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Richard Gadd takes Amused Moose award

By | Published on Monday 24 August 2015

Amused Moose

The grand final of the annual Amused Moose Awards took place at theSpace @ Symposium Hall last Sunday, with Richard Gadd taking the overall prize for his much acclaimed show ‘Waiting For Gaddot’, part of PBH’s Free Fringe at the Banshee Labyrinth.

Amused Moose runs two separate awards each year, one for brand new talent, and then this one for more established comedians already presenting full-hour shows at the Fringe, but who are yet to pick up another major comedy award, making it something of a breakthrough prize. Or, as Amused Moose boss Hils Jago explains, “this one is for comedy performers with Fringe shows who are on the cusp of being noticed, and getting opportunities from the comedy industry beyond the stand-up circuit”.

There is a long list of eligible comedians for this award each year, who are then shortlisted down to just ten finalists, who each performed a snippet of their show at the grand finale last weekend. “All entrant shows are initially watched online by a big panel of international and UK comedy industry people”, Jago explains of the first stage of the judging process. “Then once the Fringe starts panellists who are in Edinburgh watch as many of the shows live as they can, partly focussing – though not at all exclusively – on the shows which scored highest online. From that process a longlist emerges, which then gets sifted to a shortlist”.

It was a very strong shortlist this year, and from it Richard Gadd emerged victorious. “This award has such a great history behind it”, Gadd told ThreeWeeks shortly after his win, “with lots of comedians I really enjoy having come through it. And I was picked alongside the circuit stalwarts, and a lot of comedians I have respected and admired for a very long time, so to win feels really good”.

Asked to tell us more about ‘Waiting For Gaddot’, Gadd cautions, “I cannot tell you much about my show without pretty much giving away the whole premise! But I will say that the clue is in the title. I can also say that it is the absolute antithesis of what you would see on ‘Live At The Apollo’”.

From what we know about Gadd’s show, we assumed it was hard for him to pick just ten minutes to perform at last Sunday’s final. And we were right. “My show makes absolutely no sense over the course of an hour. Now I am getting asked to condense it into ten minutes? Man oh man, I have to admit I did not think it would work”.

“So”, he went on, “I decided to just do the last ten minutes of my show – you know, just to confuse them even more. Start with the end, work your way back, throw enough of your own – well, I won’t swear – at the wall and hope some of it sticks. It was cluster bomb comedy at its sloppy finest!”

Obviously it worked, given the industry judges awarded him the overall prize. “Funnily enough, about four years ago I entered the Amused Moose new act award and died on my hole” Gadd mused, reflecting on his victory this time. “Then I got reviewed by one4review who said I was ‘ten minutes of their life they were never getting back’. So to come full circle from that tragedy is a nice feeling at least. It was also nice to thank all the people who have worked on the show with me. Winning is never a bad feeling, you just cannot let it go to your head. Though I am the best!”

In addition to the main prize, the audience at the final also gets to vote for its favourite act of the afternoon, and the People’s Choice Award this year went to Jess Robinson, whose show ’The Rise Of Mighty Voice’ is on at the Pleasance Dome.

But what makes a really good breakthrough show in comedy? Jago again: “A great show which has the go-to beginnings of potential cult status, or simply a very well-crafted show by a charismatic performer who in it demonstrates their comedy chops”.

Pictured, Richard Gadd with Ben Target, who also appears in ‘Waiting For Gaddot’