Our region possesses a breadth of comedy talent that is widely recognised and respected around the world. The Midlands Comedy Awards will be acknowledging the achievements of talented acts and high quality venues in ten different categories for 2017. Nominations could be put forward by comedy promoters who operate shows anywhere in the Midlands, as well as comedy acts/performers who are resident in the Midlands.

For the purposes of these awards, the Midlands includes the following counties: Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.

The winners will be chosen by an online vote that takes place in November 2017.

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 2017.

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 last year. 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 two years.

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 emerged in the last two years or have done fewer than 100 gigs. Specifically, this category will usually include acts who began performing comedy during or after October 2015.

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 produced and performed by Midlands acts over the last year.

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. To be eligible for this category a club must be “professionally-run”, meaning that it normally pays all of its performers a fee, with the exception of a limited number of “tryout” spots for progression purposes. (A nod towards petrol, or expenses, doesn’t count as a fee.) There is no restriction on venue size, and any comedy club operating in the Midlands can be nominated for this award as long as it has run at least 12 shows in the last 12 months.

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 120 seats is eligible for this award as long as it has run at least four shows in the last 12 months.

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 that welcome new talent and offer a platform for new material to be developed. Every free entry open mic show in the Midlands is eligible for this award as long as it has run at least four shows in the last 12 months.

Outstanding Contribution
This award will be chosen by Midlands-based comedy promoters and will recognise an institution or individual(s) that has made a positive contribution to the regional comedy scene. There will be no public announcement of nominees, and the award winner will be revealed at the Awards Gala on 4th December 2017.