Live from the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, highlights of the first ever Sketch Club final for up-and-coming comedy acts. Featuring Mixed Doubles, Ladies Live Longer, Gerardine Coyne, The Real McGuffins, Revan & Fennell and competition winners Staple/face. Show produced by Georgina Sowerby & Brian West. Video Production: Alan Benns. Executive Producer Karen Koren for The Gilded Balloon.
A reliable vein of new talent since its inception in 1988, the So You Think You’re Funny? comedy awards have provided a steady stream of ingenious new acts. This year marks the inaugural awards strictly for sketch from SYTYF and the final of the tournament was a goldmine for fans of the genre. Despite fierce competition for the title, winning troupe Staple/face took home a deserved trophy that should prove a welcome boost for their publicity and popularity. As well as the kudos of winning an increasingly prestigious award, Staple/face also won a three-week spot on next year’s Gilded Balloon bill.
The other sketch acts competing for the prize included Mixed Doubles, the Real MacGuffins, Ladies Live Longer and Gerardine Coyne. Compere Mark Dolan did a good job of geeing up the audience, especially since the sketch troupes had so little time – two five-minute slots – to impress the judges and the crowd. Despite not being a natural host – Dolan seemed to struggle to shoehorn his scripted material into the show – he held up admirably when waiting for the judges to return from an indefinitely long deliberation period.
Of the evening, it was Ladies Live Longer and Mixed Doubles who proved to be the closest rivals to the eventual winners’ performances. Mixed Doubles opened with a very strong series of short sketches, with quick humour coming from their surrealist blend of popular culture references and physical gags. Ladies Live Longer played around with longer sketches, which suited their more character-based comedy.
Still, both those acts rarely strayed out of what might be termed ‘traditional’ sketch writing, and it was only Staple/face who managed to produce true belly-laughter from the audience. Their sketches – involving the Apollo 11 team getting lost on the way to the first moon landing and a highly surreal, Tarantino-esque reading of Oliver Postgate’s children’s stories – were excellently surreal and brilliantly pitched. They managed to produce very funny sketches whilst also remaining largely minimalistic in form and were certainly the deserved winners of the evening.
Despite missing out on the top prize, the other acts were each funny in their own way, and fans of sketch comedy should keep their eyes on these five extremely talented acts. All are sure to carve out their own impressive trajectories in coming years.
Read this review at Broadway Baby
The very first winners of Gilded Balloon & Sketch Club’s Best New Sketch Act competition were Sheffield-based comedy trio Staple/face, who were presented with the trophy by Gilded Balloon’s Artistic Director Karen Koren – along with the prize of a prestigious three week run at next year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
Staple/face beat off stiff competition from 5 other strong acts to bag the title, in a close fought sell-out final hosted by Channel 4 presenter Mark Dolan.
The panel of entertainment industry judges included prolific fringe producer James Seabright, producer of “So You Think You’re Funny” Julia Chamberlain, and top comedy agent Janette Linden from PBJ Management.
Last year Mark Dolan hosted the final of Sketch Club’s “Best New Sketch Act 2013” in Edinburgh. Mark is best known for hosting Channel 4’s “Balls of Steel” and also appeared in his own one man show at the Gilded Balloon last year.
The final took place in the Gilded Balloon Teviot Wine Bar on August 20th.
The splendid crystal glass trophy for Sketch Club’s Best New Sketch Act 2013 was unveiled for the first time today. “I’d certainly like to have one of those on my mantlepiece,” says Sketch Club producer Georgina Sowerby, “And I’m really looking forward to the final on 20th August at the Gilded Balloon.”
Sketch comedy quartet Mixed Doubles beat off some tough competition last night to land the last remaining place in the final of Sketch Club & Gilded Balloon’s Best New Sketch Act 2013.
The group comprises Will Close, Megan Smith, Paul Aitchison and Rose Robinson – a versatile bunch who met as students at Mountview Theatre School.
Their winning set comprised a fast paced array of slick quickies and well-drilled routines, crammed full of funny accents and larger than life characters including a bored Simon & Garfunkel and Andy Murray arguing with a traffic warden.
Runners-up of Heat 6 were comedy trio Gein’s Family Gift Shop, who’s hilarious monkey sign language sketch deserves a special mention.
Mixed Doubles join Revan & Fennell, Staple/face, Gerardine Coyne, The Real MacGuffins and Ladies Live Longer in the final, which is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot in Edinburgh on 20th August 2013 Go here for tickets