Alternative Edinburgh awards announce shortlist | 'Does it really matter who wins?' says organiser

Alternative Edinburgh awards announce shortlist

'Does it really matter who wins?' says organiser

The ISH Edinburgh Comedy Awards – the alternative accolades set up when it appeared that the original awards might not be happening this year – have announced their shortlists.

A total of 11 shows are in the running for their main award:

  • Ed Byrne: Tragedy Plus Time - Assembly
  • Ian Smith: Crushing - Monkey Barrel
  • Janine Harouni: Man'oushe - Pleasance
  • Julia Masli: ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - Monkey Barrel
  • Luke Kempner in Gritty Police Drama: A One-Man Musical - Pleasance
  • Marjolein Robertson: Marj - The Stand
  • Paul Currie: Shtoom - Just The Tonic
  • Paul Foot: Dissolve - Underbelly
  • Phil Ellis's Excellent Comedy Show - Monkey Barrel
  • Seymour Mace Does Drawring - The Stand
  • Sid Singh: Table for One - Free Festival Cabaret Voltaire

And   shortlisted for best show  are:

  • Dan Tiernan: Going Under - Monkey Barrel
  • Fiona Ridgewell: No-Nonsense - PBH Free Fringe Banshee Labyrinth
  • Kelly McCaughan: Catholic Guilt - Underbelly
  • Lachlan Werner: Voices of Evil - Pleasance  
  • Lorna Rose Treen: Skin Pigeon - Pleasance  

The news comes two days before the original Edinburgh Comedy Awards announce their shortlists. 

Comedy producer and comedian Sarah Bowles who is running the ISH - or Insert Sponsor Here –  Awards said: ‘Choosing the shortlists was seemingly harder than choosing the long lists, even though we all had to see far less shows this time. It was so hard that we were aiming for 10 for Best Show and ended up with 11. 

‘We know from talking to most of the long-listed shows that they are very happy to be long listed.  As one person said, "I’m made up, I can use this forever".  That’s why we wanted to long-list early, to give people a boost in the middle of the Fringe, both in terms of ticket sales and more importantly emotionally.’

But she added: ‘These lists obviously do not represent by any means the definitive list of what is the best at the Fringe, it's just our panel of judges' opinions, everyone's opinion is different,

‘A fraction of people get nominated for anything, and it comes down to luck sometimes -  one prominent comedy critic gave lots of shows 4 and 5 star reviews that they didn’t nominate for the longlist’

‘Now comes the trickiest thing of all, choosing the winners.  But we also think... does it really matter who wins?  "Everyone is a winner" is said sometimes but I think here it’s actually the case.’

The awards have no cash prize - although organisers are still holding out hope someone will step forward with £10,000 in prize money – half of what they originally sought. ‘ Come on people, industry, venues, comedy community,’ Bowles said. ‘One of you is minted!' 

Winners of both the ISH award and the official Edinburgh Comedy Award will be announced on Saturday.

Published: 21 Aug 2023

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