How was it for you? Scottish Comedians discuss key events of 2008

Feature by Interviews by Ariadne Cass-Maran and Siân Bevan | 03 Dec 2008

Scott Agnew on winning HaHa Comedy’s Scottish Comedian of the Year

Until September I'd only ever won one thing in my life - a Blue Peter annual from the nuns for having drawn a nice wee picture of Jesus. How times have changed - now folk were handing me MDF Bananas and taking my picture for spouting homosexual filth to 800 folk in the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow.

Pretty much all comedy competitions are for 'new talent' and I still don't understand this obsession - no one wants a plumber that's only been on the go for six weeks. Why should our comedians be any different? That’s why the SCOTY is so refreshing - anyone can enter. Those new talent competitions had passed me by and as one of the Old Guard (at 28 - shocking), SCOTY gave me a chance I might not otherwise have got to perform in front of some industry. Suddenly I’m gigging a lot more nationally. Oh and the £1000 quid was nice and I'm sure the month gigging in Australia will be even more so!

Paul Sneddon on the Edinburgh Comedy Festival as part of this years Fringe

The coalition was motivated by greed and cynicism. They branded themselves as the Edinburgh Comedy Festival so that it would make more money. "If that was the image they wanted to cultivate,” Sneddon tells The Skinny, “I think they should have the courage to take it out of the Fringe programme for a start and actually they should hold it at a different time of year, see how many people turn up then. Other people have festivals at different times of year. If they wanted to do that they absolutely should, but they shouldn't do it off the back of the Fringe. They were using the Fringe brochure, they were using the Fringe box office. Sponsorship might make a difference if they moved the Edinburgh Comedy Festival to a different time of year completely."

But would they have the nerve?

Susan Calman on Those Phonecalls

'It’s censorship! It’s a restriction of my art!' This is my Top Annoying Complaint from comics on the Brand/Ross saga, and it’s the thing that annoys me the most. Never has there been more freedom to disseminate your thoughts. Just because you aren't on the BBC doesn't mean that no one will listen to you. Set up a podcast, get on a digital radio station, make a film and stick it on YouTube. The times when censorship seems at its most vicious are the times when the most humour and creativity can prevail. So I implore you. If you are angry about it all then good! Do something about it. Embrace live comedy. Write more. Be political and edgy and offensive any time you like. Brand/Ross doesn't stop that – so stop being lazy and get off your arses, put down your picture of Bill Hicks and make some people laugh.

Greg McHugh on winning a Scottish BAFTA for ‘Gary’s War’

After starting life on the Scottish stand-up circuit, Greg McHugh is now caught in the exciting zone where important people in suits recognise his name, read his scripts and pat him on the back at parties. Popular character Gary: Tank Commander, the perma-tanned soldier with a unique take on the war in Iraq and Cheesy Pasta, recently led to a Scottish Bafta win - an event he describes as a 'great honour'.

However, the success of Gary and his creator does lead to some serious questions about the state of the Scottish creative industries. McHugh explains: “I do not understand why we don’t do more. Edinburgh has nothing... there’s not enough money put in.” It may feel that we’re missing out up here, by creating such strong talent and then letting it slip away down south. Maybe a land which can produce such gems should invest more in not letting them go.