The winners of the Midlands Comedy Awards 2021 have been announced at a ceremony at the Canal House in Nottingham this afternoon (5th December).
The finalists were selected via a secret ballot of the region's comedy promoters, with the winners then decided by public vote. More than 4500 votes were cast this year.
Scott Bennett was named Best Act for a third time in a row, and he also triumphed in the Best Live category.
The full list of winners is below.
Best New Act
Second: The Boys from All Night Chemist
Third: Richard Dadd
Best Live Show
Scott Bennett - Relax
Hollywood Comedy Club
Second: Glee Club - Birmingham
Third: Funhouse Comedy
Best Small Club
Second: The Holly Bush
Best Open Mic
The Holly Bush
Second: Canal House (NCF Comedy)
Third: Kamikaze Club
Co-founder and director of Leicester Comedy Festival, Geoff Rowe, was given the Outstanding Contribution award in recognition of "his nearly three decades promoting comedy in the Midlands region."
He says: "I'm delighted to accept this award on behalf of the community that helps sustain Leicester Comedy Festival. To all the staff who work so hard, and to the promoters, agents, venue staff, sponsors, volunteers and of course comedians who continue to help make the festival the longest running comedy festival in Europe. We're so looking forward to being back in February 2022 with an incredible programme of over 800 events. We'll also be back in February 2023 when we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of Leicester Comedy Festival. I'm thrilled to be able to accept this Midlands Comedy Award for Outstanding Achievement."
The annual ceremony - which recognises the talent of comedians and contributions of comedy clubs in Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire - has been running since 2014.
Awards founder, Jay Shareef, comments: "It's been a challenging couple of years, and the region's comedy community collectively decided not to have awards last year. But we're back with a bang for 2022, and it great to see so much new talent getting recognition as it shows that the Midlands as a whole is still nurturing and encouraging acts to develop.
"No-one here is surprised at Scott Bennett's success. This is his third Best Act win in a row and, with five in total, he's the most successful solo act in the history of the Midlands Comedy Awards. His popularity has been rising for years, he's produced some pioneering online content, and his recent appearance on the BBC's Live At The Apollo has catapulted him on to a new level of success."
The organisers add: "The Online Comedy gong was inevitably going to Jack Kirwan, whose viral comedy character Gary Powndland has now become the centrepiece of popular theatre-filling shows across the region and beyond. Jack won the same award last time around as well, but this year he had strong competition from runner-up Scott Bennett, whose Stand-up from the Shed became an online hit during the lockdown.
"The surprise of the night was in the Best Comedy Club category, where Hollywood Comedy Club, launched in April 2018, took the prize ahead of Birmingham's well-established Glee Club. Based in South Birmingham, the relative newcomer has brought circuit headliners to the sleepy suburb of Hollywood, and has a reputation for giving stage time to rising local talent."
More information about the awards is available at midlandscomedy.org