Glasgow’s Larry Dean could win top Edinburgh Fringe comedy award

Glasgow comic Larry Dean is in the running to be named the best act at this year's Fringe
Glasgow comic Larry Dean is in the running to be named the best act at this year's Fringe
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A rising Glaswegian star is in contention to become only the third ever Scot to win the most prestigious comedy award at the Fringe - with a show rewritten at the eleventh hour after the break-up of a long-distance relationship.

Larry Dean has become the second Scot to make the shortlist for the main Edinburgh Comedy Award in the space of three years with a show inspired by a split with his Australian boyfriend.

Dean, a previous Scottish Comedian of the Year, is one of seven contenders for the prestigious prize, which was won by Fife-comic Richard Gadd in 2016. The only previous Scottish winner was Arnold Brown in 1987.

Dean, who is performing at Assembly Checkpoint, has made the main shortlist three years after being nominated in the best newcomer category.

The 28 year-old, who has been performing stand-up for around eight years said: “I was jumping about all over the place when I found out I was nominated.

“The first person I phoned was Luke, who most of the show is about, in Australia to wake him up and tell him.

“We were together for two and a half years and actually only broke up about two weeks before the start of the Fringe.

“It’s a bit weird, because the show was going to be about us staying together despite the distance between us. Now it’s about us breaking up. It was a real last-minute change. I just can’t lie when I am on stage. I’ve always been a terrible liar.”

Dean, from the Shawlands area of Glasgow, has won rave reviews in recent years for material contrasting his experiences of growing up gay in Glasgow with his strict Catholic upbringing, and his relationship with his brother, who is a priest.

He said: “Having a gay son is the complete opposite of what would be expected in a Catholic family. Scottish audiences tend to get that a bit more. They seem to enjoy being able to laugh about it.”

Dean’s first involvement in the comedy industry came when he was just 18 when he started promoting gigs when he was studying at Southampton University.

He added: “It’s weird that when you move away from Glasgow - your voice starts to tone down a bit, but my accent seems to have got stronger ever since I moved back.

“My passion has always just been to go on stage and make people laugh. It makes my day if someone who has been in one of my audiences tells me I’ve entertained them, so it’s really nice to get this bit of recognition.”

Dean will be up against Australian comic Felicity Ward and New Zealander Rose Matafeo for the award, along with American Alex Edelman and three English acts, Kieran Hodgson, Glenn Moore and Ahir Shah.

Meanwhile female comics are dominating the running for this year’s best newcomer award, with Sindu Vee, Sarah Keyworth, Sara Barron, Olga Kock and Maisie Adam up against Ciarán Dowd.

Nica Burns, director of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, which will unveil the winners on Saturday, said: “It’s the first time female performers have ever dominated the shortlist for best newcomer.

“It’s big news for the awards and it tells me that equality has definitely arrived in the world of stand-up. It’s not so long ago that the nominees for best newcomer were completely dominated by blokes.”