Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Amused Moose Comedy Award Final, Just The Tonic

News: Results Of The Amused Moose Comedy Award 2019.

This year's Amused Moose final was in a new venue and on a new date, closer to the end of the Fringe. But they were the only significant changes. Regular recent host Ian Smith did a great job as compere, keeping things moving along, neatly digging himself out of a hole when he realised that the latecomer he was putting down was the head of the Edinburgh Fringe and dealing well with a projector that seemed to be in danger of overheating. It wasn't the only hot property on the night.

Each act did a segment from their Edinburgh show and the standard was pretty high. First up was Liam Withnail, who was also a finalist here last year. He certainly put a lot into his performance with some high voltage stories about giving up alcohol and the amount of sugar put into each can of Irn Bru. There was plenty of fizz and some connvincing accents kept the crowd happy. First up is a tough slot and while he didn't win the main prize he did bag the award for Outstanding Fringe Show for Homecoming – even if he joked that the show title, which had to be sent in at the start of the year, had nothing to do with the show.

Second on was Janine Harouni, who, it would be fair to say, is having a pretty good Fringe. The New Yorker has already won the BBC Comedy Award and has just been nominated for Best Newcomer in Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. So it was no suprise that she did well here. Her slickly spun out stories of her Sopranos-lite family and her dad making an ad hoc lifebelt for their pet dog went down well, and she was able to be a bit more edgy here than in the broadcast BBC competition with a neat routine about uncircumcised British men's dicks being a metaphor for their buttoned up, repressed personalities. Surprise, surprise, she won this award too, which includes a residency at New York's Soho Playhouse.

Third on was Paul F Taylor, who is a seasoned stand-up, but who seemed to have a bit of trouble connecting with the audience at the start of his set. But a very funny apt gag about how some people get proper emojis in texts and others just get a funny box – a reference to some people getting his humour and others being flummoxed by it – seemed to kick-start his set and he got better and better. There was a hint of Boosh/Harry Hill here, but overall Taylor is an original and highly entertaining voice with a unique sideways view of the world. I'd have been more than happy if he had won, but clearly there were too many judges who didn't receive the right emojis.

Review continues here.

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