The Foster's So You Think You're Funny? Award is the UK's most coveted award for new stand-up comedians, with previous winners including Dylan Moran, Peter Kay and Lee Mack. And on Thursday night at the Edinburgh Fringe, Aisling Bea became the second woman to win it in its 25 year history.
A fizzing, funny and brilliantly confident comedian and actress from Ireland (you may recognise her as Sharon Horgan's sister in Dead Boss), Bea was a deserved winner of this year's award. Although to compare her routine and style to Jonathan Pelham - who came what would appear to be a close second, as the judges' deliberation took longer than expected - is to compare chalk and cheese. While Bea's assured, hilarious set popped and crackled with energy, Pelham is an understated stand-up whose delivery stays just the right side of nervous, luring you in to what actually turns out to be a wonderfully written routine with an extremely dark, utterly brilliant pay-off. Pelham also came second in Chortle's Student Comedy Award last week, and both he and Bea are clearly stars of the future.
The all-female judging panel - which was headed by Ruby Wax and the award's founder, Karen Koren - also decided to give a joint-third award this year, with the softly spoken Wayne Mazadza and the charming Murdo Haggs sharing the prize.
Collecting her award and £2,000 prize, Bea said: "The only thing I’ve won before was dairy hamper raffle – and then I forgot to thank my mum. So: thanks, mum."
SYTYF winner Aisling Bea (right) with the Gilded Balloon's artistic director, Karen Koren
And in other Edinburgh Fringe news...
Mies Julie, an acclaimed South African production of Miss Julie, won the Best Of Edinburgh Fringe Award; The Scotsman has helpfully rounded up a list of the worst shows on the Fringe; a blogger for Wales Online stayed up 'til 8.30am drinking whiskey with Rhod Gilbert; David Hasselhoff was spotted at the Edinburgh Tattoo (presumably, this time he didn't get a parking ticket); and the packed So You Think You're Funny party was disrupted at around 12.30am by a fire alarm - meaning that everyone had to evacuate the building and stand around outside in the rain. Well, this is Edinburgh...