Scottish Comedian of the Year
The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Sun 28 Sep
Approaching its third anniversary, the Scottish Comedian of the Year final looms ever more influentially in the stand-up calendar. Inspired by Manchester’s City Life contest – won by the likes of Peter Kay, Chris Addison and Caroline Aherne early in their careers – the SCotY is open to all-comers, with eight regional heats and a semi-final dictating the ten hopefuls competing at the Old Fruitmarket. Despite the winner pocketing £1000 and the chance to gig in Australia, arguably the most important prize is the opportunity to deliver an hour’s show at the Glasgow Comedy Festival in March, an incentive that boosted previous winners Mark Nelson and Sean Grant to greatly enhance their material, the latter performing a 30-minute set at the Edinburgh Fringe barely a year after commencing stand-up.
Both finals to date have courted controversy and critics cite the Scottish Comedian of the Year title as unreflective of the many established acts who don’t enter. But you have to be in it to win it, and as the contest’s reputation has grown, so has the quality of the entrants, with seven of last year’s beaten finalists returning for another crack in 2008. Among this year’s judging panel are Sanjeev Kohli and Jane McCarry, better known as Naveed and Isa from Still Game, the irrepressible comedian Stu Who?, Alan Tyler, head of comedy and entertainment at BBC Scotland, and Steve Bennett from comedy website Chortle. One final place in the final remains for the winner of the Grand Gong Show at Maggie Mays in Glasgow on Thu 25 Sep.