In 2018, the biggest prize in UK live comedy comes from an unexpected source. It's not one of the long-running Edinburgh competitions, a TV show, or a big agency; it's linked to a small West Sussex town's festival.
An anonymous benefactor to this summer's Petfringe in Petworth has put up £10,001 - £1 more than the Edinburgh Comedy Award - to help raise the profile of the festival and attract top stand-up talent to the area.
Over 700 comedians sent in entry videos to The Petfringe Comedian Of The Year 2018, with judges selecting 57 to go through to the six heats. These are due to take place soon, with the final then taking place in the South Downs National Park town on the 8th July.
The heats are due to begin soon, with the comedians each having 10 minutes on stage to impress. Each show will be judged by pro comic Mike Gunn, the local promoter for that gig, and a lay judge. The triumphant comedians will then go through to the final in Petworth on Sunday 8th July 2018, with the prize of £10,001 paid to the winner on the night.
Andy Stedman, who is organising the heats, says: "We're absolutely delighted with the amount and quality of acts who entered, it's like the FA Cup of Comedy! The prize is the biggest in UK comedy which is exciting in itself, and the main aim was to champion circuit comedians who do a great job of making people laugh week-in, week-out."
Here are the heat line-ups in full...