But the biggest upset came as Voodoo Stands Up, a small club from the sleepy Lincolnshire village of Stamford, beat Just The Tonic and The Glee Club to secure the Best Comedy Club gong.
Derbyshire-based Tom Binns (pictured), who performs as hospital DJ Ivan Brackenbury and psychic Ian D Montfort as well as himself, beat off competition from Birmingham’s Barbara Nice and Andy White to win Best Act. Meanwhile Barry Dodds, based in Nottinghamshire, pushed last year’s winner Andy Robinson into second place for the Best MC prize.
Nottingham’s Scott Bennett took home the Best Live Show award for his Edinburgh Fringe debut About A Roy.
He said: ‘The comedy scene in the Midlands is currently going from strength to strength. There is a rich and diverse range of comedy talent and well promoted, well-attended comedy clubs that offer every genre of live comedy. It’s a great privilege to be among such talented people.’
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Warwickshire native Josh Pugh was named Best New Act – perhaps strangely as he was also the best new act last year, a title he shared with Tom Christian in 2015.
Leicester-based Lucy Thompson secured the Breakthrough Act award, pushing Brummie punsmith Masai Graham into second place. Graham also placed second in the Best Live Show category, but didn’t go away empty-handed as he won the newly-created Online Comedy prize.
The Alternative Act award, another new category introduced for this year, went to Shropshire prop-meister Roger Swift, with Black Country favourite Johnny Sorrow as runner-up.
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Also new this year was the Best Small Club prize, in which the Funhouse Comedy chain pushed FAF Comedy into second place.
The Best Open Mic Show was won by The Holly Bush in Birmingham, while Suzanne Rowland from Leicester Fridge, who received the Outstanding Contribution prize for dedication to her local grassroots comedy scene.
Promoter Alex Hylton said: ‘Suzanne is at the very heart of the growing Leicester scene and is very much an unsung hero. She’s in the background of almost every comedy night in Leicester, be that as show manager, promoter, sound tech, accountant, or very occasionally as a performer. She is the beating heart of Leicester’s comedy scene.’
More than 4,000 people voted online for the awards, a response organiser Jay Islaam called ‘truly astonishing’.
Published: 20 Jan 2016