Mars defeats the world | Comic Will wins award for his 'joke of the Fringe' stunt

Mars defeats the world

Comic Will wins award for his 'joke of the Fringe' stunt

Will Mars has won the 2021 Malcolm Hardee Award for the most ‘cunning stunt’ at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The annual accolades - launched in 2005 in the memory of comic, agent, manager, club-owner and prankster Hardee - aim to celebrate and promote ‘the spirit of madcap, anything-goes comedy anarchy’ at the festival’.

During August’s event, Mars launched a joke competition called the '(Some guy called) Dave Joke of the Fringe 2021' to take the place of the annual competition usually run by TV channel Dave.

The UKTV competition, inaugurated in 2008, did not take place this year during a Fringe greatly reduced by the pandemic. So instead of the usual team of industry professionals scouting for jokes to put to a public vote, Mars collected gags himself and asked the first person called Dave he could find on the Royal Mile to pick the winner.

And the victor was Masai Graham for: ‘I thought the word "Caesarean" began with the letter "S" but when I looked in the dictionary, it was in the "C" section.’

Mars explained: ‘The broadcaster, Dave, has supported comedians at the Fringe for many years with their annual search for the best one-liner from the festival. This year their team of joke spotters were not in attendance and so I decided to cast a light on the hard-working comics of the Fringe by keeping their traditional joke competition alive.’

In a video acceptance speech Mars remarked that he ‘he couldn't believe he had won this’, before demonstrating his knack for self-promotion by mentioning his comedy album recording at London's Top Secret Comedy Club next month.

This year's Cunning Stunt trophy was designed by inventor John Ward, inspired by the Bafta trophy, but using Malcolm Hardee's likeness.

He designed one side to ‘symbolise the bland year and half it's been"' with the other representing ‘pure Malcolm, with a hearty grin’.

Judge Kate Copstick said: This year's stunt took full advantage of the utterly pathetic level of attention shown by the media, for the closest thing to a true Fringe that Edinburgh has seen for three decades.

‘Insufficient numbers of "them off the telly", runs lasting longer than an accident prone mayfly, or anyone doing anything that was ready to be seen by a paying public in the comedy section meant that almost all the comedy gong-givers stayed at home to watch them off the telly, on the telly. 

‘Never has a Cunning Stunt Award meant more. Hilarious, spontaneous, brilliantly executed and sticking it to the Big Boys. Congratulations to our winner and well chosen, "Some bloke called Dave".’

The other judges were Marissa Burgess,  Jay Richardson, Claire Smith and Ian Wolf.

Gags that made Mars’s shortlist were:

1. "I thought the word 'Caesarean' began with the letter 'S' but when I looked in the dictionary, it was in the 'C' section." - Masai Graham 

2. "My therapist told me, ‘A problem shared, is a hundred quid’." - Ivor Dembina

3. "Me and my ex were into role play. I’d pretend to be James Bond and she’s pretend she still loved me." - Tom Mayhew

4. "The roman emperor's wife hates playing hide and seek because wherever she goes Julius Caesar." - Adele Cliff

5. "Marvin Gaye used to keep a sheep in my vineyard. He'd herd it through the grapevine." - Leo Kearse

6. "Getting a caesarian is dangerous in Russia. If they open you up and find a little girl, they open her up to see if there’s another." - Ben Clover

7. "My grandparents were married for forty years, but everything took longer back then." - Will Mars

8. "I think Chewbacca is French because he understands English but refuses to speak it." - Sameer Katz

9. "I don’t know what you call a small spillage from a pen but I have an inkling." - Rich Pulsford

10. "People say zoos are inhumane. But that's because they're for animals." - Sameer Katz

Published: 27 Sep 2021

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