Monday, August 24, 1998 Published at 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Talents who sparkled in comedy's Hall of Fame
For 17 years, the highlight of most comedians' year has been the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe - marking the best talent of the year.
For some, the Award has been a leg-up to national, even international, stardom. Other winners have not been so lucky - finding instead a niche in obscurity.
BBC News Online has tracked down the winners, checked out how their fortunes have fared over the years, and got tips for future hopefuls from some of the big names.
Click on the list of winners below to find out where they are now.
Their brand of sketch-driven humour, which is not particularly PC, showed that stand up, at least last year, may have died on its feet.
These gents won't be at Edinburgh this year because they are currently recording their first television series for broadcast at the beginning of January 1999 on BBC Two.
Their tip for the top: "Do the show that is going to make people laugh the most, don't drink too much, don't take it too seriously and take a coat as it is cold in Edinburgh despite being August."
Scooping the Channel 4-sponsored So You Think You're Funny award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1993 sent him surging up the comedy ranks.
Post Perrier, Dylan managed to pack in two TV comedy series, was Indisposed on his solo tour in '97, schmoozed at the Montreal, Vancouver and Kilkenny comedy festivals and Hay Literary Festival before Gurgling for Money at last year's Fringe.
A regular contributor to the Irish Times, his comic appeal relies on mixing everyday events with an element of fantasy - all delivered with his laconic Irish lilt.
Earlier this year he took to acting, co-starring alongside Charlotte Coleman (of Four Weddings and a Funeral fame) in Simon Nye's comedy-drama How Do You Want Me? A new series will begin production in November '98.
He can be currently seen Poncing About at this year's Fringe.
She burst onto the circuit in 1982 with a selection of self proclaimed "poor jokes", then refined her humour to the plain bawdy and won the Perrier.
This year sees a diversion from stand-up to drama at the Fringe. Jenny Eclair is Mrs Nosey Parker, a straight character that she is proud off.
Her tip for the top : "Keep hammering away and if you do win it, win it with a bit of grace. There is no point being ungracious about winning it, it spoils the night and it is not worth spoiling it."
Endless gags delivered in pokey venues finally paid off when Frank won the Perrier in 1991.
In 1994 he teamed up with fellow comic David Baddiel, and combining their passions for football and comedy, came up with the hit television show Fantasy Football League.
Their other memorable contribution to mankind was their contribution to the infectious Euro '96 single Three Lions, with the Lightning Seeds, which topped the charts for five weeks.
Skinner went on to interview UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on his own TV series The Frank Skinner Show. He has completed a 100 date UK tour and recently entered the Guinness Book of Records for Britain's biggest solo comedy performance, in front of a 6,000-strong audience.
Frank adorned screens again this summer reprising the Fantasy Football League for the World Cup. In November he returns to BBC One with a third series of his own show.
Simon Fanshawe came to this stark realisation that stand-up wasn't quite for him after winning the Perrier award. He decided instead to delve into the worlds of broadcasting and journalism.
He moved swiftly to Radio 4 and presented the daily Arts programme Kaleidoscope. After that he had his own successful radio series on Radio 5 and presented on Talk Radio. He has had intermittent TV appearances, hosted an arts show for Meridian TV called The Pier and wrote a documentary about Brighton.
His tip for the top :In order to survive Edinburgh you need a credit card, a change of underpants and access to a sauna.
He co-founded Theatre De Complicité two years prior to his win with Annabel Arden and Marcello Magni.
The group has stayed true to its roots within theatre. As McBurney points out, the group try to strike a balance with the visual language in drama,
"I like action. . .there is much importance in the language in what I do as there is on the action, it so happens that the two things have equal importance."
McBurney is currently in Canada with his production of A Street of Crocodiles a production based on the writings of Bruno Schulz, which he will then take to Tokyo.
McBurney's tip for the top : You have to make sure that you don't totally embarrass yourself.But above all you have to really enjoy yourself. In Edinburgh an ability not to sleep is a good trait which you can obtain pretty much by drinking coffee.
By the time they were nominated in 1981 Cambridge Footlights was a dominant, well-versed performance troupe, with a 98-year history.
The group consisted of then, little known actors, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, Tony Slattery, Penny Dwyer and Paul Shearer. Their prize - a modest £1,000 and a season at New End Theatre in Hampstead.
The first five household names have a string of West End credits, literary careers and Baftas between them, and Hollywood has also beckoned.
Thompson has completed the film Judas Kiss, Fry has just made A Civil Action, Laurie is currently filming Stuart Little, Atkinson, having quit Mr Bean, is taking a rest, and Slattery is now a rector at Aberdeen University.
Penny Dwyer has gone on to bigger things too, playing a key role in the construction of the Channel Tunnel as a metallurgist.
Shearer found moderate success acting in Heineken commercials, and is a regular on the BBC's Fast Show. He is now developing a comedy series with the BBC.