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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Comedian calls for prize boycott
Perrier
Perrier Comedy awards: running since 1981
Stand-up comedian Rob Newman is calling for a boycott of the Perrier Comedy Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, according to reports.

Speaking to The Independent newspaper, Newman said that the awards should be boycotted because sponsors Perrier are linked with food firm Nestlé.


I regard this as a larger struggle against corporate power.

Rob Newman
Newman called on other comedians not to enter the competition because of Nestlé's sales of powdered baby milk in the Third World.

Newman believes that breastfeeding should be encouraged instead, the paper reports.

Lobbying group

As well as Newman, a number of other celebrities including Julie Walters, Emma Thompson and Richard E Grant are backing the lobbying group Baby Milk Action.

The group wants to increase pressure on the food firm by persuading as many top comedians as possible not to enter the competition.

Al Murray
Al Murrray is a past winner of the Perrier
Newman is releasing a new comic video soon, which focuses on multinational companies and globalisation.

Newman was formerly the comic partner of David Baddiel, as well as a member of The Mary Whitehouse Experience with Baddiel, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis.

"I would certainly urge comedians at the festival fringe to boycott the awards this year because of the involvement of Nestlé. I regard this as a larger struggle against corporate power," Newman said to the paper.

Coveted prize

American comedian Rich Hall scooped the coveted Perrier Comedy award in 2000.

The prize is awarded to the most original and funny cabaret, revue or comedy act at the fringe.

Other Perrier winners, including Steve Coogan, Frank Skinner, Lee Evans, Sean Hughes, and The League of Gentlemen, have gone on to win wider recognition.

The awards have been running since 1981 when the Cambridge Footlights, which included Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson, won the inaugural contest.

To be eligible for the awards, acts must be original and fall into the cabaret, comedy, review or stand-up category.

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