Comedian Russell Kane has finally won the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe festival having been nominated for the previous two years. On Saturday the award was announced by pub landlord and awards host Al Murray - who received the award in 1999 - and last year’s winner Tim Key at the famous Spiegeltent in George Square. Previous winners of the prestigious title include Stephen Fry, The League of Gentlemen, Frank Skinner, and Sean Hughes. The panel of 10 who chose the final winner was made up of comedy critics, producers, and the winners of a competition based on extensive knowledge of comedy.
30 year old Russell said he was “utterly humbled” by the award for his show ‘Smokescreens and Castles’ about growing up in a council house – nicknamed the ‘castle’. As Russell says “I go room by room and explore my childhood home...The previous shows were about big ideas. This year’s show was really personal. I thought it was really simple but sometimes when you boil it all down gems start to appear. I really enjoyed it.” It is a show that has been hailed as Russell’s best-yet and the Sunday Times described it as “bold, defiant, shot through with vulnerability”. Russell grew up in Enfield and currently lives in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex and has commented that his win is largely thanks to help he received in September. Russell underwent the Hoffman Process for anxiety and depression due to nerves, “Last year was so intense...I was so anxious I would get to the venue 50 minutes before”. He said the help he received unwound his head and had a hugely beneficial impact on his work, “I managed to calm down that internal energy. I found a better way to write. It stopped my magpie brain turning into lard with too many associations.”
The Best Newcomer Award was also announced and Roisin Conaty received the prize for her show ‘Hero, Warrior, Fireman, Liar’. Roisin who lives in Camden North London - which she absolutely loves - has been performing on and off for the past 6 or 7 years and her comedy is largely story-based, truthful, and she also throws in a few characters. Roisin’s show at the Pleasance Dome in Edinburgh was all about being asked to make a speech to pupils at her old school, and when she’s back in London her favourite venues for performing include the 99 Clubs, the Old Rope on a Monday, and downstairs at the King’s Head in Crouch End.
The 20 year old American Bo Burnham also received the Panel Prize with his electrifying show, but The Guardian feels he should have claimed the top prize, describing Russell as excellent but loving the sheer unadulterated originality of Bo’s show. Bo will be heading back to the States but is sure to make a huge impact on the comedy scene when he returns to the UK.
Russell will be performing his show ‘Smokescreens and Castles’ throughout the UK until May 2011, so if you fancy a comedy treat head on down to check out his box of delights.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017