The Chortle Student Comedy Awards is a one night only Fringe show, in which eight contestants compete for the grand prize of £2000 and the title of Best New Chortle Comedian. The show is hosted by Mark Watson, a real treat this evening for the audience because he is not performing regularly at the Fringe this year. Watson is genuinely enthusiastic about the competition, which makes him an even better compere for it. He is bubbly, bright and encouraging, everything the young hopefuls need as they brave the massive stage and attempt to make us laugh.
There have been many heats throughout the year and the finalists have been narrowed down because of their comedic talents; and what a fine bunch they are. I say this without sarcasm and as authentically as I can - every single young comedian who performs today is outstanding. After all, they are the future, the fresh breath of air on the comedy circuit and the likes of Mark Watson should be absolutely terrified!
The winner is Rio Bauer, who wholeheartedly deserves the title. She is kooky, whimsical and absolutely adorable. Rio already proves herself to be the funniest contestant when she shows up on stage before Watson has finished her introduction, scares the living daylights out of him, then pulls the 'if I were a ghost' routine straight out the bag.
Joint second place went to Adam Todd and Nathan Willcock. Todd comes across as nervous, as if a wisp of air would blow him off the stage, but it’s all for effect and he is the only comedian to pull off a musical number that is not just funny, but belly-achingly hilarious. Willcock showcases an interesting catchphrase and some handkerchief-based gags: his random chit-chat and animated jokes are well worthy of his near win.
Each contestant only gets seven minutes to win over the audience, which is a difficult feat for any comedian. With the pressure on to impress Mark Watson and the rest of the Chortle critics, it’s a commendable effort from all who took part. These eight new young comedians were picked because they show potential and the award show really is the best way to find your new favourite comedian before the rest of the country does.