Paul Smith

Paul Smith

The regular compere at Liverpool's Hot Water comedy club, Paul Smith has built up a grassroots support in the city, which meant he could play the Echo Arena as part of his 2018 tour.
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Three-way tie for the comedians' comedian of 2021

But no such divide in hailing Sean Lock's outstanding achievement

Three stand-ups have tied for the honour of being named the comics’ comic of 2021.

The Circuit Comedian of the Year will this year be shared between Jo Caulfield, Mark Nelson and Ninia Benjamin after a poll of their peers failed to separate them.

And Sean Lock posthumously won the outstanding achievement award, with organisers hailing him as a ‘once-in-an-era genius who inspired a generation of comics and comedy fans’.


Caulfield said: ‘It must say something about me that I get an award for Best Circuit Comic in a year when the comedy circuit was decimated. You lot are taking the piss, aren’t you?

‘Sharing the award with Mark and Ninia shows what a wealth of talent there is on our circuit.  I am proud to be part of our family and can’t wait to see how much the award fetches on eBay.’

She also joked that she was lucky to get the news as she barely read the email telling her of her victory as ‘anything that’s more than four lines is not a gig offer. Every comedian knows an email with more than four lines is someone asking you to do something for no money.’

Nelson said: ‘Wow, I am genuinely speechless. Honestly stunned by this. To be respected by other comics that I love is genuinely overwhelming. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much this means to me

And Benjamin said: ‘Oh my days.  My gob has been well and truly smacked.’

‘This means even more than many of you can guess cause it comes from my comics.  Thank you.Thank you big time.  I'm smiling.  

The winner of Best MC in the accolades, also called the UK Comedy Awards went to Paul Smith, who is resident compere at the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool.


He said: ‘That’s amazing!  I don’t know what to say I’m so happy with that. Thank you so much.  Just want to thank everyone who voted for me, it really means a lot. I love what I do and to be recognised by peers is an honour. ‘

The Best Independent Promoter award was also a tie between Peter Vincent from Ten Feet Tall and Catch 22 Comedy Club in the North East Of England and Andy​ White from the Jesterlarf Comedy Club and Cambridge Comedy Festival – who also organises this annual poll of comics.

Thanking those who worked at his clubs, Vincent said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone who has voted for me, in what has been a very difficult year for live comedy.’

And White said: ‘Having been promoting comedy for 20 years. this is a humbling honour and so thanks to everyone that voted for me.

‘Obviously given that I have run the admin for these awards for the last five years, I’m uneasy winning this award and it looks dodgy but rest assured unless there’s hard cash involved such a heist doesn’t flick my switch.

‘That said, I feel slightly embarrassed winning this and would like to give my award to the Comedy Store. It seems a travesty they’ve never won it before, especially as they are the Rolls-Royce of comedy and kickstarted the entire alternative comedy scene.’

White also reflected on a ‘brutal’ 12 months for the live comedy industry, saying: ‘Despite the stop/start year it’s been for events, this impressive, truly dedicated and passionate industry refused to lie down and did everything in their power to continue their love of the art of making people laugh.’

Last year, Scott Bennett won the circuit comedian title, with Lou Conran best MC, Brett Vincent from Get Comedy best independent promoter. The Comedy Support Act benevolent fund won the  outstanding achievement category

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Published: 30 Dec 2021



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