Parties: The joker strikes again!

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The Independent Online

Imagine a party where all the guests have spent the preceding month subsisting on pies, whisky, hecklers and rain, and you have something of the if.comedy spirit. It has been an unremittingly wet August in Edinburgh, and there was nothing dry about this party, either.

Champagne, single malt and vodka flowed as an unlikely duo took to the stage at midnight: hands-down genius Clive James and stand-up barbarian Brendon Burns. Only one of them was semi-naked and trussed up in leather, and it wasn't the author of Cultural Amnesia. David O'Doherty's win was announced, to wild whooping, though Ruby Wax was unconvinced – "I thought Rhod Gilbert was the genius on the shortlist. Go figure"; the risotto and curry being handed out impressed her more: "Ritzy – for comedians."

O'Doherty was gently jubilant. "I have to be a pirate in pyjamas at 2pm tomorrow for a kids' show, so I'm holding back." Sarah Millican, newcomer prize winner, was stunned and hungry ("everyone keeps hugging me so I haven't had a chance to eat my dinner"), while perhaps happiest of all was Hannah Chambers Management, agent to them both.

Comedy clusters formed on the dancefloor – We Are Klang here, The Penny Dreadfuls there. Danny Robins and Doc Brown were joined by Doc's famous sister, Zadie Smith, who laughed as Robins told her jokes about circumcision. Most "adults" had by now disappeared, bar Roy Walker. "This month has been fearsome, joyful, incandescent," he said. "I'm reborn as a comedian."

The last entertainment of the night was Andrew J Lederer, who was fined £40 for breaching the peace, by practising some of his bluer material on the bouncers. So tired, so emotional, so Edinburgh.

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