Australian Sam Campbell claims Edinburgh Comedy Award crown for best show
Australian comic Sam Campbell has won the most coveted comedy prize at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The Queensland stand-up is the fifth Australian act to claim the Edinburgh Comedy Awards crown for best show.
The 26-year-old absurdist comic was one of six contenders for the prize from the Monkey Barrel, the year-round venue operator in Edinburgh which has been praised for its treatment of performers and the quality of its programming.
Campbell, whose winning show starts just after midnight, told the audience at the awards – which are in their 40th year and are now sponsored by comedy channel Dave – that there was “something in the water” at the venue.
Another Monkey Barrel act, Mexican-born, American-raised Lara Ricote, who is hard of hearing became the first disabled act to be honoured in the history of the awards after being named best newcomer.
Campbell has followed in the footsteps of Australian acts Lano and Woodley, Brendon Burns, Sam Simmons and Hannah Gadsby in winning the award, which comes with a £10,000 cash prize.
He was previously honoured with the most outstanding show award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Campbell said: “It was a big surprise to win, it’s kind of wild and insane.
"The Fringe is like being inside a snowglobe. I kind of want to escape it, but I don’t mind it that much. I actually came here last year, it was really good.
"I wanted to come here after someone told me it was one of the biggest festivals in the world. There is a bit of everything here, not just comedy.
“The Monkey Barrel is amazing. They’re so caring and supportive. They’re not just all talk.”
The awards ceremony saw Best in Class, an initiative supporting working-class comics to bring shows to Edinburgh, honoured with a special Spirit of the Fringe award.
Founder Sian Davies said: “When you talk about doors being open and everyone coming to this festival, it's not true.
"People can’t afford to live at the minute, let alone come here.
"The working class people who have been nominated this year doesn’t show that we’ve fixed it. It shows that when you give us a seat at your table we can do this.”
Campbell said: “It is f***** when people cannot afford to do the Fringe and it is really tragic that people are losing money. It really stinks.”
Ricote said: “The Fringe has been so lovely, but it’s also been so hard. I’ve never done anything like it before. It's been exhausting.
"I’ve learned so much – I think it's made me a better performer to have been here. I was trying a lot of things for the first time and I’ve tried to really grow as a performer.
"I can’t tell you how much I didn’t expect to win. I saw all the other shows that were nominated and they were just phenomenal. I’m in complete shock about it.
"I had never been to the Fringe at all before and had never performed an hour-long show. I would 100 per cent recommend coming here.
“I’m very lucky to have come here with a wonderful agent. It would be incredibly hard to do with the Fringe without any support. If people have that they shouldn’t doubt it for a second.”
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