Nominations are announced today for the 29th annual “Oscars of comedy” at the Edinburgh Fringe - and it’s a strictly male affair. Following the loss of another headline sponsor (See News, 3 Jun 2009), the coveted prizes previously known as the Perriers, have been permanently rebranded as simply the Edinburgh Comedy Awards (or “Eddies” for short). Of the 11 nominees across the main Best Comedy Show and Best Newcomer categories, there isn’t a single woman.

Winners are announced this Saturday 29 August 2009 in Edinburgh. In the final two days of the festival, there will also be two Awards Shows, featuring performances by winners and nominees, on Sunday 30 August at 11pm at the Pleasance and on Monday 31 August at Assembly @ George Street.

The annual West End showcase season of shortlisted acts, which usually follows in the autumn, will not take place this year. However, the winning Best Comedy Show will be invited to the Montreal, Toronto and Chicago Just for Laughs Comedy Festivals.

Speaking about the make-up of the nominations, Edinburgh Comedy Awards producer Nica Burns said that, while they reflect “an outstanding year of highly creative, original comedy performance dominated by stand-up ... I can’t help but be disappointed that no women made the list this year despite them representing 15% of all comedy shows. Whilst there was much to be liked at the end of the day, it was felt that 2010 would be their year. I would urge them all to return and beat the men at their game!”

Established in 1981, the first Perrier award was given to the Cambridge Footlights, which featured a stellar line-up including Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery and Emma Thompson. It has since gone to comedians including Lee Evans, Al Murray, Frank Skinner, Steven Coogan, Jenny Eclair and last year's winner David O'Doherty.

After the awards’ long association with Perrier, Intelligent Finance stepped in in 2006 as part of a three-year sponsorship deal which saw the prize retitled the if.comedy Awards. But the Scotland-based mortgage company, a subsidiary of HBOS, decided not to renew its sponsorship in the wake of the economic downturn.

Despite the lack of sponsorship, the prize monies remain the same in 2009. The winner of the Best Comedy Show also receives a cheque for £8,000, while the winners of Best Newcomer and an unshortlisted Panel Prize receive £4,000 apiece.

The nominations are as follows...


BEST COMEDY SHOW

  • Idiots of Ants: This Is War

  • John Bishop: Elvis Has Left The Building

  • Jon Richardson: This Guy at Night

  • Russell Kane: Human Dressage

  • Tim Key - The Slutcracker

  • Tom Wrigglesworth’s Open Return Letter to Richard Branson

BEST NEWCOMER

  • Carl Donnelly – Relax Everyone, it’s Carl Donnelly

  • Jack Whitehall – Nearly Rebellious

  • Jonny Sweet: Mostly About Arthur

  • Kevin Bridges: An Hour to Sing for Your Soul

  • Pete Johansson: Naked Pictures of My Life


For full coverage of Edinburgh 2009 - including reviews, interviews blogs, news, features & video – go to Whatsonstage.com/Edinburgh2009