Page last updated at 02:23 GMT, Saturday, 23 August 2008 03:23 UK

Stand-up Aczel wins comedy award

By Kevin Young
Entertainment reporter, BBC News in Edinburgh

Edward Aczel
Aczel works in marketing and does gigs part-time

Stand-up Edward Aczel has won a prize established in memory of the late comedian and compere Malcolm Hardee.

Aczel took the Malcolm Hardee Award for showing the greatest amount of "comic originality of thought or performance" at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

He began his show, Do I Really Have to Communicate with You, by admitting he had done no preparation for the gig.

Hardee, a much-loved figure on the UK comedy scene who was known for his shambolic manner, drowned in 2005.

The body of the 55-year-old, known for running clubs such as Up the Creek in Greenwich, south-east London, was found in the River Thames.

He had gone missing from the Wibbly Wobbly pub, the converted barge he ran in Rotherhithe.

Ticketing fiasco

The prize will be given out every year until 2017 as a commemoration of Hardee's life.

It was presented to Aczel, whose show has been playing at the Underbelly in Edinburgh all month, by Hardee's son, Frank, and sister, Clare, at the Gilded Balloon venue.

Aczel's "day job" is for a marketing company in Buckinghamshire and he has been playing live for three and a half years, during which time he came second in the BBC's New Comedy Awards.

Other nominees were Peter Buckley Hill, Aindreas de Staic, Otto Kuehnle and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe box office.

A ticketing fiasco which saw sales suspended for a week, reports of overbooking and late delivery of orders was judged to have "introduced surreal humour into the normally dull ticketing process".

Nominee Kuehnle and fellow comedian Henning Wehn had joked during their show - 1000 Years of German Humour - that a German firm should be recruited in 2009 to ensure the process went far more smoothly.

Doktor CocaColaMcDonalds
A prize was awarded retrospectively for 2007 to a comical music act

A Malcolm Hardee Award for 2007 was also presented retrospectively to Doktor CocaColaMcDonalds for his musical comedy act, which includes songs such as Gene Hackman is Better Than Pac-Man.

Organisers said comedian Gill Smith had shortlisted herself for the 2008 prize so she could add the "nominee" tag to her posters in Edinburgh.

She said Hardee "would have approved" of this approach, and although she was disqualified from the race, she was allowed to brand herself a nominee in publicity material.


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