Midlands Comedy Awards 2015 Finalists Announced
Brummie comic Masai Graham leads the pack with four nominations, having made the shortlists for the Best Act, Breakthrough Act, Best Live Show and Online Comedy categories. The one-liner specialist was runner-up in the Best Act category last year, and his sharp witticisms have assured him a regular place in the annual “Best Joke” lists produced for the Edinburgh Fringe.
Following closely behind, Nottingham funnymen Patrick Draper and Scott Bennett also feature in two categories. As does Leicester comedian Jason Neale, who receives recognition for his skill as a compere and for his one-man show.
This year, the Finalists include a more varied range of comics and comedy clubs, with the East Midlands being represented much more heavily than in 2014. In addition, several new award categories have been adopted including Best Show – for shows performed at festivals and tours – and Best Alternative Act, which will recognise the most innovative non-mainstream comedy performers from the Midlands.
The Glee Club, which was awarded the Best Club trophy last year, is once again nominated and will be joined by previous runners-up CAN Comedy as well as Just The Tonic, Nottingham’s Playhouse and Voodoo Lounge in Stamford. The new category of Best Small Club is perhaps the most hotly-contested of all, with eight finalists – the majority of them running shows in the East Midlands.
Last year’s winners were chosen by the public, with more than one thousand votes being cast. This year the Best Acts categories will be decided by those working in the comedy industry – performers, promoters, reviewers and comedy club staff – while the Awards for comedy clubs/nights and Online Comedy will be voted upon in a public poll.
Individuals from within the comedy industry, as well as the public, can vote through the midlandscomedy.org website. Voting closes at midnight on 31st December 2015.
The Award for Outstanding Contribution, last year awarded to Telford-based comedian and impresario Roger Swift, will be decided based on nominations made by Midlands-based comedy promoters.
The Midlands Comedy Awards are run by Midlands-based comedian Jay Islaam, and were created to recognise the enormous breadth of comedy talent and quality venues in the Midlands region.
Winners will be announced at an Awards Gala on the 20th of January 2016, which will take place at The Mockingbird Theatre in Birmingham.
The Awards are only open to Midlands clubs and comedians. Only acts resident in the Midlands are eligible for nomination. So, according to Islaam, “someone like Gary Delaney or Frank Skinner would no longer qualify as they’ve moved away, Whereas, we do have a Scottish act on the shortlists, and he qualifies because he’s been living in the Black Country for a few years. We accept ‘The Midlands’ to be the geographical region recognised as ‘East Midlands’ and ‘West Midlands’ for EU election purposes. So it will include chunks of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.”
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