Nottingham and Birmingham dominate the Awards in 2016
Notts county clubs and comedians dominated proceedings at this year’s Midlands Comedy Awards ceremony, taking six of the ten awards. Veteran comics Duncan Oakley and Barry Dodds walked away with the top prizes, winning Best Act and Best MC respectively, with Dodds also winning the Online Comedy award for the Parapod podcast he produces with fellow comedian Ray Peacock.
Nottingham-based Funhouse Comedy secured the Best Comedy Club trophy, beating the Glee Club into second place. While Best Small Club went to FAF Comedy, another Notts-based endeavour, with Black Country newcomer Blue Giraffe as runner-up. There was also triumph for NCF, who run Nottingham Comedy Festival, as their monthly night at the Canal House won Best Open Mic Show, edging out last year’s winner The Holly Bush.
Birmingham and Black Country also put up a strong showing, capturing the rest of the trophies. Current UK Pun Champion Masai Graham, who also picked up Joke of the Fringe this summer, and holds the all-time record for most nominations, added the Breakthrough Act gong to his growing haul, with Leicester-based Alex Hylton coming second. The Best Live Show gong went to Late Night with Boabby Roaster, a transmedia sketch and standup hour by Damian Hyde, Jack Kirwan and Andrew McBurney, with Alex Hylton once again runner up.
For the hotly-contested Best New Act title, Birmingham’s Moses Ali Khan – already a multiple award winner – beat Leicester’s Sarah Johnson into second place. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was character comic Paul Palmer, who performs comedy magic as “Count Evil”, winning the Best Alternative Act prize after less than twenty gigs, pushing his close friend Andrew McBurney into second place.
The final award of the evening went to Dave Francis and Billy McGuire who received the Outstanding Contribution prize for Bushfest, which is billed as the world’s smallest comedy festival. Operating on two stages, one indoor and one outdoor, Bushfest delivers four days of free comedy every summer at the Holly Bush venue in Cradley Heath, and attracts some of the country’s best professional acts who are road-testing their shows pre-Edinburgh Fringe.
Brummie comedian Jay Islaam, who heads up the Awards Committee, commented: “This year’s Midlands Comedy Awards have been bigger than ever. More comedy clubs than ever before were involved in the process of deciding the shortlists. And almost 5000 votes were cast to decide the winners.
“Created in 2013, the Awards recognise the huge number of hard working and talented people in our regional comedy community. These are the individuals who bring laughter to thousands across the Midlands and beyond every year, and this Awards Gala is our big annual celebration for the regional scene. We started out very small, and couldn’t have imagined how important they would become to the acts and comedy clubs in the Midlands, who now see them as a fixture in the industry calendar.
“We’ve had a really exciting night, with performances by some exceptionally gifted comedians, and a wonderful celebration of the huge amount of comedy talent across the Midlands region. I’d like to congratulate all of the winners. I’d also like to thank the hundreds of people in the comedy industry, as well as the wider public, who took part in selecting the finalists and deciding the final results.”
The finalists for the Midlands Comedy Awards are chosen by Midlands-based comedy clubs. The award winners are chosen by public vote. Almost 5000 votes were cast to decide the winners for the awards this year.