Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist 2019: who will win the prestigious prize?

This article is from 2019

Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist 2019: who will win the prestigious prize?

London Hughes / credit: Karla Gowlett

The List's Comedy Editor breaks down this year's nominees and makes his predictions

The shortlists for this year's Edinburgh Comedy Awards (the first from new sponsor Dave) are being rightly lauded for diversity both in terms of humans and also comedy styles. That victory for variety falls down dramatically when you consider that of the 17 nominees across the Main Award and Best Newcomer prizes, 13 come from the same venue: the Pleasance has long been a behemoth when it comes to the Fringe comedy scene, but this year's domination is quite unique. Remarkably there's no representation for Underbelly, Assembly, The Stand or Just the Tonic venues, while Monkey Barrel takes two of the Main Award spots and Gilded Balloon one, with a single Heroes show completing the picture.

Where this leaves the August comedy scene is a debate for another day. For now, we're left with two impressive and varied lists. In the Main Award selection, sketch makes a welcome return with the strong shows by The Delightful Sausage and Goodbear being rewarded, while prop comic Spencer Jones also makes the cut alongside stand-up innovator Jordan Brookes who makes his second appearance on the list after his 2017 nomination. London Hughes has made waves with her frank set To Catch a D*ck, while Jessica Fostekew's Hench has been well received. Ivo Graham finally gets a spot on either of the shortlists while Australian Demi Lardner and Brit Darren Harriott (a Newcomer nominee in 2017) are probably outsiders for the prize.

Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist 2019: who will win the prestigious prize?

Janine Harouni / credit: James Deacon

On the Best Newcomer list, half of the nominees are solo women comics, with Janine Harouni leading the way having already picked up two prizes this month (the Amused Moose Comedy Award and the BBC Introducing Radio 4 Comedy Award, to give it its full title), while the appearance on the list of Catherine Cohen (a comic singer who appears weekly at Alan Cumming's Manhattan club) should surprise no one. Sophie Duker has charmed crowds with Venus and Helen Bauer has provided straight down-the-line entertainment with Little Miss Baby Angel Face. Crybabies are the sole sketch group in the Newcomer gang, while the accomplished Nigel Ng, droll musical comic Huge Davies and social commentator Michael Odewale make up the group.

Inevitably, there will be some grumbles about those who missed out: the lack of Scottish representation is a disappointment with Fern Brady in particular having had a good August, while Phil Wang, Zoë Coombs Marr, Catherine Bohart, and horror sketch troupe Tarot can all feel unlucky not to have made the Main Award list.

So, who's going to win? The big prize looks pretty wide open but London Hughes or Spencer Jones have winners' vibes about them, while the Newcomer award looks more of a closed shop with Janine Harouni and Catherine Cohen looking set to go head to head for that gong.

The Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Awards are announced on Sat 24 Aug.