The annual showcase for the Edinburgh University Comedy Society is quite the event. More than just a few drunk students telling gags about Facebook (although there are a lot of gags about Facebook tonight), this showcase of newbies is extremely polished with a much higher standard than you'd expect on the average open mic night.
MC Liam Withnail deserves a special nod for getting the pace of the gig just right, with some slick, fast-paced banter with the crowd. He kept roughly on time with 20 acts to get through, while making sure every competitor came out to a pumped-up audience.
Winner on the night was Noah Torn, who's got a couple of groansome one-liners in his set but boundless ideas and energy. His five minutes was full of Elvis-style high kicks and sketches performed with toys purchased from Poundland. The crowd adored him.
The difference between first and second place was incredibly tight, practically coming down to a coin-toss. That's because Hari Sriskantha is so bloody good. A well-spoken physicist with a ukelele, a massive brain, and killer timing, he's already won the regional heat of the Chortle Student Comedy Awards, so second place shouldn't be too disappointing.
Third place was equally tight, with the judges deciding to announce joint winners. Adam Todd was simply too weird not to win anything. Imagine if Emo Philips had an evil twin that his parents kept locked in the cellar, and you've got a rough mental image of Todd. His set was excellent, occasionally bordering on genius and making full use of his oddness.
Also in third was Laura Sharples, a charismatic Northern lass with a storytelling ability that's far beyond her years. Sharples knows how to turn an anecdote into a tight comic routine and her writing ability would indicate a very promising comedy career, even if she wasn't hugely watchable and naturally funny.
A final prize was awarded to Rory Telfer for Best Joke, with a smashing one-liner about pregnancy. Telfer also gets the unofficial award for Most Scottish Act of the night, bringing a welcome Caledionian dourness (in a funny way) to a night full of chirpy English people.
Overall, this was an extremely impressive showcase. The real winner was the Edinburgh Revue, who demonstrated that they're doing a great job at nurturing the comic talent of the future.
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