Sky saves Edinburgh Comedy Awards after fears prize could be cancelled

The prize helped launch the careers of some of the country's most renowned comedic talent.

Edinburgh comedy awards saved as Sky signs up to sponsor renowned performance prize

One of the world’s most renowned comedy prizes has been saved after a trio of new sponsors signed up to back the gong.

The Edinburgh Comedy Awards – which launched the careers of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Steve Coogan – is to be renamed the “Sky Best Comedy Show” after the media giant agreed a naming rights deal when previous sponsor Dave pulled out.

The channel previously gave its name to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe honour, formerly known as the Perrier Comedy Awards, alongside the best newcomer and judges awards.

Those will now be renamed the DLT Entertainment Best Newcomer and the Victoria Wood Award after receiving backing from the firm and the charity named after the renowned comic and actor.

Director Nica Burns previously warned the awards, which have run every year since 1981 bar two years during the Covid shutdown, risked becoming extinct unless new sponsors could be found.

“In only five weeks, three companies who are as passionate about comedy as I am have joined me to enable the 41st Edinburgh Comedy Awards to go ahead this August,” she said.

“It’s business as usual for 2023 and plans for the long-term future of the comedy awards are speeding ahead. To all the comics and those in the comedy industry who have voiced so passionately how much they love the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, our heartfelt thanks.” 

Australian comic Sam Campbell scooped the gong last year, for his absurdist set, imaginatively entitled “Comedy Show”.

It netted him the £10,000 prize after a string of critically acclaimed performances at the capital’s Monkey Barrel venue.

Mexican-born American comic Lara Ricote, a fellow Monkey Barrel performer who is partially deaf, was named best newcomer, becoming the first disabled person to win at the awards.

Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society added: “It is absolutely wonderful news to hear that the Edinburgh Comedy Awards will go ahead as usual this year.

“The Awards are such a vital part of the Fringe ecology and an important source of motivation, validation and support for the comedy sector.”

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