Often dubbed the 'Oscars of comedy' and previously known informally as the Perriers, after their long-standing original sponsor, the Awards currently comprise three categories: Best Comedy Show (including £10,000 prize money), Best Newcomer and the Panel Prize (both of which come with a £5,000 cheque).
The 2011 shortlists are:
Best Comedy Show:
Foster’s Best Newcomer:
Nica Burns, producer of the Awards said: “This record-breaking year of 505 eligible shows demonstrates the incredible strength of the UK comedy scene, which is bursting with talent both familiar and new and continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Not only that: in the run-up to this year’s Fringe, everyone was predicting that 2011 would be an exceptional year for newcomers – they were right.
“With 100 extra newcomer shows to consider, it came as no surprise that the panel was spoilt for choice. This inspired the longest debate in the history of the Newcomer Award, and a second vote. Result: an unprecedented shortlist of eight, all of whom the panel feels should be encouraged, as they clearly have a brilliant future in comedy.”
The winners will be announced on 27 August at a lunchtime ceremony at Dovecot Studios, Infirmary Street. Opening the envelopes are this year’s host Omid Djalili and last year’s Best Comedy Show winner, Russell Kane.