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New Scottish Comedy Awards plan unveiled

The awards coincide with the comedy festival, where Rory Bremner will perform. Picture: Rob McDougall

The awards coincide with the comedy festival, where Rory Bremner will perform. Picture: Rob McDougall

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

IT IS the country that gave the world renowned comics such as Billy Connolly, Frankie Boyle, Stanley Baxter, Rhona Cameron and Rikki Fulton.

But there has never been proper recognition for the Scotland’s leading comics in their own country – until now.

Plans have been unveiled to stage an Oscars-style ceremony to recognise the unsung heroes and rising comedy stars.

The new Scottish Comedy Awards, which will be held every spring, will coincide with the staging of the Glasgow Comedy Festival, although the two are being run entirely separately.

Organisers hope the event will have a similar impact to the Scottish Album of the Year Awards, which were launched just two years ago and are now established as one of the highlights of the industry calendar north of the Border.

Other comparable events launched over the last decade include the Critics Awards 
for Theatre in Scotland and the Scottish Jazz Awards.

Glasgow-based promoter Alan Anderson decided to set up the Scottish Comedy Awards after acts from north of the Border were ignored at the British Comedy Awards last year.

He also pointed out that there have only ever been a handful of home-grown winners at the main awards at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which are normally open to performers from anywhere in the world. Two of the most high-profile Scottish winners, Phil Kay and Bruce Morton, triumphed in the late 1980s.

Although a plea for nominations has been circulated by Mr Anderson around industry figures in Scotland, they will only be accepted from comics, promoters, staff working in venues, TV and radio producers, and comedy critics.

He told The Scotsman: “When you look at the number of other events that are being held in Scotland these days comedy is the one thing that we don’t seem to shout about.

“There are some fantastic acts working on the comedy circuit in Scotland but they are not getting any recognition at all.”

Tommy Sheppard, director of the Glasgow Comedy Festival is a long-time opponent of industry awards, famously refusing to grant judges free tickets to Stand Comedy Club shows during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

He said: “These kind of awards schemes are entirely self-serving and I strongly believe that they actually do the industry a disservice. We have absolutely nothing to do with the Scottish Comedy Awards.”

Creative Scotland said it was currently unable to provide a breakdown of its spending on comedy north of the Border.

 

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