The winners of The Malcolm Hardee Awards 2023 have been revealed.
The trophies - handed out in the memory of comic, agent, manager, club-owner and prankster Malcolm Hardee - celebrate and promote the spirit of anything-goes comedy anarchy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Comic Originality: Phil Ellis
Phil Ellis's Excellent Comedy Show, in which the comedian tries his hand at different types of comedy whilst dressed as a cat, has been playing daily at The Hive at 12:30pm. Ellis is joined on stage by a house band comprising of Cammy Phair and Cammy Sinclair, and the show features a character-based cameo from Tom Short.
Ellis was surprised during his show with the trophy, at which point he joked of the interruption, "the show needed it to be fair". He later added: "It really is an honour to accept this award. I worked really hard this year on making a show that was fun, silly and that I could enjoy performing every day with an incredibly talented team of people (Cammy Sinclair, Cammy Phair and Tom Short). The reaction and support it's received from our audiences, fellow comics and the industry has been overwhelming. Thank you all so much."
Also shortlisted in this category were...
Ivor Dembina (for the street-based 'shows' in which he sold jokes for £1)
Cunning Stunt: John Fleming
John Fleming, who created The Malcolm Hardee Awards and writes regularly about comedy, posted an AI generated obituary of himself on his blog, accompanied by an AI-generated aged photo, which a number of readers mistook for a real announcement of his death.
Shortlisted in this category were...
Batsu! - For their flyering technique. One of the group holds out a "don't take this" leaflet, and when a member of the public takes it, another member of Batsu then repeatedly beats the flyerer around the head.
Lee Kyle - For encouraging comedians to print five star reviews from Mumble on their poster, to highlight how the blog was asking for money in return for reviews.
Tom Mayhew - For making a fake Telegraph website to suggest he had the best jokes at the festival, for printing flyers that look like banknotes and editing the Malcolm Hardee Wikipedia page to say he has won all three of this year's awards.
Act Most Likely To Make A Million Quid: Julia Masli
Clowning comic Julia Masli was named by the judges as the Act Most Likely To Make A Million Quid due to the phenomenal success of her problem-solving Edinburgh show ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. The run was supposed to end halfway through the month but was extended in a 1:30am spot at Monkey Barrel until the end of the festival. The semi-improvised show has seen Masli facilitate a marriage proposal between audience members, help a person reveal their sexuality to their friends, arrange a new place for someone to live, and much more. Her performances have made such an impact that one of the show's production team has had "Problem?" tattooed on their ankle in reference to the show, and Masli has been profiled in The New York Times.
On being surprised with the trophy at the end of her show, Masli said "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I promise to spend money to solve problems."
The other nominees in this category were:
Sam Campbell - For demonstrating he can sell out 750 seat venue The Grand with a show that was billed as just 10 minutes long.
Larry Owens - His singing talent will likely result in a glittering Broadway career soon, and he will inevitably play the best friend in a big Hollywood film.
Seymour Mace - Because, as well as being a brilliant comic, he has also become a fantastic artist and has recently gained a first class degree in Fine Art. His cartoons - which show scenes including horses on drugs and dogs running a chip shop - are very funny and could become eminently collectible.
Natalie Perlin - With the heady combination of incredibly dark but razor sharp material, a little girl voice and voluptuous figure, Natalie is set to go far. This year's show, Attack of the 36 Triple-G Woman, gave a hint of what she is capable of. In addition she has an OnlyFans account as a back up...
The Malcolm Hardee Awards have run since 2005, the year of Malcolm Hardee's death. The judging panel consisted of Marissa Burgess, Kate Copstick, Bruce Dessau, Jay Richardson, Claire Smith and Ian Wolf. Previous winners can be seen via the Hardee Awards website