Opinion: Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2019 - Best Newcomer Predictions

Opinion: Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2019 - Best Newcomer Predictions

New sponsor, new comedy! Digital TV channel Dave is sponsoring the Edinburgh Comedy Awards for the first time this year. So they, as well as the rest of us hungry humour vampires, must be on the look out for new comedy blood.

It's roughly halfway through the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I've been here around eleven days and a lot of shows have today off as a rare treat. So as the Fringe pauses before tipping over into the second half I thought I'd have a crack at picking out potential Best Newcomer nominees. Last year's winner was Ciarán Dowd as hapless swashbuckler Don Rodolfo.

This has proved to be a hard list to draw up for a number of reasons. Partly because the standard of new shows is so high this year and partly because there are simply so many shows. Over 750 shows are eligible for the two main Dave Comedy Awards - Best Show and Best Newcomer. Even seeing four or five shows a day (sorry, I do have to eat, sleep and write reviews at some point) it sometimes feels as if I'm barely scratching the surface.

But this is not just a list based on shows that I've seen, it's also based on the buzz and that old thing called word-of-mouth. Believe it or not, even in this social media-dominated age people do still talk to each other in Edinburgh.

Incidentally, there were six Best Newcomer nominees last year. Five women and one man. So I've gone for six this year. Anyway, if you put a gun to my temple and cocked the trigger right now this is what I'd write. It might, of course be completely different by the end of this week. 

The nominations will be announced on Wednesday 21st August, and the winners revealed on Saturday 24th August at the Dovecot Studios. 

Read our Best Show Predictions here.


James McNicholas – like last year's winner Ciarán Dowd is a member of sketch combo Beasts. This time round he tells the story of his grandfather Terry Downes. Review here.

George Fouracres – Another member of a sketch group, in this case Daphne. Another autobiographical show, this one about class, the West Midlands and the death of social mobility. Review here.

Jack Tucker – another performer not strictly doing the Fringe for the first time but I think still eligible. Zach Zucker from dup Zach and Viggo plays Jack Tucker, a stand-up so bad he's hilarious. Review here.

Sophie Duker – identity politics and racism tackled head-on in this remarkably mature debut from scarily smart newcomer Duker.

Catherine Cohen (pictured) – possibly the curveball of the list, camp, eccentric New York singer, mixing full-on songs with intensely confessional banter. Late night fun that could divide the judges.

Janine Harouni – another sketch group escapee (Muriel) New Yorker Harouni is a textbook example of slick funny bones stand-up with an unforgettable near-death experience story to tell too.



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