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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
The Musical Comedy Awards. What? Why?
by Ed Chappel
The idea behind Avin A Larf and The Musical Comedy Awards is to promote musical comedy as a stand-alone genre and create an independent platform for emerging and established musical comedians, both online and offline. I set up Avin A Larf in April 2008 under unusual circumstances. Having escaped from a soul-destroying job selling fax machines in the otherwise lovely Vienna, I decided to do an MA at Warwick in Creative and Media Enterprises (a course on the management of the creative industries and the difficult intersection between art and commerce). As part of the course I chose to do an optional module in Cultural Entrepreneurship where we had to come up with a new business idea within the creative industries and then present it as a pitch to a group of investors (Advantage Creative Fund) in a mock ‘Dragon’s Den’ style.
The main thrust of my pitch was that musical comedy deserves its own independent platform, rather than being the sidekick of Stand-Up. There are so many brilliant established musical comedians around at the moment, think of current greats such as Bill Bailey, Stephen Lynch, Weird Al Yankovic or Isy Suttie. Or going back a bit further, legends of the past such as Tom Lehrer, Victor Borge, Noel Coward or Monty Python. With such quality out there, I felt that more should be done to celebrate the genre in it’s own right. I had the idea of setting up a website for discovering, supporting and exposing emerging musical comedy talent and showcasing this talent at live events and principally at an annual awards show. The investors liked my idea and gave me some start-up capital to try and make it happen.
The website is http://www.musicalcomedy.co.uk. For comedians whose forte is music, or who feel most comfortable in their comedy when it’s accompanied by an instrument, my hope is that this website, The Musical Comedy Awards and Avin A Larf live events will offer a new, experimental platform for developing their comedy careers, finding new fans and making friends with like-minded mad men and women.
Here’s some info on the competition, the criteria and how to enter.
After 28 March 09, online viewers will continue to have the opportunity to vote for their favourite entry from the five finalists and there will be a £500 prize for the winner of the online vote. There will also be a £500 prize for the winner of the jury vote. Both the online and the jury winner will be announced at the final. I’m still thinking about whether there might be an odd trophy or a congratulatory old jumper as an additional prize.
The top five comedians will also have the opportunity of promoting their work on a nationwide tour and there are plans to hold a gala night celebrating musical comedy at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2009 at which the Winner/s of The Musical Comedy Awards 2009 will be given the opportunity to appear alongside some of the top names in musical comedy. There will be further competitions and live events throughout the year organised through the website.
All tracks uploaded before 14 March 09 will automatically be entered into the competition.
For legal and logistical reasons, unless an international contestant can demonstrate their ability to attend the final and be available for the post-awards tour, only UK entries will be considered for the five finalists.
Entries do not need to be exclusively written for the awards and can be previously written tracks, but contestants must own the copyright to their entries.
Entries must be in video format and can either consist of:
There is no restriction on the number of different entries for each contestant, but if a contestant were to have more than one of the most popular entries, only their most popular entry would qualify for the shortlist of the final twenty.
Contestants can enter both as solo artists or as a group.
As well as uploading comedy songs that you’ve written or interacting with other members of the community, people will also be able to form groups and collaborate on songs and create mad songs together. People can also send out an open call and make requests for songs with specific ingredients, inviting others to see who can deliver the funniest version of that request. Should be a larf.
(c) Ed Chappel 12 January 09
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