Foreign funnymen sweep British comedy awards

Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:54pm EDT
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By Ian MacKenzie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Performers from the United States, Norway and New Zealand swept Britain's top comedy awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Saturday, the first time all three prizes have gone to non-British comedians.

American Phil Burgers from Los Angeles took the top prize, the Foster's Best Comedy Show award, while the Best Newcomer award went to Norway's Daniel Simonsen.

New Zealander Sam Wills took the Foster's Panel Prize for performances over the past three weeks at the world's largest annual festival of the arts.

A total of 536 comedy shows were eligible for the prizes, and the judging panel and awards team attended more than 1,400 performances over the past three weeks.

The Best Comedy award was worth 10,000 pounds ($16,000), and the Best Newcomer and Panel prizes 5,000 pounds each.

A number of top comedians have got their start on the Edinburgh Fringe, with the best comedy award an accolade that set them on the road to fame and fortune.

Previous winners include the Cambridge Footlights with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson, Frank Skinner, Al Murray and Russell Kane.

The bearded Burgers, appearing under the name Dr Brown, told Reuters he had been appearing on the Fringe for seven years, "one year as a punter and six years as a performer".   Continued...