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Adam Riches & Pleasance Triumph at Edinburgh Comedy Awards

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The Pleasance scooped all three of this year’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, adding to its haul of six Scotsman Fringe Firsts, in arguably the “Big Four” venue’s most successful festival in its 26-year history.

The main prize, for Best Comedy Show, went to Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches, Riches’ character comedy sketch show, at the Pleasance Courtyard. The award includes a £10,000 cash prize.

Commenting on Riches’ win, Nica Burns, producer of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards said: “An extremely strong shortlist and a very hard decision. Congratulations to Adam Riches, who is utterly original, extremely funny and a huge talent. He will no doubt be seen on your television screens in the near future!”

Meanwhile, Best Newcomer and the Panel Prize, winning an additional £5000 each, were scooped by, respectively Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! and The Wrestling, both also running at the Pleasance Courtyard during the Fringe.

The former is the debut solo show from one-third of sketch group The Penny Dreadfuls. The latter, the brainchild of Max Olesker (formerly the youngest pro wrestler in the UK) and Ivan Gonzalez of sketch duo Max and Ivan, was a event pitting 20 top comedians against top wrestlers for one night only on 15 August.

Previously known informally as the Perriers, after their long-standing original sponsor, the Edinburgh Comedy Awards are often dubbed the 'Oscars of comedy' and are one of the most coveted prizes at the festival. 2011 broke a new record with 505 eligible shows considered by the ten-strong judging panel.

Omid Djalili, who hosted today’s ceremony, along with 2011 winner Russell Kane, at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, said: "These awards for comedy at the Edinburgh festival are traditionally so prestigious most acts would be content with just a nomination. Everyone except me. I should have won in 2002. I lost out to a bloke who looked like a sexual deviant. Fortunately, Daniel Kitson has long since proved he is not. Then again I haven't seen him in a while."

The Panel Prize is not shortlisted. The full 2011 nominations in the other two cateogories are as follows – with winners denoted in red bold:

Best Comedy Show:

  • Adam Riches: Bring Me the Head of Adam Riches
  • Andrew Maxwell: The Lights Are On
  • Chris Ramsey: Offermation
  • Josie Long: The Future Is Another Place
  • Nick Helm: Dare to Dream
  • Sam Simmons - Meanwhile

    Foster’s Best Newcomer:

  • Cariad Lloyd: Lady Cariad’s Characters
  • The Chris and Paul Show
  • Hannibal Buress- My Name is Hannibal: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience
  • Holly Walsh – The Hollycopter
  • Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher!
  • Josh Widdicombe: If This Show Saves One Life
  • Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD
  • Totally Tom

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