Given my experience with the NORAs, I am intrigued by awards events.  Add to that my fascination with stand-up comedy, and the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards 2012 event, at the Edinburgh Festival, was a date I couldn’t afford to miss.  I know the organiser, John Fleming, fairly tenuously via Facebook, so offered to help in any way possible.  As a response to the sweeping commercialism of the Edinburgh comedy festival, there is a Free Festival, which aims to bring many of the weird and wonderful shows that have typified the festival in the past, to the attention of audiences that might otherwise be swayed by the colossal PR machine of the big shows.  Such are the economics of putting on any kind of show in Edinburgh in August, that there is a very definite place for the Free Festival. 

John Fleming has been a comedy writer on more TV shows over the past 30 years than I can mention, and was a long time friend of Malcolm Hardee, for whom these awards were named, in tribute.  Malcolm died tragically in 2005, and  is described as The Godfather of the modern Alternative Comedy circuit. In keeping with his memory, this award show relies entirely on the talent on stage and its audience to create the best night you’ll ever have at the festival.  Slick PR, fancy venues, and overpriced tickets have no place here.

So on Friday night, I mucked in as a stagehand in the funniest event I have seen in a long long time.  I took some video clips and pictures, which you can see here.


Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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