The judging panel has been announced for this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The awards, the most prestigious at the Fringe, are now in their 36th year and have famously kickstarted many a comedy career, including those of Fry & Laurie, Lee Evans and Jenny Eclair.
The awards panel is made up of seven professionals and three regular punters, representing the general comedy-going public.
This year the people in the judging hotseats will be:
Alice Jones, Arts Editor, i; (Chair)
Sam Michell, BBC Comedy Editor;
Laura Riseam, Assistant Editor, Comedy at Channel 4;
Claire Smith, Reviewer and Feature Writer at The Scotsman;
Dominic Maxwell, Theatre & Comedy Critic at The Times;
Saskia Schuster, Commissioning Editor at ITV;
Susan Provan, Melbourne International Comedy Festival;
and Public Panel Competition Winners Niki Di Palma, Jim Johnson, and Sam Haslam.
There’s no-one from any of the online/specialist Fringe review publications, obviously, because although they now review more shows than any of the broadsheets, they might sully the name of such a prestigious award.
Awards Director Nica Burns said something nice about the new sponsors of the awards, whose name we will only mention here if they also give us money, before explaining, “The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an essential date for comedians, not only in Britain but worldwide, and comedy has been the largest strand of entertainment since 2008. 2016 promises to be an excellent year for comedy and we look forward to discovering brand new talent and enjoying wonderful new shows from Edinburgh regulars.”
Last year, the panel saw over 550 different comedy shows on their way to making their decisions. Sam Simmons won the gong and £10,000 prize for Best Comedy Show, while Sofie Hagen took Best Newcomer, and Gilded Balloon supremo, Karen Koren the Panel Prize.
The shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 24 August with the winners announced at a lunchtime ceremony on Saturday 27 August.