Now celebrating their 40th anniversary - yesterday Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Awards announced their nominees for 2022. It's one of their stronger years: generally they've succeeded in capturing the shows and performers that have felt most exciting this year.
Nominated for Best Show, The Delightful Sausage, Larry Dean, Josh Pugh and Alfie Brown all have great hours this year, so no surprises there. An earlier version of Brown's show is already available on Amazon Prime, should you wish. I've not yet managed to watch Jordan Gray or Lauren Pattison and hadn't fancied seeing Seann Walsh, but their shows have all been generating genuine excitement. Of the seven nominated shows I have seen, for me it's now a two horse race between Liz Kingsman and Colin Hoult, both of which are special shows.
It must have been nightmarish whittling down the list for Best Newcomer this year. Amongst such an exceptional list of nominees, I'd again say there's two favourites: Leo Reich and Vittorio Angelone are both phenomenal new talents. Chloe Petts not being nominated feels like a significant shock, you'd guess it's because she's already successful enough to not need a nomination as much as other acts.
Special mention should go to Amy Gledhill, who is now the first person to be nominated twice in the same year since 2000 (when Dan Antopolski received nods for Best Newcomer as well as Best Show, for the part he played in Lee Mack's sketch show that year). As well as being one half of The Delightful Sausage, Gledhill has a fantastic debut solo hour this year: it's a little surprising that the 'Yorkshire Lizzo' - as she refers to herself at one point - has taken this long to debut her own hour: the relatable coming-of-age stories she's had in her back pocket all this time are stand-up gold.
Rounding off the list of Best Show nominees, Sam Campbell is something of an Alternative Comedy Hero nowadays. He seems to always be able to find topics that everybody is familiar with, yet no other comedian is talking about. HIs quirky and occasionally dark show is an intriguing insight into his frantic mind.
Emily Wilson also well deserves her Best Newcomer nomination. She's got a brilliant, exuberant story and tells it well: she appeared on the US version of The X Factor when only 15 years old. She looks back on her teenage obsession with becoming famous, and you also draw the conclusion that putting someone though the cycle of talent contests, fame and the online abuse that inevitably follows is maybe not the... healthiest experience for a teenager to go through?
Aside from the Fringe's wider issues with ethnic representation, Glenn Moore is probably the harshest omission from the Best Show nominee list. Sarah Keyworth, Olga Koch and Rhys Nicholson could probably also have made the cut. Rhys's show is a wonderful hour of camp. Now identifying as non-binary, they have a gift for taking not-actually-particularly-remarkable stories and spinning great stand-up out of them.
Away from all this awards chit chat and maybe a little unfairly overlooked at the Fringe in general, Jo Caulfield is delivering an hour of rock solid, high quality, traditional stand-up to appreciative audiences at The Stand, with occasional flashes of viciousness particularly delighting the room.
Garrett Millerick could also probably fit in this 'overlooked' category. The audience for his performance at Monkey Barrell quite reasonably love him - every stand-up show he writes is a well-crafted joy. This time he's enjoying needling liberal sensibilities - lightly poking fun at Guardian readers and attempting to mount a defence of Jeff Bezos, of all people. He has the air of a mate at 1am in the pub enjoying adopting a contrarian opinion just for a bit of a laugh. It's delicious stuff.
Adele Cliff packs a lot of fun into her assured hour. Finally, Alasdair Beckett-King feels like a 'comedian's comedian' - it's the kind of intelligent, original and slightly surreal writing that gets you acclaim amongst your peers first.
The Edinburgh Comedy Award winners get announced this Saturday, if you're interested in how all this plays out.