John Kearns wins 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award
Win by 2013 Best Newcomer winner marks first time award has gone to Free Fringe show
This article is from 2014.
John Kearns has won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for his show Shtick, currently running at the Voodoo Rooms. The London-based comedian, who won last year’s Best Newcomer award, beat six other finalists – James Acaster, Alex Horne, Sara Pascoe, Liam Williams, Romesh Ranganathan and Sam Simmons – to take the top prize of £10,000. The announcement was made at Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios on Saturday 23 August, when Kearns received his cheque from former winners Frank Skinner and Bridget Christie.
It’s the first time that the award has been won by a comedian on the Free Fringe, and also the first time that a Best Newcomer winner has progressed directly to winning the main comedy award the following year.
Kearns is a former tour guide at the House of Commons who gave up his job in tourism following last year’s Best Newcomer win to concentrate on comedy. His work is hard to classify: The List’s review of Shtick called it ‘a truly lovely piece of work’ but also commented that ‘it’s not simple comedy and Kearns is actually beautifully mournful at times … he notes that in the room there are people who are wondering why the others are laughing’.
Nica Burns, producer of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, called Kearns ‘utterly original, completely captivating and very, very, funny’.
This year’s Best Newcomer is Bostonian comic Alex Edelman, who won the award for his show Millennial, and children’s show Funz and Gamez won the Panel Prize for the show that best represents the ‘Spirit of the Fringe’. Both win cash prizes of £5000.
It’s the 34th year of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards – which in previous incarnations have been called the Perrier and if.Comedy awards – and judging is carried out across 646 eligible Fringe shows by a panel of seven experts from journalism, radio and television as well as three members of the public.