The finalists have been announced for the 2018 stand-up competition with the biggest cash prize in UK comedy.
The Petfringe Comedian Of The Year 2018 grand final will take place on Sunday 8th July as part of the festival currently running in the West Sussex town of Petworth. An anonymous benefactor to the festival has put up £10,001 in prize money - £1 more than the Edinburgh Comedy Award - to help raise the profile of the festival and attract top stand-up talent to the festival.
Over 800 comedians sent in entry videos to The Petfringe Comedian Of The Year 2018, with judges selecting the best acts to go through to six heats. The judging panel, lead by experienced comic Mike Gunn, has now selected the following finalists from these heats to compete in the final.
The list of finalists consist of the six heat winners, two 'best' runners-up positions and one wildcard.
Speaking to BCG, Stedman says: "From over 800 applicants, many of whom are excellent full-time professional comedians, we are down to the final nine. This is the FA Cup of Comedy! Each act is one win away from the prize of £10,001. It will be fascinating to see how they all handle the pressure of this and who comes out on top. We're delighted with the quality on show, and even the bookies can't separate them!"
Steadman has posted a blog article in which he talks more about the process of organising the competition.
In the article he emphasises that the competition is aimed at recognising those who can deliver great club sets. "This competition I suggested should be for acts who (and I can't believe I was so brazen in suggesting this) were actually really funny. Imagine a comedy award for THAT! In order to be authentic, a great comedy performance does not necessarily need to be making a deep political statement, or be inspired by a family death, or plot the painful journey of the comedian's personal suffering. This competition should be about making people laugh, in comedy clubs. Normal people on a night out, looking to be entertained and go home with their faces aching from laughing."
The blog also reveals the competition will return. Steadman explained: "The same prize money is guaranteed for the next two years, to help support working comedians and promote the exciting festival that PetFringe is, and wants to be. Next year, 2019, we will be holding more heats, allowing more acts the chance to prove what they can do in front of an audience and not just from a video, and we will be travelling further around the UK in finding who will be Petfringe Comedian Of The Year 2019."