New name, old style: classic stand-ups vie for Edinburgh prize

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival's premier comedy award has returned to traditional stand-up comedy in its shortlist choices.

This year's nominees for the Intelligent Finance Comedy Awards, announced yesterday, included a "joyously silly" trio, a "naked racist", a GP, a storyteller with a Yamaha keyboard and a sharp improviser.

The awards were formerly known as the Perrier Awards, and the new sponsor comes on board after criticism in recent years over links between Perrier and Nestlé.

Nica Burns, producer of the awards, said this year's shortlist reflected a "huge breadth of comedy talent".

"What we've seen this year is a return to traditional stand-up with fewer acts working through characters," she said. Last year's winning act by Laura Solon consisted of a series of character sketches. Solon was only the second woman to win the award in a solo act.

Nominated this year, Paul Sinha's show, Saint or Sinha?, centres on his cultural identity as both an Asian and "a gay man who does not always fit in with other gay men and loves beer drinking and sports".

Sinha, the first Asian to be shortlisted, is also a part-time GP. In his show he recounts the years he waited before telling his father he was homosexual. The show's subject, he said, was ultimately confessional.

The comedy sketch trio We Are Klang in Klangbang, comprising a former teacher Greg Davies, former call-centre worker Steve Hall and Marek Larwood, came together three years ago after meeting on a comedy course in London. They describe their brand of comedy as decidedly "silly".

Phil Nicol's The Naked Racist is a daring show delivered at break-neck speed about a weekend in Amsterdam. The Canadian comic tells the story of a surreal night with drug addicts, killers and racists in a quiet little hamlet. In 2002 his show, Things I Like I Lick, was nominated for the Perrier Award.

The Dublin-born David O'Doherty, who was nominated as the Perrier best newcomer 2000, describes his misfit worldview in his acts, in which he makes use of a Yamaha keyboard.

Also on the shortlist is Russell Howard, from Bristol, returning to the Fringe with his third successive solo show, Wandering. Hisstand-up, based on sparky improvisation, has been described by critics as "like a chat around a campfire".

"It's about me, and about not fitting in," he said. "It's really comedy about an unusual place in the world and not quite fitting in."

Winners of the awards, which include a best newcomer category and a new panel prize, where judges name the act which captures the comedy spirit of 2006, will be named at midnight on Saturday. Past winners include The League of Gentlemen, Lee Evans, Steve Coogan and Frank Skinner.

Comedy award nominees and their gags

We Are Klang

"We have a character based on a pastiche of Derren Brown and David Blaine called Derren Chillblane who attempts a lot of impressive feats. There is one sketch which is based on Derren Brown's 'Russian Roulette' in which he attempts to drink five glasses of spring water and avoid the one glass with piss in it."

Paul Sinha

"I don't consider myself old but when I was at school, the closest thing we got to a computer was a little Sri Lankan kid who was really good at maths."

David O'Doherty

"I like the Ten Commandments but I have a problem with the ninth. It should be: 'Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's ox, except in scrabble'."

Phil Nicol

"Political correctness is a primarily Marxist concept introduced so that university students wouldn't step out of the party line."

Russell Howard

"I read something the other day about a guy who got put into prison for three days because he refused to stop kissing his boyfriend on a plane to South Africa. It's completely true and I liked the idea of being put in prison for love. It evoked images of him in latex, the others saying, 'stop doing that, it's not natural', and him saying, 'you're flying'."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an innovative a...

Recruitment Genius: Production Technician

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Production Technician is required to join a ...

Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer - Hosted Telecommunications

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for a Ne...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor / Partner - Cheltenham

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: A very rare high level opportunity with a fir...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower