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Here are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions. You’re going to look at some of these and think “Is anyone stupid enough to need these answered?” Yes, yes and yes. There are some incredibly stupid people out there. How do we know? Because we’ve spent quite a bit of time answering their messages in the past.

1. Who chooses the Finalists for the Awards?
The people who promote and produce comedy in the Midlands region decide who goes on the shortlists for each category. We’ve had hundreds of comedians and comedy promoters contact us with their views. We tallied up all their nominations and put the Top Five onto the shortlists.

2. But there are more than five Finalists. What gives?!
A very large number of acts and clubs were nominated. Which meant a lot of acts and clubs got the same number of nominations. So the “Top Five” sometimes includes six, seven or even eight names.

3. I still don’t get it. Can you dumb that down for me?
Two or more acts came “joint fifth” in the nominations process. It’s just simple maths, dumbass. Pffft.

4. Yeh, but comedian X, who is my favourite act, is not on the shortlist. How is that fair?
We don’t choose the acts who end up on the shortlists. We just tally up the votes. So take it up with the comedians and comedy promoters who nominated. (And with those that didn’t.)

5. But I’m not done complaining about this…
Yes you are!! Just because you think an act is brilliant, doesn’t mean everyone else thinks the same. We’re not saying that the chosen Finalists are right or wrong. We’re just telling you what the people who nominated – i.e. the people who actually put in the legwork to organise live comedy shows – have decided, through a democratic process.

6. This is an outrage! I demand to know who nominated whom!?
Tough. The nomination process is confidential. We made a promise to the comedy promoters before they submitted their nominations that we wouldn’t be sharing their opinions with anyone else. They have to deal with comedians all the time on a professional basis. Damage someone’s ego – and the comedy scene has plenty of fragile egos – and you damage your working relationship with them. So maybe they want to keep it confidential that they voted one comedian as being better than another one. Don’t you think?

7. But how do we know you went to the right people to ask their opinion?
We reached out to every single comedy promoter in the Midlands we could find, and offered them the opportunity to participate. A very large number of them responded positively, including respected comedy promoters from both the East and West Midlands.

8. I bet they all voted for themselves and their friends, didn’t they? DIDN’T THEY??
No-one was allowed to nominate themselves. They were also not allowed to nominate anyone involved in organising the Awards. Those seemed like the fairest restrictions to put in place to avoid any accusations of unfairness.

9. Is a public vote going to be fair? Can’t these online polls be manipulated?
We are trying to ensure fairness as far as possible. Which is why we’re using a voting system that mitigates the possibility of someone flooding us with votes for themselves or their favourite. The votes will be carefully reviewed by the people involved in organising the awards. We won’t go into exactly how, as it’s better not to publicly lay out your fraud prevention measures.

10. So the people who win are the ones who get the most votes? It’s just a popularity contest!?
Yep. That’s how “voting” works. It’s a popularity contest. If you prefer comedy awards that are chosen by a committee of people then there are plenty of them around. We are going with the democratic option instead. We have faith that people will vote for the acts and clubs they think deserve their vote. It’s a secret ballot, after all.

11. Art should be for its own sake. Awards sully the purity of any art form, right?
Do you just really enjoy being a killjoy?? No-one is forced to nominate. No-one is forced to vote. The fact so many people have taken part in this process demonstrates that there are many out there who see some value in what we’re doing. And what we’re doing is celebrating the huge breadth and quality of talent within the Midlands comedy scene.

12. I’m still not satisfied. I disagree with the process and the results. Who can I complain to?
You’re welcome to disagree. But the process was transparent, and was independently overseen – with secondary and tertiary vote count – to ensure fairness. So you can complain to my big wobbly ass. Or go and run your own awards. Yeh, the second one. Go do that. Because my ass has better things to do than listen to your irritating protestations. It’s currently busy converting mince pies into blubber. Merry Christmas, dick! 🙂