The 2017 winners of the "increasingly prestigious" Malcolm Hardee Awards were announced in a ceremony at the Edinburgh Fringe last night.
The trophies were presented by critic Kate Copstick during an event held at The Counting House. The Hardees are organised by John Fleming, who himself was given a prize this year for his work on the awards since their inception.
2017 is supposedly the last year of the awards, on the grounds that they have now given out all the trophies Fleming had commissioned. Fleming was given sixteen packets of Twix chocolate bars and a dozen cans of the Red Bull energy drink.
Terry Alderton won the award for "Comic Originality", for his show All Crazy Now, partly based on his BBC Radio 4 series of the same name. He defeated Elf Lyons, Mark Dean Quinn and Rob Kemp to win the category, and was somewhat emotional when he collected his prize, as Malcolm Hardee gave him his first ever gig.
Mark Dean Quinn won the award for the best "Cunning Stunt", defeating Martha McBrier and Damian Kingsley. He won for potentially destroying the whole star-rating system "plaguing" the Fringe, by among other things attaching star ratings and quotes from other people's shows onto his own flyers. Quinn's speech was mostly silent, only reacting when the audience shouted back at him.
Act Most Likely To Make a Million Quid
Rob Kemp beat fellow nominee Al Porter to be named "Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid" for his show The Elvis Dead, which retells the story of horror film Evil Dead 2 to the music of Elvis Presley. Kemp asked whether winning the award meant he is now entitled to a million quid.
The 2017 ceremony was opened by President Obonjo, who threatened people at gunpoint to sing along with him, before the show's compere Becky Fury took over. She and Kate Copstick then presented the "Million Quid" award to Kemp early as his own show was due to begin shortly thereafter, at midnight.
Following this was a short set from Herbie Treehead, who performed some magic with balloons and a circus act that involved two audience members dressing up as a pantomime horse, which he then rode. This was followed by comic rapper Andy Quirk who performed a song about not wanting to go to a craft fair.
Mark Dean Quinn took to the stage alongside Narin Oz for a routine in which he was continuously hit in the face with a mop while Narin waved to the audience. This was interrupted by Michael Brunstrom, who encouraged other people to beat both Quinn and Oz with the mop. Alice Fraser then stood in for an absent Tim FitzHigham to perform Can't Help Falling in Love on the banjo, then Mr. Balaclava from Bob Blackman's Tray performed a single joke before leaving.
Copstick then sang a selection of "censored" Rolf Harris songs (where a buzzer was pressed over perfectly innocent bits in order to make them sound ruder), after which Fury got the audience to play a game of Play Your Cards Wrong, which involved the audience guessing how many warnings were displayed on cigarette packets.
This was followed by Frank Sanazi performing a song about Donald Trump, then late substitute act The Bloke from the Pub who overran his slot and Fury took him off stage. This angered the crowd so much that the Bloke was brought back on to finish his routine. Afterwards Laurence Owen performed a rendition of The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals on the Theremin, then took song suggestions from the audience.
Malcolm Hardee's sister Clare performed an a cappella version of the theme from Cabaret, after which she and Copstick presented the rest of the Malcolm Hardee Awards. After Fleming was given his award, Copstick hinted that the awards may continue in some form and that the audience should "watch this space".
The Scottish National Russian Egg Championship then took place, which was won by Luca Cupani. However, a special award was given to Lewis Schaffer, who complained that he had not been nominated for any awards this Fringe. He was thus given a mug declaring him the "Official Tosser" of the 2017 Fringe.
The ceremony officially ended with Fury performing a fire breathing routine, which she had trouble with as she could not find a lighter that worked, until she realised the light was being blown out by an air vent.
The event also raised money for Copstick's charity Mama Biashara, which helps to protect vulnerable people in Kenya.
To find out more about the awards visit malcolmhardee.co.uk
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