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Funny Women Awards 2016 Opens

17 Apr

Are you the next Sarah Millican or Bridget Christie? Here’s your chance to show the world!

The Funny Women Awards began in 2003, and have helped to shape successful careers for many brilliant comedians, writers and filmmakers, such as Bridget Christie, Susan Calman, Katherine Ryan, Sara Pascoe, Zoe Lyons and Sarah Millican.

The awards answer the tired question of ‘are women funny?’ and continue to prove that this isn’t a topic that should need debating. The Funny Women Awards celebrate their fourteenth contest this month, with new categories and a new venue for the final in September.

“This year’s awards are getting a refreshing makeover” explains Funny Women founder, Lynne Parker, “with regional finals replacing semi-finals, and the winners going on to a prestigious final at KOKO in London. Each of the six Stage Award finalists will be mentored by an established comedian, with Sara Pascoe and Ellie Taylor among them.”

Since 2003 Funny Women has explored the country in search of the new female face of comedy, and seen over 2500 contestants go through hundreds of heats. This year the awards will visit Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, London and Brighton to scout out the best new talent.

Very funny Sara Pascoe has previously scooped up an award, and is delighted to be a part of this year’s competition: “I love women, I love funny ones the most and I’m so pleased to be part of something encouraging the new exciting generation as well as supporting the important work of Refuge”.

New categories have been added to the contest, including ‘Best Show’ which will highlight the impact women are making on full-length comedy shows. This will show off the 60+% increase in touring female comedians bringing their shows to the Edinburgh Festival.

“With an extra category and record breaking entries of the last couple of years, we are raising the bar even more this year” says Lynne Parker. “The regional finals for the Stage Award gives us the opportunity to present even more great new female talent across the UK and Ireland, and the equal status of both the Comedy Writing and Comedy Shorts Award, alongside the Stage Award, is another important development in terms of the competition. 2016 promises to be a very exciting year for female comedy.”

The Edinburgh heat takes place on 9 June at The Newsroom and the Regional Final takes place on Sunday 14 August, at Big Cave at Just The Tonic, during the Edinburgh Fringe

Register now here

The Funny Women Awards – Categories

Stage Award
Comedy Writing Award
Comedy Shorts Award
Best Show Award

For full details on how to apply, deadlines, and categories, please visit the Funny Women website, or tweet @funnywomean #FWAwa

‘I highly recommend it, it’s a great place for women to hone their act’ – Miranda Hart

‘I can’t wait to see what a great bunch of women this year produces’ – Aisling Bea

Punchline Recommends: Iain Stirling ‘Touchy Feely’

28 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

You may recognise Iain Stirling as a children’s TV presenter, or maybe more recently as the voiceover for Love Island: whichever way you’ve known Iain in the past, be sure that by the end of the Fringe you’ll recognise Iain Stirling as one of Scotland’s best comedians. Iain Stirling performs his new show ‘Touchy Feely’ at Pleasance Courtyard through the 2015 Edinburgh Festival.
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This is by no means Iain’s first time at the Fringe, he has been performing to Edinburgh audiences for over 3 Years. 2015 sees Iain at his very best, however, Iain has never dipped from being at his best every time he prepares a show for Edinburgh. ‘Touchy Feely’ shows Iain’s well-developed and beautiful experience as a comedian, as he weaves his way through jokes and stories that leave the crowd roaring with laughter throughout.

Iain Stirling doesn’t just tackle the big issues of modern day, but also the smaller ones that affects us all. From fast food horrors to non-drinking friends who like Tupperware, Iain’s show incorporates excellent observations with top-class jokes, making for an utterly brilliant and very, very funny performance.


Catch Iain Stirling’s ‘Touchy Feely‘ at Pleasance Courtyard 19.40.

Punchline Recommends: Tom Toal ‘Sunshine on Bexleyheath’

25 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Tom Toal is a real feel-good, super-lovely comedian, and it’s completely impossible not to enjoy an hour in his company. This year Tom Toal returns to the Edinburgh Festival for his second full show ‘Sunshine on Bexleyheath’ at Pleasance Courtyard, and I strongly recommend taking the time to watch him now.
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Tom Toal’s set is a story, a heartwarming narrative about all the good and challenging things in his life. From raising his baby daughter to leaving/returning to his hometown of Bexleyheath, Tom questions and reviews his younger self and how much he has changed since making his original plans. Tom Toal always delivers a good story, and his words are completely infectious the more he travels through the tales.

Catch Tom Toal ‘Sunshine on Bexleyheath‘ at Pleasance Courtyard 20.30 throughout the Fringe.

Punchline Recommends: Nish Kumar ‘Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m So Clever’

25 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Nish Kumar is a truly brilliant comedian, and he is showing Fringe audiences just how good he is with his new show ‘Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m So Clever’. As a self-confessed left-wing comedian, Nish covers some very big issues, and he covers them well, bringing humour to personal and pertinent topics.
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Nish Kumar’s show title may throw you off course, dumming down just how clever Nish is for a good laugh. However, Nish really is the smartest man on stage at this year’s Fringe, expertly weaving jokes and pure comedic gold in to his well thought out narrative. Nish puts his points across strongly, but more importantly, keeps the audience continuously laughing from the second he is on stage, to the second he leaves.

Catch Nish Kumar ‘Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m So Clever‘ at Pleasance Courtyard Upstairs at 19.15.

Punchline Recommends: Kai Humphries ‘How to be Happy’

22 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Kai Humphries is happy, and he’s spending an hour each night at the Edinburgh Festival sharing with us how we can be just as happy as him. His new show for 2015 ‘How to Be Happy’ is completely infectious, an hour of comedy that will leave you buckled over in laughter, and also emotionally enlightened.
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Kai Humphries goes out of his way to find the good in a situation: from parking tickets to bullying, there is nothing that escaped Kai’s positive grasp. Kai’s knack for putting silliness into a bad situation makes the punchlines even better. Just when you think Kai has had a rough time, like he’s finally met his doom, that sparkle appears in his eye and he quickly whips out a fantastic bit of comedy.

If you want to be happy, then spend an hour with Kai Humphries in The Gilded Balloon, at 20.00 throughout the Fringe.

Punchline Recommends: John Hastings ‘Marked From the Start’

20 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Punchline favourite John Hastings returns to the Festival this year, in a bigger venue with an even bigger show. ‘Marked From the Start’ is a hilarious, yet emotional tale of John’s early years, and how family life in Canada has shaped him into the comedian he is today.
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John tells his anecdotes with passion, cleverly incorporating comedy into every story. John finds the funny in everything he does, and shares his imaginative and smart sense of humour with the audience at every turn. ‘Marked From the Start’ is a real insight into John’s own personal life, meaning the comedy it brings with it is very realistic and touching, and makes for a seriously good hour of stand up.

Catch John Hastings ‘Marked From the Start, at 21.40 at Pleasance Courtyard Bunker One.

Punchline Recommends: Rob Beckett ‘Mouth of the South’

20 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

If you like Rob Beckett on TV, you will like Rob Beckett on the stage – he really is that funny in real life. ‘Mouth of the South’ is Rob’s brand new Fringe show for 2015, and is definitely worth a watch if you get a chance this festival.
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Rob Beckett’s hour of comedy is a run through of all the funny things that he’s come across this year. From DIY to Proms in The Park, Rob’s stories may not seem that great on paper, but there is beauty in the way he tells them, and the way he perceives a situation so differently to the rest of us, that makes his act so brilliant.

Mouth of the South‘ shows Rob Beckett at his best – loud, silly and very, very funny. Catch Rob Beckett at Pleasance Dome at 20.00 throughout the festival.

Punchline Recommends: Laura Lexx ‘Lovely’

17 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Laura Lexx is Lovely in every possible way; she is upbeat, friendly, optimistic and a seriously good comedian. Laura has a lovely story, and she’s using her first hour long solo show at the Edinburgh Festival to share it with us.
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Laura Lexx has a beautiful stage presence, perky and smiley with every joke. She describes her positivity as being ‘smug’, but it is nothing of the sort, and is instead endearing, making for a very funny show. Spending an hour in Laura’s company is a delight, and could pick up the most miserable or pessimistic person in attendance. The bubbly punchlines accompany brilliant stories, making ‘Lovely’ by Laura Lexx, the feel good hit of the Festival.

Catch Laura Lexx ‘Lovely‘ at Udderbelly Clover 4.05.

Punchline Recommends: Andrew Ryan ‘Perfectly Inadequate’

16 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

Andrew Ryan is delightfully charming and equally funny in his new 2015 show ‘Perfectly Inadequate’. Andrew’s hour set includes his current tales of living as an Irish man in London, alongside very personal stories of his family and home. This show is good old fashioned, story-telling at its best, and is a comedic treat whatever your background may be.
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Andrew Ryan is a naturally very funny man, who’s talent for whisking hilarity in to any anecdote is evident from start to finish. Every tale is a joke, and every punchline evolves from a story, making for a truly great hour of stand up.

Andrew Ryan’s ‘Perfectly Inadequate‘ is on at Assembly George Square at 19.50.

Punchline Recommends: Tez Ilyas ‘Tez Talks’

16 Aug

Words by Susan Ford

‘Tez Talks’ is the new show from Tez Ilyas, and is an outstanding hour of comedy. Born and raised in the UK, Tez Talks about being a Muslim in modern day Britain. The show is less political than you may think, and instead, is an absolutely hilarious round up of his experiences of belonging, his opinions, and the public conception of his own religion.
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Tez’s show is not just delivered in the most perfectly light-hearted and joyous way completely unique to only him, but has also clearly been written by a true comedic professional. The content is exciting, thought-provoking and downright brilliant, portraying Tez at his very best in Edinburgh this year.

Tez Ilyas ‘Tez Talks‘ is on at Pleasance Below in the Courtyard at 19.15.

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