Feature: The BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award
By Carla Washbourne on June 29, 2012 in Stage
We all love a bit of comedy, right? And Radio 2: who doesn’t like Radio 2? Lord help us, every Saturday night TV show at the moment attests to the fact that we love a bit of contest. Well then what better combination is there than great stand-ups fighting it out for the honour of winning the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award 2012?
Radio 2 is out to find the best stand-up talent in the UK. Their continuing mission, to explore strange new cities, to seek out new talent and fresh new routines, to boldly go where no one has gone before (ok, that may be a slight exaggeration). After a 5 year hiatus, the competition roared back on to the radar in 2011, with this year’s call being launched back in the heady days of May by BBC Radio 2 presenter Steve Wright.
Think back to the days when Alan Carr, Sarah Millican and Marcus Brigstocke weren’t household names. All three were finalists in previous contests and represent some of the great acts that the award has helped slingshot to stardom. Last year’s winner Angela Barnes said: ‘It is no way an exaggeration to say that winning the BBC New Comedy Award has changed my life. A year ago, stand-up comedy was my hobby. Now it’s my job! In the year since I’ve won I have written on my favourite radio show, played Latitude Festival and Laughs in The Park’
The winner will take home £1,000 and the chance for a coveted commission from BBC Radio Comedy, receiving development advice and guidance from the BBC Comedy Department. Executive producer for BBC Radio Comedy Alison Vernon Smith and Steve Bennett, editor of comedy website Chortle, will be on the judging panel and an online public vote will be setup to select the semi-finalists from the shortlisted gems.
Heats will be held in Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Brighton and London, and the BBC will be facilitating Learning Workshops in comedy and performance in local communities to engage with any budding comedians-in-waiting. The semi-finals will then take place in Newcastle on 23rd and London on 30th October, with a live hour-long final at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool hosted by Patrick Kielty on November 8th.
In the words of Angela Barnes ‘If you had told me a year ago any of those things would have happened, I would have laughed in your face. If you’re umming and aahing about entering, just do it. There is really nothing to lose and everything to gain.’