Entertainment & Arts

Edinburgh Comedy Award hopefuls

This year's shortlist for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards has been announced.

The awards, which began in 1981, have become renowned for discovering new comedy stars and launching them into the spotlight.

Previous winners who have become household names include Lee Evans and Steve Coogan.

Here is a glance at the five acts who are in the running for the prestigious honour.

Bo Burnham - Words, Words, Words

It was two years ago that the 20-year-old singing comedian began his career by uploading some of his songs to YouTube.

His acts include jokes about Shakespeare, haiku and quantum mechanics and he calls himself a "big nerdy dude".

He is currently writing a movie musical with Judd Apatow and is considering recording a rap album.

Comedy magazine Chortle called his show "one of the best in the programme".

Bo Burnham: Words, Words, Words is on at the Pleasance Dome until 29 August

Josie Long - Be Honourable!

It was in 1999 that Josie began to make a name for herself after she scooped the BBC New Comedy Award at the age of just 17.

Since then the 28-year-old has not looked back, and was crowned best newcomer for her Fringe debut in 2006.

The Oxford graduate has toured the UK three times, written for Channel 4's teen series Skins and regularly participates in comedy panel game shows.

Julian Hall wrote in The Independent that she "gorges on indulgence" during her show but she is "much less nervy than she once was".

Josie Long: Be Honourable! is on at the Just The Tonic At The Caves until 29 August

Greg Davies - Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog

Part of the comedy trio, We Are Klang, the former drama teacher regularly appears in Bafta-winning series The Inbetweeners as the unfair headteacher Mr Gilbert.

The 42-year-old also writes and performs regularly on radio and TV programmes including BBC New Talent, Stand Up Britain and ITV's Take the Mike.

He has appeared as a guest panellist on Mock the Week, Jimmy Carr's 8 out of 10 Cats and Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

Reviewing his show, The Guardian's Brian Logan sad: "The show has a big heart, and Davies is a fine comic craftsman, burlesquing his own ridiculousness for our entertainment."

Greg Davies: Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until 30 August

Sarah Millican - Chatterbox

Two years she went home with the best newcomer award for her debut solo show - Sarah Millican's Not Nice - at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Since then she has become a TV regular, appearing on shows such as Michael Mcintyre's Comedy Roadshow, Have I Got News For You, and Live at the Apollo.

The 35-year-old, with her distinct voice and Geordie accent, is about to embark upon her first national stand-up tour.

The Telegraph's Mark Monahan described her act as "incorrigibly filthy".

Sarah Millican: Chatterbox is on at The Stand until 29 August

Russell Kane - Smokescreens And Castles

It was back when he was working in an office that Kane, 30, decided to give stand-up a go.

Since then he has embarked upon several national tours, written a play which is being performed at London's Soho Theatre, and is currently writing a novel.

He has also turned his hand to a spot of presenting on shows such as ITV2's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Now and E4's Big Brother's Big Mouth.

In The Evening Standard Bruce Dessau said: "Some stand-up neurotics become bogged down in onstage over-analysis. Not Kane. The more he analyses his obsessions the funnier he is."

Russell Kane: Smokescreens And Castles is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until 19 August.

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