Janine Harouni wins BBC New Comedy Award 2019

Thursday 15th August 2019, 7:48pm

BBC New Comedy Award. Janine Harouni. Copyright: BBC.

Janine Harouni has been named the winner of the BBC New Comedy Award for 2019.

Broadcast live on Radio 4 from the BBC's iconic tent at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, five competitors performed in the final, in the hopes of winning the top prize. Comedian Mark Watson hosted the show.

New York native Janine Harouni has been performing stand-up for less than three years but is already one of the UK's fastest-rising newcomers. Winner of both the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year 2018 and The 99 Club Female Comedy Bursary 2019, she has been featured on Comedy Central, Comic Relief, and BBC Three.

She said of her win: "I'm very surprised, I knew a lot of the comics before I went on and they're all brilliant so it was a bit terrifying, but I was on a lot of prescription painkillers because I had kidney stones so that helped keep me calm! Thanks to everyone at BBC Radio 4 and especially to my parents who have given me so much material throughout the years."

This year's other finalists in the BBC Introducing Radio 4 Comedy Award 2019 were Donald Alexander, Hannah Platt, Josh Jones and Mo Omar. The judges were Simon Evans, Nina Conti, Zoe Lyons and the BBC's Sioned Wiliam.

Wiliam comments: "This year's BBC Introducing Radio 4 Comedy Award had such a high calibre of finalists, each with their own distinctive styles. All five performers absolutely deserved their place in the final and I look forward to hearing more from all of them in the future. In the end, Janine shone with confidence from the very beginning, and had some incredibly original material. I'm so proud that Radio 4 is able to provide a platform for the best new comedians to launch their careers."

After coming off air, Mark Watson noted: "As usual, everyone stepped up superbly to the daunting task of going live in front of a large room and a massive radio audience. It must have been a tight call, but Janine held her nerve to open the show - which is a very tough ask - and was extremely accomplished. She's going to have a great comedy career and I'm delighted (but also jealous) to see these comic voices going into the world."

The BBC New Comedy Award is noted for discovering future stand-up stars. Previous finalists in the competition include Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Lee Mack, Sarah Millican, Russell Howard, Joe Lycett, Josie Long, and Nina Conti.

This year's competition received over 750 entries, with 50 acts selected for regional heats, which took place in London, Manchester and Cardiff, and were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

In addition to the much sought-after accolade, the winner takes home £1,000 and a 15-minute script commission from BBC Studios. The finalists will also be mentored by the BBC Studios comedy team across the year and receive advice, guidance and the chance to write for and appear in slots across the BBC.

The show is available to listen again via BBC Sounds, whilst a TV version will be available on BBC iPlayer from Monday.

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