Edinburgh Fringe 10x10: Ten dubious honours | What does 'award-winning' really mean?

Edinburgh Fringe 10x10: Ten dubious honours

What does 'award-winning' really mean?

Does it sometimes feel like every comedian at Edinburgh describes themselves as an award-winner? There may be reason for that – the word ‘award’ appears no fewer than 536 times in the Fringe programme. But what exactly that ‘award’ is the key thing. Could be an Edinburgh Comedy Award.Could be a Bafta. Could be, well… take a look

Biscuit Barrel

This sketch troupe state that they were a special merit award winner in last year’s Derek Awards – awards that have achieved the rare feat of going for nine years without anybody even noticing them. Details are hard to find as their website’s down… but they are given out by a bloke called Derek who has 317 followers on Twitter.

TheSpace On The Mile, 22:50

Justin Heyes

Heyes describes himself as a ‘Best Comedy Award-nominated comedian’ – which needs a bit of unpacking. First, the accolade wasn’t at Edinburgh but at Perth’s FringeWorld in Australia. Still, as the world’s second largest Fringe that still sounds impressive. Not so much when you consider a grand total of 46 shows were nominated for best comedy last year, including his.

Laughing Horse @ The Raging Bull, 18;00

Stevie Gray

Stevie Gray’s ‘award-winning’ claim is less impressive that it first seems too. He won the ‘best performance’ at the Notts Comedy Review awards, which comes with a prize of £25. It was unilaterally handed out by a guy called Peter Fox on his WordPress blog, after being impressed by the amateur act doing a sterling job at a terrible gig in the East Midlands.

Just The Tonic at The Mash House, 18;00

Bristol Revunions

This student troupe describe themselves as ‘award-winning’, but the best we can find is a short film they made, called Narratorville, which won a student TV award in 2013. Surely before any of the current batch of undergraduates arrived on campus…

Just The Tonic At The Grassmarket Centre, 22:00

Roisin Crowly Linton

This ‘poet, comedian and general gobshite from Newcastle’ is the proud winner of the Stamptown Newcomer Award. Stamptown being the production company taking her to the Fringe.

Underbelly Cowgate 16:20

Ben Verth

The stalwart of the circuit is rightly proud to mention his Outstanding Contribution gong, which he got at the Scottish Comedy Awards in 2015, in the blurb for his Planet Verth line-up show. Though he didn’t have room to mention that the award wasn’t for performing comedy, but for creating and curating the Scottish Comedy Festival strand within that year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Edy Hurst

This comic’s name is so often prefaced with ‘award-winning comedian’ in gig listings that you’d think he’d been Christened that way. What he’s actually won, according to his own website is ‘Best Show Pug Face Comedy 2018". But we’ve no idea what that is. Google "Pug Face Comedy" and the only result is Hurst’s own web page referring to the prize. He also won the Tickled Pig competition six years ago. One year before it seems to have shut down.

Just The Tonic At The Mash House, 12:50

Vampire Hospital Waiting Room

This B-movie musical did pretty well at the 2013 Fringe, but we found claims of ‘award-winning’ hard to verify. A write-up of London version two years later from a website called Stage Review did say it was ‘the hands-down winner of this year’s award for the daftest and funniest musical production’. But they wouldn’t count that as an actual award… would they?

Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, 11:30

James Cook

Some comedians at least maintain a sense of humour about their audacity in claiming awards. This Birmingham stand-up describes himself as award-winning in the blurb for his Board Game Smackdown, which is probably enough to satisfy most people. Look on his website, though, and you’ll see that the award was for being the funniest person in the Midlands in 2003 and awarded by the now-defunct Jongleurs comedy club chain in the name, improbably, of the recently deceased Spike Milligan. Writing in the third person a couple of years back, Cook said: ‘It’s been 14 years and they haven’t asked for it back, so he’s assuming it must still be him.’

Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, 13:45

Becky Fury

Finally, no one plays the awards game like Fury. She did actually scoop a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for her publicity shenanigans in 2016, which allows her to legitimately call herself an award-winner in this year’s programme.

But she won the Cunning Stunt for claiming she was a Last Minute Comedy Award finalist at the time when the travel company were sponsoring Edinburgh’s biggest gong… In fact, she had been a finalist for a competition for run by a little, and little-known, club called Last Minute, that was entirely unrelated.

Waverley Bar, 22:45

Published: 18 Jul 2019

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