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Our region possesses a breadth of comedy talent that is widely recognised and respected around the world. The Midlands Comedy Awards acknowledge the achievements of talented acts and high quality venues in eleven different categories. Nominations can be put forward by Midlands-based comedy professionals to create a shortlist, and the winners are chosen by an online public vote.

Best Act
Recognising our region’s finest comedy act. All types of comedy act qualify for this category: standup, musical, character, sketch, double acts… you get the picture. As long as they have produced and performed comedy at a comedy club, for broadcast, or online distribution during the last 18 months.

Best MC
The compere is the glue that holds any comedy night together. A great compere can turn a lackluster, apathetic crowd into a frenzy of wild, punchline-hungry chimps devouring every witticism with appreciative glee. (Just remember to make them turn off their damned phones!) MC’ing a comedy night well is a special skill that can takes years to master. The finest practitioners of this art are in high demand and this award recognises the talented people who get our audiences in the right mood to enjoy some organised fun!

Breakthrough Act
The Breakthrough Act category exists to recognise performers who have “really hit their stride”, “shifted into a higher gear”, “found their comedic voice” etc. etc. in the 18 months. They may have created a new, original and crowd-pleasing character/routine. Or perhaps they’ve found a new twist on an old idea and taken it to a different level. This category is for acts who have been performing comedy for more than three years. (This award can only be won by the same act once.)

Best New Act
The Midlands has produced dozens of nationally renowned comedy acts, and continues to introduce and nurture new talent at comedy shows across the region. The Best New Act category recognises performers who have performed less than 100 gigs or who have emerged on to the scene in the last three years. (Either option is acceptable to be considered eligible. However, this award can only be won by the same act once.)

Best Alternative Act
This category exists to recognise the region’s most innovative and creative non-mainstream comedy acts. It can include, but is not limited to, character comedy, prop comedy, musical comedy, surrealist humour and any aberrational, unconventional comedic offering. What it likely won’t include is young middle-class white boys in skinny jeans and a T-shirt doing observational shtick or Stewart Lee impressions.

Best Live Show
Every year Midlands comedians head to the furthest corners of the country to entertain audiences across the land, either on tour or as part of international festivals. This category recognises the best long-form shows (30 minutes or more in length) produced and performed by Midlands acts over the 18 months.

Online Comedy
Comedians reaching out to audiences through the internet in new and innovative ways is likely the future of comedy. We want to be ahead of the curve on this one, and so we’ve created a category to recognise comics who are making a digital splash through their podcasts, blogs, social media and online offerings.

Best Comedy Club
The Midlands is home to dozens of professionally run comedy venues and this award will recognise the best-run comedy nights in the region. There is no restriction on venue size or regularity of performances, and any comedy club operating in the Midlands can be nominated for this award.

Best Small Comedy Club
The region is home to dozens of smaller diligently run comedy clubs and this award will recognise them. Every Midlands comedy club hosted at a venue with less than 100 seats is eligible for this award.

Best Open Mic Show
New talent only develops if it’s given a platform to emerge and improve. New material only yields comedy gold after it’s been sieved through the unforgiving mesh of comedy-savvy / apathetic punters in the back room of a pub. This category recognises the open mic nights, comedy competitions and gong shows that welcome new talent and offer a platform for new material to be developed.

Outstanding Contribution
This award will be decided by the votes of Midlands-based comedy promoters and will recognise an institution or individual(s) that has made a positive contribution to the regional comedy scene. (This award can only be won by the same person/institution once.)