Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2018: who missed out [gasp] and who will win

Opinion: Edinburgh Comedy Awards nominees are a bit meh

Ciaran Dowd as Don Rodolfo / credit: Idil Sukan

The List's comedy editor breaks down this year's nominees and offers some tea and sympathy for those who didn't get the nod

So, here we arrive at the annual 'how could they have not put so-and-so on the shortlist?' bunfight as the Edinburgh Comedy Award nominations are announced. Of those who made the main award shortlist, it looks wide open with some strong shows nudging up against surprise inclusions.

Alex Edelman's Just for Us was muttered about as a possible contender even before the Fringe started after an acclaimed showing in Melbourne earlier this year, and there's certainly no reason to discount him now. Ahir Shah follows up his 2017 debut appearance on the main list with Duffer, an hour abut life, death and 'Bohemian Rhapsody', while Kieran Hodgson makes his third appearance in a row as a nominee, this time for '75, his vibrant take on UK-Europe relations. Popular New Zealander Rose Matafeo gets the judges' nod for her musing on relationships, and is joined by fellow antipodean Felicity Ward, while the only Scot on either list is Larry Dean with his story about lost love. In terms of gags-per-second, it's unlikely any contender will match Glenn Moore: he could be given the gong for his title alone: Glenn Glenn Glenn, How Do You Like It, How Do You Like It (ask your parents if you don't get the reference).

While a case can be made that comedians are always playing someone other than themselves on stage, the sole out-and-out character act on either list is Ciarán Dowd, the Irish member of the BEASTS sketch team, with his joyous turn as Don Rodolfo, a sword-wielding loser Lothario. Joining him on the six-strong shortlist are five female comics: Sindhu Vee with a fresh take on family life in Sandhog, Maisie Adam who this month has already nabbed an Amused Moose award on top of winning last year's So You Think You're Funny prize, Olga Koch discussing her Russian heritage in Fight, New York storyteller Sara Barron, and Sarah Keyworth's ruminations on gender identity with Dark Horse.

Now for the whining to commence. Perhaps not wanting to breach some unofficial only-two-antipodeans-rule on the main list is the only reason Laura Davis didn't make it for her excellent Ghost Machine (maybe she'll get the panel prize for the only act to perform as a spectre this August) while flabbers have been literally gasted at the omission of our two five-star comedy shows this year, Natalie Palamides' Nate and Jordan Brookes' Bleed, both of which made for often uncomfortable but always compelling viewing.

Perhaps the mad-title rule only stretches to one show with Glenn Moore edging out John-Luke Roberts for his fabulous All I Wanna Do Is [FX: GUNSHOTS] With a [FX: GUN RELOADING] and a [FX: CASH REGISTER] and Perform Some Comedy! Other soloists who might have been in with a shout include Daniel Cook, Lucy Pearman, Lauren Pattison, Brennan Reece, Ed Gamble and Alfie Brown, while sketch has been totally ignored despite very fine offerings from The Pin, Lazy Susan and Sheeps.

Still, such handwringing is a largely pointless exercise and whoever is victorious on Saturday afternoon will do so with our best wishes. While a double-bill of Alex Edelman and Maisie Adam would go down well around these parts, it wouldn't be too much of a shock to see Rose Matafeo and Sarah Keyworth on the winners' podium.

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