'As good as it got, on and off stage' | Phil Jerrod and Paul Byrne remembered at the Chortle Awards

'As good as it got, on and off stage'

Phil Jerrod and Paul Byrne remembered at the Chortle Awards

The comedy world paid their respects to stand-up Phil Jerrod and director Paul Byrne at the Chortle Awards last night.

Both received posthumous awards for comedians’ comedian and offstage contribution respectively.

Sean McLoughlin accepted the award on behalf of Jerrod, who died from cancer in September at the age of 42.

He said: ‘Phil would have loved this. He was a dear friend to me, and I know he would have loved this because he loved comedians. He adored comedians, and he loved being a comedian.

‘I loved him and many people loved him. I was the host of Phil’s first ever gig. It was the graduation show for a comedy course in Brighton, and it was terrible. Every act was atrocious. I brought on Phil, and I saw his big beard and thought, "look at the state of this guy, he’s going to be shit." Then he did the most electrifying set I’ve ever seen in my life.

‘He was the most incredible artist – and really he was one of those guys: he was the most talented painter I’ve ever met, the most talented guitar player I’ve ever met, the most fantastic writer. He could have done anything. And I think we’re all so lucky that he chose stand-up because he was one of the best.

‘Watching him flourish was one of the great thrills of my life and my career, getting to know this incredible man.

‘We all heard the outpouring when he died, and we felt like he was everyone’s friend. He was one of the kindest, most generous people we’ve ever had in this industry.’

He joked: ‘Let’s face it there are a lot of people in this game who are backstabbing sluts. Phil was just a tonic to that.’

‘He was as good as it got on and off stage and he should be an inspiration to us all.’

Jerrod’s wife Beck sent a message to the gathered comedians and industry folk, which said: ‘I really wanted to be there tonight to accept this award for Phil as I’m so overwhelmed and proud of everything he achieved. If I ever found myself in a room full of comedians, it was always with Phil by my side.

‘I’ve fallen in love with Phil again through watching his stand-up, listening to his podcasts and through the stories and memories you continue to share with me. I think we all fell in love with him again.

‘Thank you so much to our comedy family for nominating Phil for this award. Phil really was one of the good guys. He loved comedy, a comedians’ comedian and this award means so much. Phil never wanted to be famous, but he really liked the idea people would know his name and remember him for something good

‘For Phil to be recognised and respected for what he truly loved is the ultimate mic drop.’

Earlier in the evening, Sarah Keyworth paid tribute to Byrne, who died last month at the age of 44, as she handed over the award to his agent, Chris Quaile, and close friend Beth O’Brien.

She said: ‘If it wasn’t for his generosity and his modesty, he would be a household name in the world of comedy. Paul Byrne was a man who stood behind so many comedians as they embarked on performing their show – their debut hour, or the show that broke them into success, or the show that just broke them. He didn’t want fame. He didn’t want the limelight. He barely wanted money.

‘The amount of times we’d say to him that he didn’t charge enough for the amount he contributed to our show; the amount of value and advice and support he gave, he should have been charging thousands of pounds for what he gave us. But Paul never raised the cost of his services as a director because he was passionate about comedy, passionate about supporting talent, and wanted people to be able to break into comedy if they just had the ability to do it.

‘Paul loved comedy, he loved comedians and he didn’t care who you were or who you knew just as long as you had a good sense of humour. And that is why he made the best director and why he made such a wonderful friend. We miss him.’

Quaile said Byrne was ‘the absolute best of us’, adding: ‘You’re absolutely right, Sarah, he didn’t charge enough! He’s missed and so loved by so many. I don’t know what it’s going to be like in Edinburgh without him.’

Accepting her breakthrough award, Maisie Adam noted that it was an all-woman shortlist, saying it was ‘a pleasure to be nominated alongside the best in our industry who happen to be women. I’m really, really proud of all the women in this category.’

Bob Mortimer and Adam Rowe were the biggest winners at the ceremony, hosted by Paul Sinha and Felicity Ward, nabbing two gongs apiece.

Mortimer won awards for best TV comedian and for best book for his memoirs And Away… And Rowe was named best club comedian as well as scooping best podcast for Have A Word, the show he co-hosts with fellow stand-up Dan Nightingale. He sent a message saying: ‘I want to take this chance to thank… absolutely nobody!’

Other winners included Bill Bailey, for best tour, Alfie Brown for best show, Maisie Adam for breakthrough act, and Celya AB for best newcomer.

The full list of winners is:

Best newcomer, sponsored by Audible

Celya AB

Breakthrough act, sponsored by Audible

Maisie Adam

Best show

Alfie Brown: Sensitive Man

Best tour

Bill Bailey: Summer Larks

Variety Award

Flo & Joan

Club comedian

Adam Rowe

Best compere

Zoe Lyons

Best TV comedian

Bob Mortimer

Best comedy book

And Away... by Bob Mortimer

Best podcast, sponsored by Sue Terry Voices

Have A Word

Social media award

Rosie Holt

Radio award

The News Quiz

TV award


Comedians’ comedian

Phil Jerrod

Offstage contribution

Paul Byrne

Some social media posts from the night:

Published: 30 Mar 2022

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