John Kearns wins Best Show at Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014

Saturday 23rd August 2014, 12:53pm

The results of the prestigious Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014 have been announced at a ceremony at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Foster's Comedy Awards 2014. John Kearns.

John Kearns won the main award for his show titled Shtick. His performance, in which he wears a wig and false teeth, has been widely praised by critics.

Notably, Kearns - who quit his job last year to become a comedian full time - won the Best Newcomer category last year, making it two years of success in a row for him - the first time an act has managed to do that. Additionally notable is the fact that his show is a free show - the win in this main category signalling the continuing rise of the 'Free Fringe' at the Edinburgh Festival.

Referencing how the free model is being seen as an increasingly good route via which to perform at the festival, whilst many comics in ticketed shows leave with debt due to venue hire costs, he commented: "Good comics work hard. It's difficult. Venues need to help those people. The Free Fringe helped me when no one would touch me."

On accepting the award, in reference to the double-win, Kearns joked: "I'm not coming back to Edinburgh, I'm done."

Reviews for 'John Kearns: Shtick'

Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014. Image shows from L to R: Bridget Christie, Alex Edelman, Frank Skinner.

The Best Newcomer award this year went to New York-based comedian Alex Edelman for his show Millennial.

On accepting his trophy, an emotional Edelman said: "'I didn't write a speech because I didn't think I was going to win".

He also added: "I feel like a huge error is being made because there's so many talented comics on this list."

Edinburgh Is Funny's review notes: "The most striking thing about Edelman is how effortless he makes it look."

Reviews for 'Alex Edelman: Millennial'

Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2014 - Funz and Gamez. Image shows from L to R: Phil Ellis, James Meehan, Will Duggan, Mick Ferry.

The Panel Prize was awarded to Funz and Gamez, a children's show created by Phil Ellis. The 'anarchic' hour has become a word-of-mouth hit during the festival, with many comedians turning up to watch the 2pm show.

The reviews point that the comedy works on two levels: it's a fun hour for youngsters, but there are additional jokes for adults to enjoy, some of which - only just staying the right side of being appropriate - go over the younger audience members' heads with alienating them.

On accepting the prize, Ellis, joined on stage by his co-performers Mick Ferry, Will Duggan and James Meehan, remarked how he was surprised as to the level of success their show has had, as when they started the festival they weren't sure if anyone would like it.

Writing on Twitter, Alice Jones, one of the judges, described Funz and Gamez as "a kids' show I laughed at until I was nearly sick. Properly hilarious".

Reviews for 'Funz and Gamez'

Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominees 2014. Image shows from L to R: James Acaster, Alex Horne, Sara Pascoe, Romesh Ranganathan, Sam Simmons, John Kearns, Liam Williams.

The awards were presented by Frank Skinner and last year's winner, Bridget Christie.

The other comedians in the running for the Best New Comedy Show category (pictured) were Alex Horne, James Acaster, Liam Williams, Romesh Ranganathan, Sam Simmons and Sara Pascoe.

The other nominees in the Best Newcomer category were Dane Baptiste, Gein's Family Giftshop, Lazy Susan, Lucy Beaumont and Steen Raskopoulos.

Awards organiser Nica Burns, talking about the nominees earlier in the week, said: "Between them, these outstanding performers reach every funny bone. Unprecedentedly three 2013 Best Newcomers - John Kearns, Liam Williams and Romesh Ranganathan have graduated to the Best Comedy Show shortlist in only a year. The Edinburgh Fringe continues to launch the comedy stars of tomorrow."

Now in their 34th year, the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Awards (which were previously known as the Perrier Awards), aim to locate future comedy stars. Previous winners of the title include pre-fame Frank Skinner, Lee Evans, The League Of Gentlemen and Al Murray.

The prize money - sponsored by Foster's - is £10,000 for the Best Show, with £5,000 each for the Best Newcomer and the Panel Prize winner.

The panel this year was chaired by Mark Monahan (The Daily Telegraph). Also on the list of judges was Sam Bryant (BBC Comedy), Alex Hardy (The Times), Lindsay Hughes (Baby Cow Productions), Alice Jones (The Independent), Liz Lewin (Channel 4), Geoff Rowe (Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival) and public panel competition winners Kathy Bell, Tim O'Connor and Patrick Nicholls.

The website Comedy Blogedy filmed interviews with the comedians after they'd won the awards:

John Kearns interview

Alex Edelman interview

Phil Ellis interview

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