So You Think You're Funny? Final 2019
Finlay Christie is crowned winner of the respected talent-launching competition in its 32nd year
Confident and conversational Finlay Christie has beaten over 300 competitors to win the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny? competition. He joins the esteemed ranks of Aisling Bea, Demi Lardner and Dylan Moran amongst others, whose appearances in the competition have helped launch incredible comedy careers. On the night, Christie’s set explored some neat differences between the transition from boy to man as well as him potentially being Malala Yousafzai’s Uni coursemate.
In second place came flamboyant Irishman Shane Daniel Byrne, who impressed with high energy gags about how we should be jealous of his EU citizenship and marriage equality. Coming “second runner up” (we all know that’s third place, SYTYF) was Charlie George, whose seven-minute spot was dedicated to her unconventional single-parent upbringing and the pressures that come with folk assuming she’s a “strong, confident black woman” though her Dad was Indian.
As always, all the contestants should be commended for their comedy: Fady Kassab on seeing the funny side of growing up in war-torn Lebanon; Claire Haus with high-energy, expressive musings on being an Aries; Erika Ehler whose comedy is unflinchingly dark; Denis Len for his anecdote about petrol-station pain au chocolats in rural Ireland; Kate Bancroft for lo-fi material on anxiety and haikus; and Kate McGann’s naturally charismatic familiar observational comedy.
Ehler in particular did extremely well, having just won the Chortle Student Comedy Award earlier in the month, with a knowing deadpan delivery, titanium-strong writing and content darker than Pleasance Courtyard on take-down day. Very much a shock when she didn’t place, we’re sure to be seeing much more of Ehler in the near future.
The evening was again hosted by former SYTYF? finalist Zoe Lyons, and the competition was judged by the Korens (Karen and Katy, Artistic Directors of Gilded Balloon), Susan Provan (Director of Melbourne International Comedy Festival), Bruce Dessau (comedy journalist and editor of the Beyond the Joke website), Helen Hawkins (Editor of the Sunday Times Culture) and guest judge Jenny Eclair (first solo female winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 1995).
Finlay Christie wins a £2,500 cash prize as well as opportunities to perform at the Montreal Just for Laughs festival and a guaranteed Fringe run at Gilded Balloon.
The So You Think You're Funny Final 2019 was held on 22 August in Gilded Balloon Teviot (Debating Hall)