With baited breath, I waited well past 12pm for the first nominees under the new name, the Eddies (or Nica Burns presents the 29th Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2009). What came through was comedy of such a level that I feel naughty for not buying a ticket to read it! First off, Rhod Gilbert is not on the list and clearly is disqualified for being a star ("regularly selling out 500+ seat venue based on their name alone", i.e. three extra shows filled up the 700 seat Grand in less than a week). So this should be a battle between the Pajama Men and Dan Antopolski, plus a few other interesting names... But it's not. First off, the lack of Pajama Men *and* Dan Antopolski is outrageous. Yes they have both been around for a while but I am not aware of any regulations that would rule out either of them. Dan has won Best One Liner of the Festival and Pajama Men scoped the top award in Melbourne for last year's show (Versus vs Versus) whilst this year's show is a lot better (and nearly perfect). As I mention earlier, it seems like the panel just do not like agreeing in anyway with the Melbourne nominees (and I'm not counting Kristen Schaal last year as she co-won in Oz for her solo show and was nominated in Edinburgh for a double act play). Needless to say Celia Pacquloa doesn't get a look in as a newcomer, although she was invited to play at Edinburgh so maybe that rules her out.
So who does make the list? Tom Wrigglesworth (called it) and Jon Richardson (not a surprise but I though he might be eaked out) are both there plus four others (it's a six entry shortlist this year, making up for the shortened four entries last year). With six spaces any sane person would imagine Andrew Lawrence and probably Wehn & Kuhnle being in with a good shout of being on the list. Well you'd be a fool! John Bishop and perennial nominee Russell Kane both get nods a while both did good shows they weren't brilliant. Neither of these shows can hold a candle to any of the aforementioned acts and it is quite a shock for them to be on the list with the presence of such competition. The final two are Idiots of Ants (a sketch group, I guessed Adam Riches's show Rogue Males instead but you would expect a show like this) and Tim Key (a deadpan poet). The one positive is that everyone is a relative unknown so a star will be made (I was kind of hoping that Rhod would no longer be eligible as he is practically meteoric right now). The smart money will be on the smart material, Jon Richardson to follow up his newcomer nomination from two years ago to scoop the top award. You read it here first!