Why is Edinburgh the Funniest Place in the UK?

Quite simply because it is home to the biggest comedy prize in the UK: The Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

This year was as ever a huge year for comedy in Edinburgh, the Festival City was in full peacock mode; flashing its multiple festivals and discount theatre tickets available for all the locals and tourists to absorb like crinkly poncho wearing rabbits in a storm of multi-coloured firework inspired headlights. It is easily the biggest and best arts festival in the world and at its heart is a rich vein of pure comedy sniggering away behind the curtains of every beer soaked venue and champagne doused stage within the city’s ancient limits.

A Foundation for Ferociously Famous Funny Folk

The Edinburgh Comedy Awards have been in existence since 1981. It has been known as the Perrier Comedy Awards, the if.comedy Awards and now the Fosters Comedy Awards, and through all these years it has gracefully maintained its prestige and talent for unearthing supremely funny people. You might recognise past prize winners and nominees such as:

  • Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Tony Slattery – 1981
  • Sean Hughes – 1990
  • Frank Skinner, Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard and Lilly Savage – 1991
  • Steve Coogan, Joe Brand and Harry Hill – 1992
  • Lee Evans, Phil Kay – 1993
  • Alan Davies – 1994
  • Tim Vine – 1995
  • Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Rich Hall and Al Murray – 1996
  • Al Murray, Graham Norton and Johnny Vegas – 1997
  • Ed Byrne, Peter Kay, Al Murray and The Mighty Boosh – 1998
  • Al Murray and Ross Noble – 1999
  • Rich Hall, Lee Mack and Dave Gorman – 2000
  • Jimmy Carr – 2002
  • Flight of the Conchords – 2003
  • Tim Minchin – 2005
  • David O’Doherty, Rhod Gilbert, Sarah Millican and Russel Kane – 2008
  • Russel Kane – 2009 + 2010

As you probably recognise at least 90% you can see how the Edinburgh Comedy Awards are a funnel through which the funniest folk on the face of the planet have been directed into the global television spotlight.  Lee Evans for instance won the award in 1993 and has gone on to enjoy a global comedy career, has become a regular face in Hollywood movies and is currently selling out his tour with theatre tickets in London available if you’re quick…

So who won in 2011?

Well my money was on Nick Helm, due to the fact he had already picked up an award for the best joke of the festival…he looked like a shoe in.

But the eventual winner was Adam Riches for his show: ‘Bring me the Head of Adam Riches’. His ever bellowing style was a hit as he encouraged audience members to embarrass and injure themselves for his, his victim’s and everyone else’s amusement with enjoyable, if unsophisticated success. Here’s a video of him in action (Warning: some bad language and adult themes):


“But what was the funniest joke of the festival?” I hear you ask…

“I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

Edinburgh will always be every comedian’s Mecca. You should visit.