Fringe’s top joke ‘stolen from Frank Sanazi’

Darren Walsh won the award, but the joke appears to originate with Frank Sanazi (inset).
Darren Walsh won the award, but the joke appears to originate with Frank Sanazi (inset).
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The Fringe’s award-winning best joke of 2015 was apparently ‘stolen’ from another comedian.

Darren Walsh scooped the award this week for the joke: “I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It’s Hans free.”

However, it now appears that the joke originated with his friend and fellow Fringe act Frank Sanazi - a Hitler-themed comedy lounge singer.

The character, played by Pete Cunningham, is currently performing at the Voodoo Rooms, belting out his own pun-laden versions of old classics and gags which occasionally play on German language and history.

The pair had a Twitter exchange in April in which Cunningham tweeted the ‘Hans free’ gag, which he said he had been used for about seven or eight years.

Cunningham said that it was a result of a joke within a joke for his Frank Sanazi character.

Pete Cunningham as Frank Sanazi. Picture: comp

Pete Cunningham as Frank Sanazi. Picture: comp

“One of my old gags was that I have an agent called Harvey Goldberg, obviously that’s the joke. So he asked me to remove all the German numbers from my phone, and now it’s Hans-free.”

However, with no hard feelings, Cunningham said he wasn’t “bitte”, about the award going to his friend.

“It’s not even a good gag, it was my ‘wurst’ joke,” He laughed.

“It’s ‘in-fuhrer-ating’, but I’ve no hard feelings.

“Congratulations to him, I mean what do I want with another award? I’m 52-years-old, I’ve got a whole attic full of golf trophies.”

A spokesperson for Dave, the TV channel which sponsors the award, said: “The jokes for the Dave Joke of the Fringe Award are submitted by 10 extremely experienced comedy critics.

“Each submission is checked and cross-referenced for originality before being put to a public vote.

“We’re entirely confident that the 2015 award has gone to the rightful recipient, as voted for by the panel and public.”

Frank Sanazi is often billed as performing with the Iraq Pack, featuring Saddami Davis Jnr, Osama Bing Crosby, and Dean Stalin.