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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Protests greet male Perrier shortlist
Adam Hills
Second Perrier nod for Australian Adam Hills
An all-male shortlist for this year's prestigious Perrier stand-up comedy award has been announced, prompting allegations of male chauvinism.

Six comedians were chosen on Wednesday for their performances at the Fringe comedy events at the Edinburgh festival, and will battle it out for the 7,500 prize.

All six - Jimmy Carr, Omid Djalili, Noel Fielding, Adam Hills, Daniel Kitson and Phil Nichol - will have the chance to appear in London as part of a Fringe review show in October.

Jenny Eclair
Jenny Eclair is the only woman to have won the award with a solo act

But the Scottish Socialist Party's equality spokeswoman Catriona Grant called the shortlist "a disgraceful example of male chauvinism".

And the Equal Opportunity Commission's Scotland spokeswoman Alyson Thomson said: "We are disappointed to see an all-male short list for such a prestigious award.

"The gender imbalance on the shortlist suggests that many women are still not getting the credit or recognition their talent deserves."

Awards director Nica Burns said she "would do cartwheels down Princes Street if a woman won it".

But she added: "Half of the judging panel for this year's award are women and they simply did not think that any of the female stand-ups were good enough."

Since the Perrier Comedy Award was launched in 1981, 10 women have made it on to the shortlist - but just four have won.

Comedy circuit

One nominee, Jimmy Carr, has been called England's answer to Emo Philips.

Omid Djalili
Djalili calls himself the UK's funniest Iranian stand-up
A former marketing executive, he has become a regular on the UK comedy circuit and recently completed a new series, Your Face Or Mine, for Channel 4's cable station E4.

He has also starred in Channel 4's comedy series Jimmy Carr's World Of Corporate Videos and featured on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends.

Omid Djalili calls himself Britain's funniest Iranian stand-up comedian and actor.

He has become a Festival Fringe favourite with a string of shows including Short Fat Kebab Shop Owner's Son and Warm To My Winning Smile.

In 2001 he won the Time best stand-up award. His current show includes much material written since the 11 September attacks on the US.

Fellow comic Daniel Kitson won a Perrier nomination in 2001 for his show Love, Innocence And The Word Cock.

He has appeared in Peter Kay's series Phoenix Nights and on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends, and is known for his fondness for improvisation - and profanity.

Noel Fielding
Noel Fielding had his own series on Radio 4 as part of Boosh
Noel Fielding is an old hand at the festival, having been a Perrier nominee in 1999 as one half of the act Boosh, with Julian Barratt.

The previous year the pair won the Perrier best newcomer award.

Boosh also had their own comedy series on BBC Radio 4 in autumn 2001 and they both appeared in Sweet, a short film by James Pilkington, which was nominated for a Bafta award.

Phil Nichol, once a member of the Canadian comedy group Corky and The Juice Pigs is known for a lively, physical stage act - and for haranguing the audience.

Energetic

There is also a musical side to his work, which includes the haunting ballad Emotionally Challenged Girl and the uproarious Only Gay Eskimo.

Pub Landlord Al Murray
The Perrier can make stars of its winners, such as Pub Landlord Al Murray
Australian Adam Hills has also been Perrier-nominated before, for his 2001 show Go You Big Red Fire Engine.

Attracting attention for his energetic and spontaneous solo act, he has also hosted his own radio breakfast show for Austereo Radio Network and appeared, like many other Perrier nominees, on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends.

The award winner will be announced at midnight on Saturday.

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

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

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