Given the perpetual debate concerning the over-commercialisation of the Fringe that has been prominent this year, it is with a great sigh of relief that events such as the Malcolm Hardee Awards are still taking place. A commemoration of the stalwart institution of alternative comedy that was Malcolm Hardee, the increasingly prestigious awards act as the antithesis to the Fosters Comedy Awards.
Presented by Mistress of Ceremonies Miss Behave, the weirdest and strangest acts of the festival came together in a bizarre evening. Featuring a number of notable guests including Charlie Chuck, Lewis Schaffer and Richard Herring, the two-hour variety show shocked as much as it entertained. With a Russian Egg Roulette contest supervised by the World Egg Throwing Federation, a brilliant burlesque performance of Collette’s Ring my Bell by Jess Guile and a full frontal rendition of the Balloon Dance from Martin Soan’s Greatest Show on Legs, it was undoubtedly an evening to remember.
Stern comedy critic Kate Copstick helped present the awards, which saw Irish YouTube sensation Rubberbandits receive the gong for Comic Originality. South African comedian Trevor Noah walked away with the ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ award, whilst Stuart Goldsmith took home the Cunning Stunt prize. His publicity stunt, which involved him promising to donate £1,000 of his own money to the Waverley Care HIV charity, but deducting £100 every time a critic used a pun on the word ‘prick’ in their review (his show title was censored in the Fringe programme to read Pr!ck), not only provided him with a notable amount of free PR, but also showed he was willing to help a worthwhile cause.
With free beer being handed out whenever the energy in the room lulled and all proceeds going to Copstick’s Mama Biashara charity, this deserves to be a staple of the Fringe.