Open Mic king crowned

Ex-Footlighter Watson takes title

Mark Watson has won the Daily Telegraph Open Mic award for new stand-ups.

The 22-year-old from Bristol - though he claims to be Welsh on stage - wins £2,000 and trips to the Melbourne and Montreal comedy festivals.

He's no stranger to awards, being a member of last year's Cambridge Footlights show Far Too Happy, which was nominated for the Perrier for best newcomer.

He said: "I thought there were two or three people who trumped me today, so I feel really lucky to have won.

"I know that's easy to say as the winner, but I laughed at a lot of people today - in a good way."

"I was so surprised to hear my name, it's such an amazing emotion."

The judges - comedians Simon Day, Dave Gorman and Mackenzie Crook plus Daily Telegraph deputy editor Sarah Sands - also gave Stan Stanley a special commendation.

Final host Chris Addison joked: "He wins nothing but respect - and the feeling he nearly made it."

Crook said: "All the contestants have obviously got a career in comedy, but Mark shone through and I was laughing from beginning to end."

And Gorman added: "I thought they were amazingly confident. But Mark was the one that didn't remind me of anyone else."

Sands said: "Young comics came on like gladiators today to find out if they are funny. This is the only way they can know.

"It's been a good year for Edinburgh. There's been more comedy than ever. It's completely unregulated - we at the Telegraph call that the free market, and we love it.

"Talent always gets there. You can't buy it and you can't fake it."

Earlier, Addison had mocked the papers "misguided attempt to capture the youth market." He said: "If the Telegraph wants kids to like them, they should learn to lighten up a bit.


The other finalists were: Hils Barker, James Bench-Capon, Gary Delaney, Steve Hall, Paul Kerensa, Ria Lina, Matthew Reed and Katie Walsh

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Published: 20 Aug 2002

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