Mary O’Connell wins the biggest prize in comedy | £100,000 from OnlyFans

Mary O’Connell wins the biggest prize in comedy

£100,000 from OnlyFans

Mary O’Connell has won the biggest prize ever to be awarded in comedy – £100,000.

The comedian scooped the prize from OnlyFans under a competition launched as part of the site’s ambitions to broaden its reputation beyond porn.

On being announced the winner, 27-year-old O’Connell said: ‘It feels amazing. I don’t even have the words. I wanted it so bad. I’m so grateful.

‘It really means a lot because I was distinguishing my voice. I was finding my voice. It’s something I’ve been working really hard on and have struggled with.

‘For the judges to pick me - the fact that they said I had the most distinctive voice – is priceless. It means the absolute world. This whole thing has been mad.

Dom McGovern and Zoe Brownstone were named runners-up and each receive £25,000 – all dwarfing the £10,000 offered by the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Ten comics were selected to take part in OnlyFans Creative Fund: Comedy Edition, and were whittled down to six over a  number of reality-style tasks, such as being ordered to write the most depraved material they could, not knowing they would then have to perform to an audience of pensioners.

The final six – also including  Maddie HW, Hasan al-Habib and Joe Bingham – performed stand-up at a final in East London last November. At the time the results were kept secret even from the live audience, but the footage has today dropped on OFTV, the free ‘safe for work’ video platform launched by OnlyFans.

O’Connell is almost overcome with emotion when she is announced as the choice of celebrity judges Mae Martin, Jamali Maddix, and London Hughes – and   then makes an excited phone call to her parents, who had been in the audience.

Australian comic McGovern – who was a finalist in the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Raw comedy final in 2022 – said: ‘Three comedians who I respect have just turned to me and said "you are worthy". Not quite £75,000 as worthy as Mary, but that’s fine! ‘

And Canadian comic Brownstone said: ‘To perform in front of comedians I just have so much respect for and admire so greatly –  and for them to tell me that I did a good job – and then to get some cash,  that’s beautiful. My family is going to freak out.’

The series was hosted by presenter Jack Guinness and comic Sofie Hagen acted as a mentor to the acts.

O’Connell was perviously a runner-up in the 2020 Funny Women Awards and has just completed a residency at Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions. She has appeared on BBC Presents: Stand Up for Live Comedy, and she recently filmed a set for Comedy Central Live, which will air later this year.

Those knocked out before reaching the final were Zahra Barri, Steph Bradshaw, Martin Graham and Graham Francis.

Watch all available episodes of Creative Fund: Comedy Edition – including the final stand-up performance – here.

» Our review of the Only Fans final

Published: 22 Feb 2023

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