It was third-time lucky for part-time comic Masai Graham when he was named winner of the annual competition to find the “funniest joke of the Fringe” – with a gag about organ donations.
The Midlands comic, who fits stand-up comedy around being a care worker, triumphed in the annual public poll after being shortlisted in the previous two years.
Graham, runner-up to one of his comedy heroes, Tim Vine, in 2014, won this year with his gag: “My dad suggested I register for a donor card, he’s a man after my own heart.”
Graham, from West Bromich, has claimed the coveted Fringe title six months after being named the UK’s “Pun Champion.” The 35-year-old, performing at the Fringe for the fifth time, has written more than 200 jokes for two separate stand-ups shows.
Graham said: “I actually decided to come to Edinburgh five years ago after reading about the list of the funniest jokes. That was my ambition. To come second and fourth in the last two years was amazing and I thought it was a hoax when I heard I’d won.
“I’m not a professional comedian at the moment. I just do gigs in my spare time when I can, probably around two or three nights a week, and I do a lot of open mic nights to try out new material.”
Graham, who is appearing at Dropkick Murphy’s, edged out Glasgow funnyman Stuart Mitchell, shortlisted for his joke: “Why is it old people say “there’s no place like home”, yet when you put them in one…?”
The top ten was drawn from 50 contenders put forward by leading comedy critics who had seen more than 600 shows between them. Mark Watson, Tiff Stevenson, Michelle Wolf and Arthur Smith were among the others to make the 15-strong shortlist.
Stevenson was among the comics to make the shortlist with a topical gag: “Brexit is a terrible name, sounds like cereal you eat when you are constipated.”
Wolf looked ahead to the race for the White House with her shortlisted joke: “Hillary Clinton has shown that any woman can be president, as long as your husband did it first.”