So You Think You're Funny? Grand Final (4 stars)

So You Think You're Funny? Grand Final

SYTYF victor Omar Badawy receives his award from 2017 winner Maisie Adam / Picture: Steve Ullathorne

The future of British stand-up and character comedy looks to be in safe hands given the high standard of this year's So You Think You're Funny? finalists

Given that the previous rounds of this year's pre-eminent new-act competition So You Think You're Funny? took place online, the standard in the final was exceptional and bodes well for UK comedy's future. A special mention initially for two comics who truly stood out, justifiably prompting compere Mark Watson to describe them as 'bold'. In my estimation, character comic Kathy Maniura was extremely unlucky not to finish amongst the podium places, with her portrayal of a moth at fashion week and blithe cycling businessman defined by invention, risk and ambition. At the other extreme, Nate Kitch's chess-based anti-comedy and disgust at the conventions of stand-up seemed to just about baffle everybody.

Finishing third, again slightly unluckily I thought, was Andy Watts, whose slightly nervy delivery probably undermined the most densely gag-packed set of the night. In his repertoire were some really smart subversions of stock phrases, with quite a few others coming completely out of leftfield for consistent laughs. Taking the runner-up spot, Rae Brogan has her persona down pat already. Born in Australia to Irish parents, having spent significant time in England but now living in Glasgow, she's a sardonic lesbian whose dry delivery's only use for men is as punchlines to her well-honed set. She may be a little formulaic with her misdirecting pauses before those punches but the writing is beautifully tight. And you can intuit the future potential for expanding some already strong routines about her possibly starting a family or otherwise.

Last on stage but far from least, Omar Badawy scooped the title with a topical, concise portrait of his background, his Egyptian Muslim family having moved to Wales circa 9/11. Through this he exploited the themes of race and religion for droll gags about class, terrorism and sex. With some lovely, imaginative conceits about the hijab and culture clashes between his traditionalist mother and the exhibitionist internet, he brought a consistently entertaining and surprising night to a satisfying conclusion.

So You Think You're Funny? Grand Final took place at Gilded Balloon Teviot, Thursday 26 August.