(This blog originally appeared in What’s On Stage)
I’m organising the Malcolm Hardee Awards until 2017 although “organising” was an anathema to Malcolm. With luck, the ashes in his urn will forgive me.
We have now announced this year’s shortlist, but there were other acts I personally saw and wished I could have included but we couldn’t.
Prime among these was Tricity Vogue’s The Blue Lady Sings at The Three Sisters, which mixes kitsch theatricality, Freddie Mercury, torch songs, audience involvement, Blues medleys and a bright pink ukelele and which has more laughs than several alleged comedy shows I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe. It’s highly original and almost indescribable because it falls into no existing genre. But it’s not comedy as such; more a music show.
All The King’s Men at Espionage (not to be confused with the totally different All The King’s Men at Surgeons Hall) brings together four highly promising young Scots comics including Richard Gadd who has aspirations to high levels of weirdness which, if developed, could easily bag him a Malcolm Hardee Award in the next couple of years.
And joker in the pack is my comedy chum the elfin and highly talented Laura Lexx in Quiz in My Pants at Dragonfly. All three of this show’s team studied Stand-Up Comedy (yes they did) at the University of Kent at Canterbury… as did other Fringe participants Tiernan Douieb, Jimmy McGhie, The Noise Next Door and Pappy’s.
Malcolm Hardee’s ashes must be turning in that South East London urn of his at the thought of anyone studying Stand-Up Comedy but, on present evidence, this Kent course looks like it may turn into a comedy equivalent of Malcolm Bradbury’s legendary Creative Writing course at UEA.
Who has won this year’s three Malcolm Hardee Awards? We won’t know until around midnight on Friday during Nik Coppin’s nightly Shaggers show.