Demetri takes Perrier crown

Gary Le Strange is best newcomer

New Yorker Demetri Martin has won this year's Perrier award for the best comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe.

His show If I... , which celebrated his geekiness included a 224-word palindrome, juggling and a poem made up only of the words on a beer bottle.

For his prize, Martin, a 30-year-old Yale dropout, wins £7,500 and the chance to perform in London's West End.

But it is not his first comedy accolade. He scooped a jury award at this year's Aspen Comedy Festival.

Perrier award director Nica Burns said: "Completely unknown here prior to the Festival, Martin beat a shortlist of unparalleled breadth of style and content in a hotly debated vote."

Martin triumphed over favourite Adam Hills, the Australian comic who has been nominated for three years in a row.

The rest of the international shortist comprised Reginald D Hunter (the first black nominee) New Zealand's Flight of the Conchords and Britain's Howard Read.

The best newcomer was spoof Eighties pop act Gary Le Strange, the creation of comic Waen Shepherd.

Oher newcomer nominees were Alex Horne, Miles Jupp and Michael McIntyre

The winners were announced in Edinburgh by 1997 Perrier winners The League of Gentlemen - Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith and Jeremy Dyson.

Published: 24 Aug 2003

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