The top two prizes for being funny at the Edinburgh fringe festival 2022 went to overseas talent. Australian comedian Sam Campbell is the winner of Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, the prestigious competition which celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer.
Campbell, 30, from Queensland, is Australia’s fifth best upcoming show winner, overtaking winners from Ireland, who have won the award four times.
And this year’s Edinburgh Newcomer Award went to Mexican-American Lara Ricote, for her show GRL/LATNX/DEF. “You are so nice to me. It’s crazy!” said the 25-year-old, who has a hearing loss and talks about her disability on stage.
Ricote’s show addresses his “multiple minority status”, as well as the fact that not all categories are visible. “Being a minority is very fashionable now,” she joked after winning her award. “I’m a girl, young, Latina, and have a disability, so I tick a lot of boxes. But I have to be very vocal about the minorities I’m in. I am in an interesting place and in a very privileged place. Ricote also won the Funny Women Award for Stage Performers last year.
The show that won Campbell the main prize of £10,000 is most simply titled Comedy Show. “I deserve the award and I expected it,” he told the crowd, before correcting himself. “No. It was a big surprise. It’s crazy.” The comedian added that he was going to use the prize money “to be bigger.”
Campbell’s Midnight Show, which only lasted the second half of the festival, came with a special ‘disclaimer’ from the comic: ‘I want to be a world artist. I hope you don’t mind, but this show will pretty much just involve me going up there and being nice.
A former winner of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Campbell beat out nine other fringe contenders, including Alfie Brown, son of Dead ringtones star Jan Ravens, Seann Walsh, the former Come dance strictly contestant, and Jordan Gray, the contest’s first transgender nominee.
Among those who applauded the judges’ verdicts were Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, who tweeted how much he enjoyed Ricote’s festival show. Campbell, he later added, was a “total lunatic.”
Support organization Best in Class, which helps performers from working-class backgrounds, won the fringe spirit award, an award that is not given out every year. Highlighting the difficulty of funding a fringe show, Sian Davies, who runs the organisation, said: ‘People can’t afford to live by the minute, let alone come here. Best in Class is a sticking plaster at best. The fringe is full of systematic biases.
Her post met with the approval of Campbell, who said: ‘It’s fucked up when people can’t afford to do that. I’m no expert, but for anyone losing money here, it stinks.
Davies explained that in 2018, he was asked to audition for a fringe showcase. When she passed, she was told she would have to pay £1,800 to secure her place.
“When I tell people that, they roll their eyes. They can’t believe it,” Davies said. As a result, she was dropped by her promoter, despite her friends’ efforts to raise funds. she said she ‘got angry’ then decided to create her own showcase for working-class comics ‘I don’t charge anyone for the privilege of coming and they get paid’, she added “When you give us a seat at your table, we can do it.”
Saturday’s ceremony at the city’s Dovecot Studios art gallery was hosted by award producer Nica Burns, who said the festival’s doors were “open to everyone” and said: “Together we have built the best comedy industry in the world. Our doors are open to everyone. All they need is to be super talented and, above all, funny.
This year’s jury for the award, formerly known as ‘le Perrier’ and now sponsored by comedy TV channel Dave, was chaired by Sky Studios comedy producer Adnan Ahmed and included the channel’s director from Dave, Cherie Cunningham, and Channel 4 commissioning manager Joe Hullait.