Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Awards stand up for stand-up


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The Independent Culture

Stand-up has returned to dominate Edinburgh’s showcase comedy awards after a big year for mime in 2012, with one shortlisted comedian even bringing back mother-in-law jokes.

The 33rd Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlists for best comedy show and newcomer were revealed today after almost seven hours of debate among the judges, who included The Independent’s Alice Jones.

This was the longest debate in the history of the awards, according to its producer Nica Burns, and went to an “unprecedented” second vote.

The shortlist comprised seven acts, two more than normal, and the longest list since Lee Evans won in 1993. They will be vying for the £10,000 cash prize, with five newcomers competing for a £5,000 cash prize. Former winners of the award include Steve Coogan and The League of Gentlemen. Last year, physical comedian Doctor Brown became the first non-speaking comedian to win the award.

1. Bridget Christie – ‘A Bic for Her’

Christie revealed earlier this year that she almost quit stand-up, but her new show has received rave reviews. A Bic for Her marks her ninth year bringing a show to the Fringe, and the subject is a witty take on the emancipation of women.  She is married to fellow comedian Stewart Lee.

2. Carl Donnelly - ‘Now That’s What I Carl Donnelly! Volume V’

Donnelly’s fifth Edinburgh show “isn’t really about anything,” he admits in his act. It covers a range of current affairs topics from Operation Yewtree to gay marriage as well as the recent break-up with his wife. He was nominated for best newcomer at the Fringe in 2009.

3. James Acaster – ‘Lawnmower’

The Kettering-born comedian secures his second nomination in a row, despite only debuting at the Fringe in 2011. In Lawnmower he sets out to clear Yoko Ono of the blame for the break-up of the Beatles. The Independent’s comedy critic wrote that Acaster’s latest work is “equally kooky” as last year’s show.

4. Max and Ivan - ‘The Reunion’

The narrative sketch comedy duo, who won the Foster’s panel prize in 2011, have brought a show about love, loss and shatterproof rulers. The pair have compered at the Hammersmith Apollo and played sell out runs in the West End. Their credits include Badults on BBC Three and Sketchorama on Radio 4.

5. Mike Wozniak – Take The Hit

Wozniak took his first show to the Fringe in 2008 and shortly after was awarded the Time Out New Act of the Year Award. His act, from behind a velvet bow-tie and a bushy moustache, comprises an hour of mother-in-law jokes about his wife’s parents moving into his house. He will be seen in forthcoming Channel 4 sitcom Man Down.

6. Nick Helm - ‘One Man Mega Myth’

Helm just missed out on the main comedy award in 2011 only to disappoint with his 2012 show. The new show, however, has been described as a return to form. The show deals with Helm’s relationship with the Edinburgh Fringe in his trademark style of bellowed jokes  and pyrotechnics.

7. Seann Walsh: ‘The Lie-in King’

The 26-year-old stand-up will be a familiar face to many after performing on Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow while he has a new Comedy Central series coming up. The Lie-in King is his fourth Edinburgh show.