Speaking at an industry lunch on the first official day of the Edinburgh Fringe Nica Burns, producer of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, announced that comedy deserves more recognition for the contribution it has made to culture. The West End producer and theatre owner set up the award, previously known as the Perrier, in 1981.
Nica delivered a brief history of the festival, focusing on the theatre companies who were not invited to the specially curated Edinburgh International Festival 70 years ago who “said ‘fuck you, we’re coming anyway’ …that’s the spirit of the Fringe.”
Of course we know that eventually the Edinburgh Fringe became the biggest comedy event on the calendar and as alternative comedy came of age – with its foundations in “tolerance and acceptance… the young responded and pushed the old comics off the stages and off the TV screens.” The Fringe gave these new comedians “the gift of long shows to speak in depth about serious topics…
“We have a great deal to be proud of in terms of what comedians and the comedy industry has contributed to societal change – and we can keep doing it” Nica continued, noting some comedians who have famously struck out into pastures new, such as Tim Minchin writing musicals such as Matilda, Laura Solon becoming a Hollywood screenwriter and David Walliams’ children’s books.
Yet, “Comedy isn’t given the status film, theatre or dance is given. Why? It’s about time people took the contribution of comedians more seriously to our culture and internationally.” Hear hear.
The (now) Lastminute.com Edinburgh Comedy Awards shortlist will be announced on 23rd August and we will find out the winners on Saturday 26th August.