The winners of The Malcolm Hardee Awards 2011 have been announced in an anarchic late night ceremony featuring, amongst other things, a spot of naked crowd surfing, alternative comedy performances from acts such as a Hitler-mocking cabaret act called Frank Sanazi, and a self-destructive set involving American comic Lewis Schaffer and the evening's amusingly bitchy hosts, Scott Capurro and David Mills.
The Awards, which have been running since 2006, have been organised to help remember the late Malcolm Hardee, described as "one of the most anarchic figures of his era", "the greatest influence on British comedy over the last 25 years" and the "godfather to a generation of comic talent".
Johnny Sorrow - who has been performing a show called The Bob Blackman Appreciation Society at this year's Fringe - was awarded the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality for "simply being a bizarre act Malcolm Hardee would have loved".
The award for 'Act Most Likely To Make A Million Quid' went to Benet Brandreth, the son of Gyles Brandreth (it would be hard to deny otherwise, with Benet sharing the same facial features and unique speech delivery as his father). Benet is performing The Brandreth Papers at The Gilded Balloon, but the judges said: "if he doesn't make a million quid as a performer, he'll make it as a lawyer." When not performing, the young Brandreth is an intellectual property expert with a top law firm.
Meanwhile the 'Cunning Stunt' award went to Kunt and the Gang (pictured) and Bob Slayer for their involvement in what has become known as 'Cockgate'. Their controversial PR stunt of encouraging audience members to stick penis stickers on posters around Edinburgh has received widespread press coverage, but also infuriated agents, venues, some comedians and the council. The duo have been told off by city officials and say they have been invoiced £900 by Marlene Zwickler, the agent of Daniel Sloss, to cover the cost of damages to his posters.
Scotsman critic Kate Copstick took to the stage to defend the stunt, saying that the Edinburgh Fringe was becoming too corporate, with agencies and some comics losing sight that the primary aim of the festival was to make people laugh. She suggested a movement to begin collecting up money from comedy fans so the central billboards could be bought next year to advertise smaller shows, or feature public messages; rather than carry the adverts from the large agencies that they do now.
Meanwhile, in other news, Robert White - who was attempting to sell the Malcolm Hardee Award he won last year on eBay - has pulled the listing from the auction site. He said in a statement: "Malcolm came to me in a dream and got me to stop this obvious sham of a self-promoting non-real auction and as such the item is no longer for sale. Although I believe you can acquire one of your own by doing the Edinburgh Festival and being mental enough."