Stop me if you've heard this one... Josie back on shortlist

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Josie Long has been nominated for the biggest comedy prize at the Edinburgh Festival for the third year in a row, competing against five "inventive" rivals including a mime and a sketch troupe.

Despite her nominations, Long has never won. She said yesterday: "What a privilege to be on such an incredible comedy awards list! I feel so excited about where comedy is right now if this is the shortlist!"

Other stand-ups on the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist include James Acaster, who has supported Milton Jones on tour, and Canadian Tony Law, who has been likened to Stewart Lee. Pappy's, a sketch troupe, was picked for its Last Show Ever! Advocaat Special, while self-proclaimed "cheer-jerker" Claudia O'Doherty said she was "shocked and excited" to receive a nomination for her show The Telescope.

The anarchic visual humour that has made Doctor Brown a Fringe star in recent years landed him a nomination for Befrdfgth, which has received rave reviews. The American physical comedian and mime is also performing a children's show at the Fringe. Joe Lycett and Ben Target are also vying for a £10,000 prize.

Comedy awards: The nominees

Doctor Brown

The good doctor has made a splash at Edinburgh the past two years, and has returned with another heavily feted show. The Puck-ish performer makes full use of the space in his Befrdfgth show, stealing audience drinks and creating uproar without saying a word. The clowning skills instructor trained with French master clown Philippe Gaulier.

Claudia O'Doherty

The petite Australian is on her third year at the Fringe, this time with an eccentric show, part storytelling, part stand-up, part performance art-breakdown. Don't miss her tips on the best way to arrive at a party where you know no one.

Josie Long

The Kent comedian entered stand-up at the age of 14, and three years later won the BBC New Comedy Award. Now 30, the fringe veteran won the best newcomer award in 2006, and her solo show Romance and Adventure has earned her a third nomination for best show. It also marks more politicised content.

Pappy's

The lively foursome were nominated for the prize in 2007 but have since lost a member (Brendan Dodds). Known for high-octane, lo-fi silliness, this is their tightest, highest concept show yet in which they look back on "Pappy's last show ever" as old men. Sketches include a cynical take on the John Lewis "Always a Woman" advert.

Tony Law

Canadian-born but London-based, Law, 42, has been a stalwart of the scene for over a decade. His show deconstructs a typical comedy gig in trademark surreal, shouty style – offering bad banter, nice heckles and "shock comedy".

James Acaster

A newcomer last year, Acaster, 27, a nerd from Kettering, has one of the most talked-about shows. His neatly formed hour includes meditations on football chants and "the best bread", delivered in an insistent, repetitive style that has seen him compared to a young Stewart Lee.

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