A BARBED jibe at the troubled singer Amy Winehouse was hailed yesterday as the funniest joke of the Fringe.
Comedian Zoe Lyons earned the top spot in a public vote, organised by the television channel Dave, from a line-up of 30 jokes chosen by comedy critics. The winning one-liner appears in her show, Mangled Mantra of the Messed-up Modern Mind.
It runs: "I can't believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She's so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her."
Lyons, 33, from Brighton, said: "I know self-harming is not funny but it's just a joke, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it."
Lyons received almost 12 per cent of the public vote after ten comedy critics trawled through acts for favourite gags.
Comedian Ian Stone did not make the shortlist published yesterday but said: "I saw Zoe's show, and I saw that gag. It made me laugh.
"I can see why that's the most popular joke, because Winehouse is in the paper every day. She's a legitimate target."
The IF comedy awards producer, Nica Burns, said: "It makes you laugh, doesn't it? Zoe has a very black sense of humour."
Heard the one about … the top ten gags
1 Zoe Lyons – "I can't believe Amy Winehouse self-harms. She's so irritating she must be able to find someone to do it for her."
2 Andrew Laurence – "Most of us have a skeleton in the cupboard. David Beckham takes his out in public."
3 Lloyd Langford – "My girlfriend said, 'Did you know that hippopotamuses kill more people every year than guns?'. 'Yes,' I said, 'but a gun is easier to conceal."
4 Josie Long – "When I was a kid, I asked my mum what a couple was and she said, 'Oh, two or three'. And she wonders why her marriage didn't work."
5 Tim Vine – "Velcro. What a rip-off."
6 Stephen Grant – "The Scots invented hypnosis, chloroform and the hypodermic syringe – wouldn't it be easier just to talk to a woman?"
7 Edward Aczel – "So far bird flu has only killed 47 people. By the time it ends, it's going to have killed 37 million. It's got to get going, hasn't it, if it's going to be the pandemic we've all been hoping for."
8 Joan Rivers – "Grandchildren can be f****** annoying. How many times can you go, 'And the cow goes moo and the pig goes oink'? It's like talking to a supermodel."
9 Tom Stade – "I like Jesus but he loves me, so it's awkward."
10 Jeff Kreisler – "People were outraged because of Barack Obama's spiritual adviser. I think it's great he had one. Who was George Bush's spiritual adviser? Jim Beam? Johnnie Walker? Jack Daniels?"