Frank Chickens hailed as Comedy Gods

Triumph for internet campaign

Japanese avant-garde collective Frank Chickens have officially topped the poll for the best ‘comedy god’, following a subversive internet campaign.

More than 30,000 people voted for the previously obscure group, after a series of Facebook and Twitter campaigns were launched calling for less well known acts to be recognised, rather than the big names predicted to win.

However, organisers at the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award will still be hoping to use star comedians to draw attention to the poll – after commissioning a series of framed portraits of the top four acts.

Each piece of artwork measures 3ftx2ft and was put together from 3,500 empty Foster’s cans by South London art collective Pixel-Art. It took more 280 hours to piece together the images.

After Frank Chickens, the other three comedians to be immortalised in empty beer cans were: Tim Minchin, Russell Howard and Michael McIntyre.

Comedy fans were asked to choose their favourites from the 172 acts that had been nominated for best comedy or best newcomer in the past three decades of the former Perrier Award.

However, Stewart Lee prompted a backlash against the idea, after firing off an angry email to organisers raging at the idea, calling it ‘the most shameful, inane thing I have seen in all the years I have been doing the Fringe’.

He cited 1984 nominees the Frank Chickens as an example of how pointless the exercise was, claiming that few under 30 would have heard of them so how could they be judged against comedy stars still in the limelight?

He also claimed the sponsors wanted a big name to win for the publicity value, thus going against the Fringe spirit of uncovering new talent.

On receiving the award Frank Chickens founder Kazuko Hohki said: ‘Thank you to the many lovely people who voted for us.’

Edinburgh Comedy Awards producer Nica Burns said: ‘Congratulations to Kazuko Hokhi and all her fans who have spotlighted the work of her musical performance troupe Frank Chickens, propelling them to the top spot with three much loved household comedy stars.’

Gayle Harrison, Foster’s marketing manger said: ‘Frank Chickens are a deserved winner because they have been nominated by people who share our passion for comedy and the unique nature of the Edinburgh Fringe.’

Here is the artwork, with the Frank Chickens image above:

Published: 29 Aug 2010

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