Friday, August 27, 1999 Published at 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Perrier nominees line up
The winner of the Perrier prize will be unveiled at the weekend
By BBC News Online's Edinburgh Festival correspondent, Matt Grant
Comedian Al Murray has described the Perrier award - which had temporarily banned his act The Pub Landlord from the competition - as a "seal of quality".
Murray is one of five all-male acts shortlisted for the prestigious prize. The other finalists are Terry Alderton, Ross Noble, Arctic Boosh and the League Against Tedium. The winner will be revealed on Saturday night.
"What seemed odd was that there are plenty of other people to whom you could have applied the same criteria and to whom it was not applied to," he said.
Murray promised he would continue to return to the Edinburgh Festival even if he finally won the award this year.
"I don't like it when people win and then never come back," he said. "It seems shoddy."
But for the time being, he has other concerns, in particular the arrival of his baby daughter on Monday evening.
"This week's been full on. It's been everything having a baby's supposed to be - frightening and cataclysmic."
While Murray remains the favourite to win the Perrier, he faces competition from a duo who are so little known they took the best newcomer award in 1998.
They admitted to feeling excited themselves at making it to the shortlist, but criticised the rigmarole surrounding the prize.
"I feel like I'm in a boy band," Fielding said. "It's good, though. It's like being famous."
Barratt objected to having to pose for pictures in which he pretended to both win and lose the award, but acknowledged actually winning could have a dramatic effect on a comedy act.
"We want to leapfrog TV and go straight to film," he said.
From Butlins to the Palladium
Another of the nominees, Terry Alderton, said reaching the shortlist was "like a dream" but doubted it would make a great difference to him.
"I've said all along my biggest reward is the people in front of me laughing, but if someone wants to give me an award that's fine.
Alderton has been performing live for 11 years, but has never previously taken his show up to Edinburgh.
He said he came from the "Butlins side of things" and had not expected to go down well at the Festival.
"If I'd come three years ago nothing would've happened, but now I'm on top of my game," he said.
But staring at his nominee's trophy, Alderton seemed less than overwhelmed by it all.
"This is all scratched," he said. "I'm going to give it to my mum."