Scott Bennett won Best Act at the annual Midlands Comedy Awards this week, with veteran compere Barry Dodds recognised as Best MC for the fourth year in a row, meaning both the top prizes went to Notts-based performers.
Yorkshireman Bennett, who was support act for Rob Brydon’s latest national tour, also picked up the Best Live Show award for “Leap Year”, his second full-hour production, with Black Country resident Laura Monmoth’s “LGBTQZX” show getting the runner up prize.
In previous years the Best Act award has gone to more established comics and TV names, like Tom Binns and Joe Lycett. Bennett taking the top prize, with fellow newcomer Josh Pugh coming second, could suggest a shift towards a younger generation of performers getting more recognition.
In the Best New Act category, Douglas Carter won a tightly fought race, with Donald Mackerel coming a very close second.
Best Comedy Club went to Birmingham-based The Glee Club who beat Funhouse Comedy in a repeat of last year’s result. The Glee has now won the award in three of the last five years, cementing its reputation as top dog in the Midlands comedy club scene.
The Best Small Comedy Club award was picked up by NCF Comedy, which runs shows at venues across the East and West Midlands and organises the popular Nottingham Comedy Festival.
Awards Director Jay Islaam commented: “The Organising Committee and I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners. A lot of new names were recognised in our shortlists this year, which demonstrates that fresh talent is emerging and developing constantly in our region. It’s been an interesting year for the Awards. At one point we’d pretty much accepted they wouldn’t be happening at all, but the Midlands comedy community were adamant they continue. This is our fifth year, and we’d like to thank all the comedians and comedy promoters who voted to decide the results.”
Instead of ten main prizes, as in previous years, the 2018 Awards were condensed down to six categories. This was to be the first year the Awards were run by someone other than original founder Jay Islaam. A new Head of the Organising Committee was appointed in August 2018, but resigned from the position eight weeks before the planned Awards ceremony was to take place, leaving the event in a precarious and uncertain position.
Subsequently, Islaam returned to helm the Awards but, given the short timescale, with no venue booked and having to start from scratch, the decision was taken to run a simplified version for 2018, with an intention to recognise the full ten categories again the following year.
Winner: Scott Bennett
Runner-up: Josh Pugh
Winner: Barry Dodds
Runner-up: Jason Neale
BEST LIVE SHOW
Winner: Scott Bennett
Runner-up: Laura Monmoth
BEST NEW ACT
Winner: Douglas Carter
Runner-up: Donald Mackerel
BEST COMEDY CLUB
Winner: The Glee Club
Runner-up: Funhouse Comedy
BEST SMALL CLUB
Winner: NCF Comedy
Runner-up: The Holly Bush