So the Edinburgh Festival draws to a close for another year. The final weekend saw a whole array of awards being presented and futures being temporarily flipped on their heads. The Edinburgh Comedy Awards are perhaps the most prolific of the entire arts festival and the effects of winning either the overall award for best show or the prize for best newcomer results in a great deal of publicity and ticket sales for the next year and beyond. Nominations for both titles this year, which were announced on Wednesday (26th August) with winner announced yesterday, were as strong as ever.
Those shortlisted for the award for Best Comedy Show were James Acaster, Joseph Morpurgo, Kieran Hodgson, Nish Kumar, Sam Simmons, Sarah Kendall, Seymour Mace and Trygve Wakenshaw. A diverse list, to say the least, with two of the comics above coming from Australia and another one being a mime act from New Zealand. Sam Simmons (who was MoodyComedy’s Comedian Of The Month this March) took the award along with the £10,000 prize, which was presented by last year’s winner John Kearns, for his bustling, surreal show Spaghetti For Breakfast. This was the third time the comic had been nominated for Best Show, much like James Acaster who’s show Represent saw him nominated for the fourth time, showing the high calibre of nominees.
The award for Best Newcomer is one that has proven itself time and time again to completely catapult the careers of the world’s brightest new talent. ‘New’ that is, at least, in terms of being newly recognised. A quick glance at the list of previous winners will demonstrate to any cynic that this award is not to be overlooked. Winners over the 35 years that the award has been running have included Sarah Millican, Harry Hill, Tim Minchin, The Mighty Boosh and Josie Long. This year saw Danish stand up Sofie Hagen claim the crown for Best Newcomer with her debut show Bubblewrap. Sofie’s show has been delighting audiences with her refreshing take on growing up into a proper adult and issues such as body image and the stigma around mental health. You can catch my interview with Sofie Hagen here.
And finally, the winner of the Panel Prize was Karen Koren who has worked as the founder and artistic director of the Guilded Balloon for the past 30 years. The Guilded Balloon also saw the launch of the So You Think You’re Funny? competition which has been running for 28 years.
A full list of past nominees and winners is available on the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards website.