The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards shortlist etc etc at the Edinburgh Fringe

Papa CJ with publicity for his extra show

Papa CJ with publicity for his extra Edinburgh Fringe show

At the Edinburgh Fringe, time moves simultaneously fast and slow. It seems interminably long but we are already a week away from it ending. They say a week is a long time in politics. At the Fringe, in a few brief hours things can change dramatically.

At about 6.30pm last night, I had a chat for a future blog with Indian comedian Papa  CJ. He was flying home today. Then, this morning, I got a message that he was going to do an extra show tomorrow night at 5.15pm.

No idea what happened there and haven’t had time to ask.

Among other shows yesterday, I saw Jordan Brookes’ Adventures in Limited Space. Before the show actually started, he mentioned to his techie (in front of the audience) that he had had six Fosters Comedy judges in and had had a Daily Mirror 5-star review that morning. True or false, it’s a terrible way to start a show. Also, mentioning me being in the audience three times is counter-productive. Jordan – an actor – has a show in there somewhere, but in another three years perhaps.

The always excellent Alexander Bennett is only annoying because of his youth and the amount of hair he has. His show which promised I Can Make You a Moron largely failed to because he attracts and retains non-moronic audiences (myself excluded).

Chris Lynam has changed his entire act and is now Eric The Fred

Chris Lynam. New act. New face. Eric The Fred

Then there was Chris Lynam’s Eric the Fred. Chris was, legendarily, one of the Greatest Show on Legs troupe with Martin Soan and Malcolm Hardee. He gained some fame/infamy by sticking a firework (ideally a three-stage Roman Candle) between his buttocks and having it lit to the strains of Ethel Merman singing There’s No Business Like Show Business. Malcolm Hardee had tried this first but, with less buttock control than Chris, had let the incendiary droop and set fire to his own pubic hair. Chris was and is made of sterner stuff.

Chris’ Eric The Fred show is far from this and brings to mind Monte Carlo style mime and clown shows of the 1950s and 1960s and very up-market performance art shows. It would not go amiss in Las Vegas and is astonishingly sophisticated, complex and professional. It demonstrates where a bit of pyrotechnic nudity can take you if you have immense talent.

Which brings us to the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards. We drew up a shortlist this afternoon. There are three categories:

  • The Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality
  • The Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award for best publicity stunt plugging an act or show at the Fringe
  • The Malcolm Hardee ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ Award
The bare image promoting the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards

The man it commemorates – Malcolm Hardee

The judges this year are: Marissa Burgess, Kate Copstick, John Fleming, Jay Richardson and Claire Smith.

I reckon there should probably ideally be three nominees in each category.

We started with 13 possibilities for the Comic Originality award and cut them down to 4.

There were 3 for the Cunning Stunt Award.

And 3 (which became 4) for the Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid Award.

The reason we had 4 not 3 nominees for the Comic Originality and Million Quid Awards was that we could not agree on whom to knock out. So it should be an interesting discussion we have at Friday lunchtime when we decide the winners.

The acts we finally agreed on for the shortlist were, in the nearest I can manage to alphabetical order:

COMIC ORIGINALITY

  • Michael Brunström
  • Richard Gadd
  • The Story Beast
  • Mr Twonkey

CUNNING STUNT

  • Miss Behave – for spreading around town large bits of brown cardboard with odd sayings on them and no show title but the hashtag MBGS (promoting Miss Behave’s Game Show)
  • Matt Roper – for getting access to critic Kate Copstick’s Facebook account and posting a message apparently from her praising himself)
  • Abigoliah Schamaun – for adding review stars from non-existent publications to her posters

ACT MOST LIKELY TO MAKE A MILLION QUID

  • Sarah Callaghan
  • Phil Ellis
  • Laurence Owen
  • Al Porter
Lewis Schaffer: creating a cult

Irrelevant but surely not unexpected picture of mentioned Lewis Schaffer

During our lively discussion, the name of Lewis Schaffer – almost inevitably – cropped up.

After Lewis Schaffer’s shocked reaction to his recent 5-star review in The Scotsman, Kate Copstick suggested: “If we really want to devastate Lewis Schaffer and possibly his chances for a future career, we should give him the award for the Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid.”

We decided against this as it might have made him tumble into an even steeper spiral of depressed hopelessness at the possibility of imminent success.

On a more tragic level, my toothache pops up occasionally, though still at a low level, and today, when I phoned up my dentist to make an appointment next week, I found out he was on holiday in India until 14th September.

I can only pray his plans are as fluid as Papa CJ’s.

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