Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 18:11 UK

Funny women silence the critics

Pippa Evans
Pippa Evans said she is "stunned" to be nominated

It is has become a bit of a tradition for an all male comedy awards shortlist to be announced at the end of the Edinburgh Fringe.

Many critics have hit out over the past few decades at the lack of female stand-up comics nominated for the most prestigious comedy prize, formerly the Perriers, now the If.comedy awards.

Even The Equal Opportunities Commission in 2002 said the omission of women suggested female comics were being sidelined.

But this year the judging panel can tell their critics to keep schtum after choosing three women finalists.

Kristen Schaal is nominated for the best comedy show award alongside her partner Kurt Braunohler.

While Pippa Evans and Sarah Millican are nominated for the best newcomer award.

Pippa Evans told BBC Scotland news website she knew "a lot of funny women on the circuit".

If men are not funny then they are thought of as just being not funny, where as if you are a woman and you're not funny it's because you are a women
Pippa Evans
If.comedy award nominee

She said: "If men are not funny then they are thought of as just being not funny, where as if you are a woman and you're not funny it's because you are a women.

"I did a big show before the festival in front of 1,300 people in Ealing and it was a typical lager-fuelled Friday humour crowd, so when I came on they heckled me and the men kept talking to each other and ignoring me, but finally I won them round."

She added that her friends knew before her that she had been nominated.

She said: "I didn't know I had a voicemail from the awards so I wondered what special thing I had done when I received about 18 texts today saying 'Congratulations'.

"I was so excited when I found out and was stunned.

"I will be nervous on the night but it's just amazing to be shortlisted and we are all very different comedians, so it's is very important to keep in mind that whomever wins it's not a reflection on the others."

Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler
Kristen Schaal is one of three women shortlisted for the award

Nica Burns, the awards producer, said: "We had a dearth of women in the 90s.

"It was getting to the end of the decade and people were saying 'are women just not funny?, as for years they haven't been on the shortlist'.

"Sarah is pure female stand-up, she is very brave and Pippa doesn't have a promoter.

"I am very excited about the shortlist and will be very excited to hear the result on Saturday night."

Bruce Dessau, the award's chairman, said: "There has been too much emphasis on why women don't do well in the awards. It is nice to have a mixture.

"We just want to see the best acts, gender is irrelevant when I go to a show.

"I believe Sarah will be on TV doing panel shows before long as will Pippa doing sketches."

The winners of the 8,000 top prize and 4,000 newcomer's prize will be announced on Saturday at the awards, which will be presented by broadcaster, Clive James.

Pauline McLean Pauline McLean's blog
The end of the festival means getting back to Corrie

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific