Third time lucky for comic Kane

The Edinburgh Comedy Award goes to stand-up's intensely personal show about his late father

Russell Kane won one of comedy's most prestigious awards yesterday for his deeply personal show about his father, a Butlins Redcoat who died before seeing his son perform as a professional comic.

It was the third time in four years on the circuit that Kane had been nominated at the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The former marketing man landed the top £10,000 prize for Best Show, a surprise result as industry insiders had largely expected it to go to Bo Burnham, a 20-year-old American whose YouTube website has collected 60 million-plus hits in only a few years.

"I cannot believe I've won," Kane said as he held up the trophy and ran through a list of thanks. The other runners-up were Josie Long, Greg Davies and Sarah Millican.

Kane, 30, has constructed shows about how he grew up in a working-class home on a housing estate and was the first member of his family to attend university.

"I hope I didn't cause too many polarising arguments," he said in his acceptance speech. "It's many thanks to my family, especially my mum for letting me say all that really personal stuff on stage. I don't invent anything. I have to get her permission for every story."

He read English at Middlesex University and spent a few years as a copywriter before becoming a full-time stand-up in 2006.

West End impresario Nica Burns, the organiser of the awards, said: "Russell Kane takes the audience by storm with his boundless energy and enthusiasm. It's an extremely funny show from a very talented comic. It took a very impassioned, intense debate to select the nominees from a strong and diverse long-list. This will be remembered as a vintage year for comedy."

Much of the winning show, Smokescreens and Castles, is about his father's British bulldog attitudes and repressed masculinity. Kane describes their relationship as "difficult, and full of silent love". He said that there were some sections of the show that he finds difficult to perform because they are so personal.

"I really worked my tits off this year," he said as he received the award from Al Murray, a winner of the award in 1999. Recently married, Kane thanked his wife, Sadie, and afterwards credited the Hoffman Process, an intensive life-training course, in helping him to overcome his performance nerves and focus his writing into much more autobiographical material. Kane couldn't resist having a dig at a Guardian critic who dislikes his high-energy, wordy performances, saying the process had helped him to remove the "vertiginous verbosity".

The Spirit of the Fringe award went to Burnham, whose hugely accomplished show of music and comedy got five-star reviews and has been sold out for its entire run. He started performing skits for his family at the age of three. "He has used every trick in the book and has done something a bit bonkers in the spirit of the Fringe," said one judge, the critic Stephen Armstrong.

A new award, the Comedy God, has been introduced to celebrate 30 years of the awards, formerly the Perriers. Decided by public vote, it has been ridiculed by comics including Stewart Lee and Robin Ince, who suggested people vote for the most obscure act ever nominated – the Frank Chickens, a Japanese sketch group nominated in 1985. That award is announced today.

The best newcomer award went to 31-year-old Londoner Roisin Conaty, who formerly worked as an office manager. There were 416 eligible shows for the awards, and tickets sales were surprisingly healthy despite the economic downturn.

Ms Burns said: "In a diverse and highly talented shortlist, Roisin impressed the panel with her ability to make the audience laugh at her daily struggle to understand life. She is charming, charismatic and popular."

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
Arts and Entertainment
Fake Banksy stencil given to artist Alex Jakob-Whitworth

art

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links