Stand-up comedian Eric Rushton has won the prestigious Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year 2020 new act competition.
The contest, which sees the best new acts - as nominated by promoters - competing for the title, is seen as a strong marker of future star status.
Speaking after being announced the winner, Rushton said: "I feel like an imposter, I don't know what happened! I expect the decision to be reversed in the next 24 hours! My mum Loretta will be buzzing, thanks for all the support. Thanks to Leicester Comedy Festival for giving me the opportunity!"
From Stone in Staffordshire, he made his stand-up debut in 2014. He was a Midlands Best New Act finalist and a Chortle Student Award runner up in 2016, and English Comedian of the Year semi-finalist and a So You Think You're Funny? finalist in 2017.
His social media biography describes himself as: "Funny bastard. Future arena comic. Host of the unrecorded podcast Comedians In Edinburgh Getting Chai Lattes."
This is the competition's 26th year, with previous winners including Jason Manford, Johnny Vegas, Romesh Ranganathan and Josh Widdicombe. Other notable finalists include Jimmy Carr, who performed a rap when he entered the competition in 2001, Greg Davies, John Bishop, Simon Amstell and Jack Whitehall.
The final took place as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival tonight (Saturday 22nd February). Seven of the best up-and-coming acts performed their sharpest seven minutes at the final, which was hosted by Dan Nightingale.
Below are highlights from the final:
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