one to hold his tongue, McTavish responded to the Sky News interviewer: "Potentially it loses a fourth wave of the pandemic."

READ MORE: Scotland welcomes New Year's babies - including one born on stroke of midnight

He then insinuated that the idea of thousands of people bunched up together and "licking each other's faces in the middle of a global plague" was quite clearly a bad idea.

He added: "People will make their own entertainment and the thing about the street party is it's not a Scottish thing really.

"Hogmanay in Scotland is about being with friends and family. Okay, it brings a load of tourists and brings money into the city, but all that money goes down to London at the end of the day because the company that puts on the street festival is Underbelly and they take all the money out the city."

While Underbelly prides itself on running events like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Hogmanay party, a look at where the company is registered shows an address in London with its current directors also residing in the city.

The last time the Hogmanay street party was held in Edinburgh in 2019, it attracted 75,000 people.

Capacity at the event was limited to 30,000 with tickets costing £25.50 for non-Edinburgh residents.

It had to be cancelled due to restrictions announced before Christmas that limited the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings to 500.

READ MORE: Why Christmas was banned in Scotland for four centuries - and how that changed

Sky News Scotland correspondent James Matthews attempted to move the interview onto something a little more light-hearted by asking the comedians what their "favourite gag" of 2021 had been.

McTavish, a consummate professional comic, took the softball question as an opportunity to take a dig at the leader of the UK Government.

He said: "Just the theory that Boris Johnson made up having Covid. Because it would be impossible to diagnose the guy with coronavirus. He's a walking list of every single known symptom: sweaty, out of breath and totally lacking any sense of taste whatsoever."

He got a laugh out of that from Matthews, but it did seem like a slightly nervous one.