Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist a strong gathering led by Bo Burnham and Josie Long

This article is from 2010

Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist a strong gathering

Josie Long

2010 awards puts two women on shortlist for first time

According to Nica Burns, producer of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, 2010 is ‘a vintage year for comedy,’ and the shortlist for the main award ‘reflects the enormous changes in the comedy landscape’. Of course, this might just be the kind of hyperbole that puts a smile on the face of a new sponsor, but there might actually be something in those excitable words. Never mind the quintet of acts who have floated to the top after what Burns called ‘an impassioned, intense debate’, consider those who didn’t make it onto the shortlist.

Jonny Sweet followed up his Best Newcomer win from last year with a glorious PowerPoint affair while his fellow Invisible Dotter John-Luke Roberts, managed to stay the right side of oddball with a delightful show which featured murder and insults; Keith Farnan stuck some great jokes into an ostensibly serious set about misogyny; there were moving and funny shows by performance poets Tim Clare and Ross Sutherland and some nifty sketch stuff with Addicted to Danger! and The Three Englishmen; either one of the Scandic funnymen Dag Sørås and Magnus Betnér wouldn’t have looked out of place in the final line-up. And there was also plenty of acclaim for these folk across the reviewing spectrum: Kevin Eldon, Carl Donnelly, Bridget Christie, Des Bishop, Celia Pacquola and Miles Jupp.

But ultimately, this year’s main award shortlist is a pretty strong gathering with much attention no doubt focused on there being two women nominated for the first time ever. It’s unlikely that torch-waving hordes will take to the streets seeking bloody retribution should Josie Long or Sarah Millican win on Saturday afternoon. The tallest man in comedy, We Are Klang’s Greg Davies, might swing it as the people’s champion while now thrice-nominated Russell Kane seems to be shaping up as the next Al Murray and Rich Hall: maybe he needs to get nominated just one more time before they give it to him?

But, to this watcher, that ‘impassioned, intense debate’ must surely have been limited to a massive bunfight over which four acts would join Bo Burnham on the shortlist? Not since Demetri Martin in 2003 has a comedy act taken Edinburgh by such storm in the first ten days, with a mixture of word-of-mouth praise and a quartet of five-stars to his name from the respectable end of the Fringe reviewing spectrum ensuring full houses all the way.

As for the Best Newcomer Awards, there is one very good reason to keep everything on your body crossed for The Boy With Tape on His Face to emerge victorious: that acceptance speech will be a doozy.

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