Monday, 14 January 2013

Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year - finalists announced

The excitement is growing as festival time draws ever closer. Today, the finalists have been announced for one of the most prestigious awards in comedy. Every year, the cream of the country's up-and-coming stand-ups compete for the title of Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year as part of Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival.

The 8 finalists have been hand-picked by some of the country's top comedy promoters, and will each perform a set at The Y Theatre on Saturday, February 23, hoping the competition will be a stepping stone to stardom, as it was for previous winners Rhod Gilbert, Johnny Vegas, Mitch Benn, Seann Walsh and Jason Manford.

Cheeky urchin Johnny Vegas won the title in 1997
The contest is being judged by a panel of top industry experts, including Bruce Dessau from the Evening Standard, representatives from 'agents to the stars' Off the Kerb and Mick Perrin Worldwide, TV channels Dave and Comedy Central... oh yeah, and some bloke called Paul Banks representing the Leicester Mercury - never heard of him.

So who are this year's finalists? Well it's best that I just copy and paste the details from the press release here, I can't be seen to be making any judgements or showing any favouritism, so here they are in the order they were sent to me, unedited:

Lucy is a hugely talented comedy actress, writer and winner of the BBC New Comedy Award 2012, Radio 2's search for new stand-up talent. In 2011 she was a finalist in the Gilded Balloon's nationwide stand-up comedy competition So You Think You're Funny? In 2009 Lucy was elected to be mentored by Jeremy Dyson (League of Gentlemen) as part of Northern Laughs, a BBC initiative aimed at finding new comedy writing talent in the North of England. Since then Lucy's work has been showcased by BBC Comedy North, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the 24:7 Theatre Festival.

Laughing Horse New Act of The Year 2010 semi finalist, 2010’s So You Think You’re Funny? finalist and Latitude New Act of The Year 2010, comedian and writer Romesh Ranganathan has had an extremely busy year. As well as supporting well known comedy names such as Seann Walsh, Andy Osho and Paul Chowdhry in 2012, Romesh also took on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Definitely one to watch in 2013.

Adam Hess’ skill for joke-writing and his likable, high-energy performance style assured him a place as one of the most exciting new acts of 2011 and winner of the Chortle Student Comedy Award. At last year’s Edinburgh Festival he performed regularly to full houses and as part of the Chortle Fast Fringe. He has also performed as part of the Best of Chortle Awards Tour and on the comedy stages of the Southsea Festival, Cornbury Festival and Latitude.

Jamie Demetriou is an award-winning character comedian, writer and actor. His student revue show 'Bristol Revunions' received critical acclaim at Edinburgh Fringe 2009-2011. He also wrote a sitcom pilot in 2011 that was shortlisted for the main prize in the BBC's 2011 Laughing Stock competition. He is now a regular on the London stand-up circuit and is currently developing material for Channel 4.

Since November 2008 Danny Ward has been travelling Great Britain, often in his T reg Polo, sometimes on a coach, entertaining audiences with his unique style of observational humour. A self-proclaimed tataholic, Danny Ward is on a mission to spread the lesson he refuses to learn – when you try and do things on the cheap, it ends up costing you more. With a delivery that is up-beat and well honed, his easy-going style is both endearing and very funny. Danny was a finalist in the Amused Moose New Act Competition in 2009 and for the last three years has hosted many of the London heats of So You Think You’re Funny?, as well as the Reading New Act Competition Finals in 2009 and 2010.

BBC New Comedy Award finalist, Tez hit the ground running the moment he entered the comedy scene - he's found himself in seven competition finals and won the much coveted Comedy Store's King Gong! A mischievous and engaging comic, he has a much needed insight into today’s multicultural society. Tackling a variety of topics with an intelligent mind, he has a flair for deconstructing modern society and subverting audience's expectations. His playful style and cheeky personality allows him to speak his mind; couple this with his wry wit and he is able to entertain audiences everywhere with his unique take on the modern world. Tez is one third of Chuckle Sandwich who made their Edinburgh Fringe debut with their split-hour show, Gags, Songs & Bombs! in 2011, receiving both four and five star reviews!

Delivering an inventive stream of one-liners, Chortle Award nominee 2012 Mark Simmons is quickly establishing himself as a young comic to watch. With a strong, material driven set laden with quirky quips and slow-burners, his understated style is intelligent and full of laugh out loud gags. He also comperes for the Lonestar comedy clubs across the Kent area, and hosts for Brighton’s Red Brick Comedy Club and Comic Boom at the Brighton Komedia.

Winner of The Chortle Student Comedian Of The Year 2012, runner up in the Loaded LAFTA’s Search for a Star 2011 and finalist in The Leicester Square Comedian of The Year 2010, Kwame uses his undeniable charisma and on stage presence to play against audience’s expectations, which makes his comedy fresh, intelligent and most importantly funny. He has already played The Boat Show, Joker Southend, Up The Creek and Careys Comedy Club Coventry.

Your host for the evening, Mr Jarred Christmas.
So there you have it. One of those listed above will be crowned Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, and the likelihood is that it will do their career a whole lot of good. Tickets for the show, hosted by loveable kiwi Jarred Christmas, are available at, priced £15 (£13.50 concessions). See you there!

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