Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 13:10 UK

Fringe comedy shortlist unveiled

russell kane
Russell Kane was shortlisted for his "energetic" show

The shortlist for the top comedy award on the Edinburgh Fringe has been announced.

David O'Doherty, Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler, Rhod Gilbert and Russell Kane are all nominated for the If.comedy awards.

Mike Wozniak, Pippa Evans and Sarah Millican are nominated for the best newcomer award.

Formerly known as the Perriers, the awards were re-named in 2006. The winners will be announced on Saturday.

Panel prize

Last year's award was won by Australian comedian Brendon Burns. Previous winners include Al Murray, The League of Gentlemen and Steve Coogan.

Lee Evans, Dylan Moran, Jenny Eclair, Frank Skinner and Jeremy Hardy have all won the award.

It was first presented in 1981 to a Cambridge Footlights review which included Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery and Emma Thompson.

The judges will make three awards Best Comedy Show, Best Newcomer and a special panel prize.

The best comedy prize for the most outstanding up-and-coming, funny and original show is 8,000 plus a headline spot in London's West End.

Sarah Millican
Sarah Millican was nominated for the best newcomer award

The special panel prize celebrates the show which has most captured the comedy spirit of the 2008 Fringe.

Nica Burns, the awards producer, said: "In a year where a number of shows made it to the final animated discussion the four nominees presented shows which combined outstanding material and performance in a shortlist which offers something comedic for everyone.

"David O'Doherty's effortless charm with song, Americans Kristen and Kurt's utterly quirky and unique double-act, Welshman Rhod Gilbert, whose perfectly structured, gag-packed show has moved him into a new league and livewire stand-up Russell Kane's brilliantly energetic celebration of family, relationships and life's imperfections."

The judges, made up of journalists and radio and television producers plus members of the public, watched more than 350 comedy shows before deciding on the shortlist.

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