Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s top awards have gone to an Australian and a Mexican-born deaf comedian.
Australian comic Sam Campbell has won the top prize for best comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, whilst hard-of-hearing Mexican-born comedian Lara Ricote scooped the award for best newcomer.
Dave’s Edinburgh comedy awards, which is now in its 40th year, announced that Mr Campbell will receive £10,000, and Ms Ricote will get £5,000.
Ms Ricote’s show, GRL/LATNX/DEF, joked about her disability on stage and said ‘being a minority is very in now’.
She said: ‘I’m a girl, young, a Latina and have a disability so I tick a lot of boxes.
‘But I have to be very vocal about the minorities I’m in. I’m in an interesting place and in a very privileged place.’
Lara Ricote won the best newcomer category at the Dave´s Edinburgh Comedy Awards. (Jane Barlow/PA)
On winning the top prize, Mr Campbell jokingly told the crowd he ‘deserved the award and was expecting it’
On winning the top prize, Mr Campbell jokingly told the crowd he ‘deserved the award and was expecting it’ before correcting himself and saying, ‘no it was a big surprise, it’s insane.’
The announcement of this year’s winners follows the controversy of some of the other acts featured, including comedian Jerry Sadowitz who pulled his penis out on stage.
Mr Sadowitz’s show was cancelled ‘with immediate affect’ after complaints were made, but the comedian insists ‘it was for the purposes of a joke’.
He claims his show had been ‘cheapened and simplified as unsafe, homophobic, misogynistic and racist’.
However a female audience member claimed the American-born Scot called Rishi Sunak a ‘p***’ and claimed ‘the economy was awful because it is run by ‘blacks and women’.
Mr Sadowitz said: ‘I did a 75 minute show for 600 people that went pretty well and left with no hint of anything going wrong.
Jerry Sadowitz’s (pictured) second night at The Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre was pulled
‘In addition to now being told there were multiple walkouts and abuse of staff, my act is now being cheapened and simplified as unsafe, homophobic, misogynistic and racist.
‘A lot of thought goes into my shows and while I don’t always get it right, especially at the speed of which I speak… and I don’t always agree with my own conclusions (!)… I am offended by those who, having never seen me before, HEAR words being shouted in the first five minutes before storming out without LISTENING to the material.
‘The show is what it is, for those who enjoy it. The rest of you… please stick to Carry On films.’
Mr Sadowitz released a statement on Twitter in response to the cancelling of his second show
A comedy musical also caused outrage after it included jokes about the disappearance of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews.
Dark comedy group K*** and the Gang sold out their entire four-week run of ‘Shannon Matthews: The Musical’, which critics called ‘cruel and disgusting’.
Nine-year-old Shannon was the victim of a faked kidnapping by ‘Britain’s worst mother’ Karen Matthews in 2008, who drugged, tied up and hid her own daughter as she plotted to pocket a £50,000 reward.
One of the most outspoken critics included Dewsbury’s Tory MP Mark Eastwood, who helped in the search for missing Shannon in 2008, and local Labour councillor Mussarat Pervaiz who blasted the show’s trivialisation as ‘disgusting’.
Dewsbury West Councillor Ammar Anwar said the musical is ‘bang out of order’ and ‘should have never been allowed’.
Dark comedy group K*** and the Gang have sold out their four-week run of ‘Shannon Matthews: The Musical’ (pictured: A poster for the show) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this month
The performance is based on the true story of the faked abduction of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, who was reported missing in 2008. After a major search, the schoolgirl was found hidden in the base of a bed in a grotty flat just a mile away from her home in Dewsbury, West Yorks. It transpired that her mum Karen Matthews had planned the whole thing with Michael Donovan – her then partner’s uncle – in a bid to split £50,000 reward money.
Despite this, Nica Burns, director of Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, said it had been a ‘truly outstanding international year’.
Speaking about Mr Campbell, the sixth Australian to win the award, she said his show was ‘original, sometimes surreal’ and was full of jokes which were ‘often unexpected’.
She added: ‘He changes gear throughout and takes his audience on a journey of laughter.’
Mr Campbell was presented with his award by Jordan Brookes, who won the last time the awards were presented in 2019, and four-time nominee Russell Kane, who won the 30th anniversary award for best comedy show in 2010.
Sam Campbell was presented with his award by Russell Kane (left) and Jordan Brookes (right). (Jane Barlow/PA)
Ms Burns said Ms Ricote’s debut at the festival had been ‘an absolute delight’, describing her as being ‘completely distinct and very funny’.
The director said: ‘She is a standout performer who happens to be hard of hearing.’
Speaking about the awards overall, she said: ‘We’ve had the widest representation from across the whole country, from Scotland to Sussex and everywhere in between.
‘The panel prize for Best in Class championing and supporting those who cannot afford the cost of performing in Edinburgh has caught the spirit of this year’s Fringe.’
Cherie Cunningham, channel director at Dave, said: ‘We’re over the moon at Dave to be supporting and celebrating these amazing comics.
‘The standard was incredibly high this year and we’re so pleased to crown such deserving winners. We look forward to seeing Lara and Sam on Dave soon.’
And you thought those were bad? As pasta pun tops list of 10 funniest jokes at Edinburgh Fringe, we reveal the other one-liners that didn’t quite make the cut this year – and all of the festival’s best gags since 2008
Every year the Edinburgh Fringe festival awards a prize to the funniest joke and gives an honourable mention to nine runners-up, but some of the corny one-liners don’t always make the cut.
A pun about pasta was named the funniest joke this year, beating out dozens of other gags as the award returned for the first time after the pandemic.
Comedian Masai Graham was voted the winner with his gag: ‘I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta.’
Below are some of the nominations for the Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, that just missed out on a coveted top 10 spot.
The top 10 jokes from Edinburgh Fringe is voted on by the public from a list of jokes drawn up by a panel of judges, here are five that just missed out
Comedian Masai Graham won ‘The Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe award’, which was voted by the public
Previous winners of the funniest joke of the Fringe Award
2019: ‘I keep randomly shouting out ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Cauliflower’ – I think I might have Florets.’ – Olaf Falafel
2018: ‘Working at the jobcentre has to be a tense job, knowing that if you get fired you still have to come in the next day.’ – Adam Rowe
2017: ‘I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.’ – Ken Cheng
2016: ‘My dad suggested I register for a donor card, he’s a man after my own heart.’ – Masai Graham
2015: ‘I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free.’ – Darren Walsh
2014: ‘I’ve decided to sell my hoover – well, it was just collecting dust.’ – Tim Vine
2013: ‘I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa.’ – Rob Auton
2012: ‘You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks.’ – Stewart Francis
2011: ‘I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.’ – Nick Helm
2010: ‘I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.’ – Tim Vine
2009: ‘Hedgehogs – why can’t they just share the hedge?’ – Dan Antolpolski
2008: ‘I can’t believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She’s so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her.’ – Zoe Lyons
The top 10 is voted on by the public from a list of jokes drawn up by a panel of judges, here are five that just missed out.
‘Can you imagine a world with no arts and culture? It would be like living in Portsmouth.’ – Jess Robinson.
‘The Queen can hit a tennis ball further than any other member of the Royal Family. That’s why she’s our longest serving monarch.’ – Masai Graham
‘You have to feel sorry for German cats. What with them having nein lives..’ – Iain MacDonald
‘Do crabs think humans walk sideways? .’ – Olaf Falafel
I told my dad a joke about my crappy childhood, but he just didn’t get it – I suppose you had to be there.’ – Will Mars
The Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe award was back for the first time since 2019
Graham said: ‘It’s great to see the Edinburgh Fringe back up and running again, it’s my spiritual home.’ Pictured: Edinburgh during the Fringe on July 17
This year marks the second time the West Bromwich-born comedian has triumphed after winning in 2016 with his joke: ‘My dad suggested I register for a donor card – he’s a man after my own heart.’
Graham said: ‘It’s great to see the Edinburgh Fringe back up and running again, it’s my spiritual home. I was so delighted to find out I’d won for a second time – I thought, ‘This is getting pasta joke’.’
Critics attended hundreds of shows at the Fringe festival to compile a shortlist, which was voted on by 2,000 members of the public.
None of them was told the names of the comedians in the running for the accolade.
Previous winners of the award, now in its 13th year, include Tim Vine, Ken Cheng, Olaf Falafel, Rob Auton, Stewart Francis, Zoe Lyons and Nick Helm.
Dave channel director Cherie Cunningham said: ‘What a pleasure to be back in Edinburgh. This is Dave’s first Joke of the Fringe in three years and the quality of submissions has been incredibly strong.
‘It’s a fantastic top ten full of newcomers and comedy veterans, and it’s a delight to crown Masai Graham as winner once more.’