Scottish comic Richard Gadd in running for top comedy award
A Scottish comic is in the running for the most coveted award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time in more than two decades.
Richard Gadd, one of the hottest tickets on the “free Fringe” in recent years, is one of the eight contenders for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards prize.
The Fife comic spends the majority of his show Monkey See, Monkey Do, a deeply personal exploration of masculinity, running on a treadmill.
He has built up a cult following on the Fringe thanks to a decision to stage his shows in the tiny Banshee Labyrinth venue off the Cowgate.
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Despite being a relative unknown on the Fringe, Gadd has already landed work with both Channel Four and the BBC, and has starred in the E4 comedy Tripped and in ITV series Vicious.
Gadd, 26, from Wormit, is the first Scot to be nominated for the best comedy show prize at the Fringe since Phil Kay and Parrot were both in contention in 1993. There has not been a Scottish winner since Arnold Brown in 1987.
Scott Gibson, who is appearing at the Gilded Balloon, is the first Scot to be in the running for the best newcomer award since fellow Glaswegian Kevin Bridges in 2009.
Awards director Nica Burns said this year’s line-up was the most international in the 36-year history of the contest, which has propelled the likes of Frank Skinner, Sean Hughes, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Steve Coogan and Lee Evans to fame in previous years.
Also in contention along with Gadd are Irishman Al Porter and three Australian acts - Tom Ballard, puppet show Randy Writes a Novel and Zoe Coombs Marr, the only female act to make the shortlist.
The other three contenders for the main award are James Acaster, who has been nominated for the first year in succession and two of last year’s losing finalists, Kieran Hodgson and Nish Kumar.
The £10,000 prize is only open to performers who are not regularly appearing in venues with a capacity more than 500. The winners of the two main awards will be announced on Saturday afternoon.
Ms Burns said: “One of the reasons we’ve not had had any Scottish comics on the main list is that people like Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle have gone from starting to stardom and playing big venues very quickly.
“Richard Gadd’s show is a moving as it is funny. As he says himself, he started to write something and it turned into something else. He is really performing all the voices in his head and actually moves you to tears.
“His show really pushes the boundaries of comedy. Most comedians draw on their life experiences and their personal opinions inform everything they say. Richard has a very intimate show revealing personal details - it’s an extraordinary story, but it’s also very funny.”