Edinburgh Festival Day 15: Apparently ..

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The Independent Culture
THE FAVOURITE of critics, comics and punters alike, Lee Evans is the most popular Perrier Award winner for several years. Now the happy recipient of pounds 3,000 and a West End run at the Purcell Room from 28 September, he describes his feelings the morning after the announcement as a mixture of 'shock, excitement and relief'. Hotly tipped as a winner since the beginning of the festival, Evans says the four shows directly after he received the news of being shortlisted were the worst he did. 'You're really under the microscope. All the nutters come and say, 'Perrier shortlisted? Oh yeah - why? ' ' Now that the pressure's off from that point of view, there might be the sour grapes of fellow comedians to contend with, but Evans has paid his comedy dues on the circuit ('being shouted at and having stuff thrown at me'), and is liked and respected by his peers for his professionalism and skill: 'I don't think I've got an enemy among the comics.' He is a consummate technician. Writing all his own material (without the help of a director), he constantly works on new material. 'I carry a notebook and watch people, what they do with heavy suitcases and that, then I write it down. I've nearly got into fights because of it.' Now 27, Lee Evans learnt the tools of the trade on the mainstream circuit, then was taken on at the Comedy Store after doing an open spot. Now he is turning his attention to film, with one written for Granada and more in the pipeline. So what will he get out of winning the Perrier Award? 'I hope it's going to further my creativity. Television isn't the be-all and end-all, it's the art you do that's important and where I want to go with it.'

HE WHO lives by the telephone dies by the telephone, as Scottish stand-up Phil Kaye discovered on Saturday during the part of his act where he usually phones an unsuspecting member of the public. Kaye was in full flow when his on-stage telephone rang. He picked up the receiver to find Perrier Award director Nica Burns on the line telling him - and the audience, since the phone is wired to the PA - that he had not won the coveted comedy gong. Kaye took this with remarkably good humour, leaving it to his audience to give their reaction in two short words. Lee Evans's victory was not announced until midnight, two hours later. He receives a cheque for pounds 3,000 and will headline the Perrier Pick of the Fringe season at the Purcell Rooms in London next month.

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