It is the award that all Fringe comedy performers dream of: following in the footsteps of festival luminaries such as Tim Vine.
Now Scouse stand-up Adam Rowe has scooped the accolade of performing the most hilarious joke at the Fringe, with a gag about losing his job.
Rowe’s joke about the irony of being fired from a job centre was voted the winner by 41 per cent of people who voted in the 11th annual Funniest Joke of the Fringe award.
During his show, Undeniable, Rowe, whose set focuses on his working-class roots in Liverpool, said: “Working at the JobCentre has to be a tense job – knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day.”
Jokes about veganism, Donald Trump, and exorcism all also feature in the winning gags, with one top ten entry coming from previous winner Darren Walsh. Comedian Leo Kearse scooped the runner-up spot with his gag, “I had a job drilling holes for water – it was well boring”.
And Olaf Falafel took third place with the joke, “I took out a loan to pay for an exorcism. If I don’t pay it back, I’m going to get repossessed”.
Rowe, who has worked as a professional comedian for seven years after quitting his bar job after being named Liverpool Comedian of the Year in 2011, is appearing at the Fringe as part of a UK-wide tour.
He said: “I’m absolutely over the moon and quite blown away by this! It’s my favourite joke in the show, as it ends the bit I’m most passionate about; trying to dispel a few myths of what it’s like to be brought up on benefits.
“It’s such a huge honour, I really never expected to be in with a shout of winning things like this, so it’s just a massive but lovely surprise.”
TV station Dave, which sponsors the awards, enlisted the help of an expert panel of ten judges to find the funniest one-liners at the Fringe, consisting of the UK’s foremost comedy reviewers, including The Scotsman’s comedy critic, Brian Donaldson. They scoured venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to nominate their six favourite jokes, with the shortlisted gags, which are listed anonymously, then voted on by 2,000 Brits to reveal the jokes they found funniest.
Previous winners of the coveted award include Ken Cheng, Masai Graham, Tim Vine, Rob Auton, Stewart Francis, Zoe Lyons and Nick Helm, with both established comedians and up-and-coming stars eligible for the gong.
Luke Hales, Dave channel director, said, “This year, the news agenda and everyday British idiosyncrasies have provided some wonderful opportunities for comedians to use their creative and comic genius in giving us all a giggle.
He added: “As ever, we have enjoyed some quite brilliant one-liners and are delighted to crown Adam Rowe as the recipient of this year’s Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe Award.”
1, Adam Rowe: Working at the JobCentre has to be a tense job – knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day.
2, Leo Kearse: I had a job drilling holes for water – it was well boring.
3, Olaf Falafel: I took out a loan to pay for an exorcism. If I don’t pay it back, I’m going to get repossessed.
4, Daniel Audritt: In my last relationship, I hated being treated like a piece of meat. She was a vegan and refused to touch me.
5, Flo and Joan: What do colourblind people do when they are told to eat their greens?
6, Darren Walsh: I’ve got a new job collecting all the jumpers left in the park at the weekends, but it’s not easy. They keep moving the goalposts.
7, Justin Moorhouse: Trump said he’d build a wall but he hasn’t even picked up a brick. He’s just another middle-aged man failing on a DIY project.
8= Adele Cliff: “I lost a friend after we had an argument about the Tardis. I thought it was a little thing, but it seemed much bigger once we got into it”
8= Alex Edelman: “Why are they calling it Brexit and not The Great British Break Off?”
10. Laura Lexx: “I think love is like central heating. You turn it on before guests arrive and pretend it’s like this all the time”