The Foster's Comedy Awards shortlists were were revealed on Wednesday, and when the nominees gathered together on Thursday, there was a lot of love - as well as talent - in the room. Not least because many of the nominees aren't just contemporaries, but mates.
"It's great to be among all my friends - I feel genuinely in awe of what they're doing," said Josie Long, whose wonderful show Romance And Adventure is up for Best Comedy Show (read our short review here). "I'm just so happy to be part of it - I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true."
Her words are echoed by Tom Parry of the sketch group Pappy's, who are also up for the Best Comedy Show. "It feels like a very special year for us because all the other nominees are friends - and fantastic," he says. "The fact that Claudia O'Doherty is on the list meant everything - it's the best thing I've seen at the Fringe for years - and it's so great to see Tony Law on there, too. Plus James Acaster, Josie Long... The list is full of friends and it's just so lovely."
And Claudia Doherty herself repeats the sentiment, saying: "It's so nice to be nominated with all my friends." And did she see her nomination - for her acclaimed show The Telescope - coming? "Not at all," she says. "It's very exciting and very shocking - I genuinely had no idea that any of this was going to happen."
Best Newcomer nominee Joe Lycett was similarly "shocked and obviously delighted" to make the shortlist. But then, his whole Edinburgh run has been something of a lovely surprise. "I've been spoilt I was expecting to be stressed, or panicked, but it's been none of those things," he told us. "It's been so relaxed, and the audiences have been great."
His fellow nominee David Trent - whose loud, hilarious show Spontaneous Comedian revolves around a set of pre-prepared video clips and slides - said that he was a "lucky boy" to be nominated. "I just do what I do," he said, modestly. "I haven't really got any other choice. I can't do straight stand-up with a microphone, it's much too difficult. I find this is the way to do it."
And whether they win or not, all the nominees are clearly grateful for the recognition they're now getting for all their hard work. Pappy's have been garnering five-star reviews across the board for Last Show Ever!, and as Tom Parry says: "It's taken us six shows to make the best show we've ever made. We knew we had something that was special to us and that we were really invested in. We worked really hard on it, harder than we've ever worked - so it means everything to have this recognition."
But, adds fellow Pappy's star Matthew Crosby: "The nomination is lovely, and important, but we already had the best reward - performing a show we really loved, and people getting excited about it."
And while Pappy's may be the ones to beat, plenty are wondering whether Long - who's made the shortlist for the past two years, and won Best Newcomer in 2006 - finally triumph in the main award this year. "It's my sixth Edinburgh show and I do feel like it's the best show I've done," she admits. "So I'm really, really happy to be nominated. But I've already had it where I've been nominated twice and didn't win it - so I'm fine with that. Whatever happens is cool. This more than enough for me, to be amongst my friends."
Meanwhile, in other Fringe news...
Lady Riso has won the first Edinburgh Fringe award dedicated to cabaret; David Hasselhoff got a parking ticket; the Underbelly is set to become a year-round arts site; and in an amazing feat, the Belfast Telegraph has rounded up not the top 10 jokes but the top 100 from this year's Fringe. Good work, guys!
And in the latest photos...
Street performers dominate the Royal Mile, the MacDonald's festival opening times are revealed, we find the best beer mat in the world... and more:
The Fringe starts here - official!
This sort of thing is perfectly normal on the Royal Mile right now.
...as is this...
Thought Julian Assange was safely holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy? Think again...
And the award for Best Lighting In A Fringe Venue Bar goes to... The Underbelly Cowgate!
They also win the Most Imaginative Form Of Signage award, too.
Unfortunately, we haven't got round to asking him yet.
Only in Edinburgh. On a former church.
Some lampposts (and posters) have seen better days. Well, it is the last week of the Fringe.
No, readers, we didn't.
Again, perfectly normal Royal Mile behaviour.
It's 'Wind In The Willows', in case you were wondering.
Well, it beats 'Golf Sale'.
And THAT'S how you hand out flyers with style.
Imaginative marketing for The Boy With Tape On His Face, aimed at giants.
What is it? We're afraid we can't tell you. Because it's hidden. Sort of.
And no, that 'hidden gem' isn't the castle.
The main BBC venue at the Edinburgh Fringe. It is very large, and very blue.
Although there is also a pink tent, if you prefer...
...and a table tennis table!
Inside the blue venue you saw earlier. We told you it was big.
Waiting to see a show at the Voodoo Lounge - possibly the coolest venue entrance. Especially at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
Even MacDonald's has got into the Fringe spirit!
The best beer mat ever - and a nice Fringe show marketing ploy.
Where to find a show at The Pleasance.
Show posters - now with added stars.
Not the Battersea Power Station, but the Underbelly venue.
The Gilded Balloon - pretty in pink (and purple).
The Assembly - lit up like a Christmas tree. (Includes mini Christmas trees)
Audiences are down - but there are still queues. Very long queues.
Need a ride?
Every space is covered.
Proof that it doesn't always rain in Edinburgh: sunshine on The Meadows...
...where performers like to chill out.
The reviews board at the Underbelly.
Has Richard Herring's cock ever been so big?
The Pleasance Courtyard - still a festival focal-point...
...and still one of the prettiest venues.
Although if you prefer Magners to Foster's, head to the Underbelly.
Avalon Comedy's 'street team' of flyers are now, wisely, equipped with umbrellas.
Star ratings - more important than show titles...
...and sometimes more important than the entire poster.
The giant inflatable cow that IS the Underbelly.
We told you it was giant.
You saw the Underbelly show - now buy the sweatshirt!
Lights! No cameras! Action!
Yeah - what ABOUT a Fat Stag Burger?
The Pimms man is happy, despite rain affecting sales.
The Pleasance courtyard by night.