Shortlist for Malcolm Hardee Fringe stunt prize

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

image captionManos the Greek had a publicity shoot on top of Calton Hill in front of the National Monument

Three contenders have been shortlisted for the best publicity stunt at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Comedian Stewart Lee has been noticed accidentally promoting Japanese act Frank Chickens, who were not performing at this year's Fringe.

Arthur Smith said he would give £100 to any journalist who would juggle fish.

And Manos the Greek claimed he would donate 10% of the total earnings from his free festival show to rescue the Greek economy to publicise his show.

Manos then had a publicity shoot wearing a langolia (Greek kilt) on top of Edinburgh's Calton Hill in front of the Doric columns of the National Monument.

He said he was donating £7.86 from his show, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Greece, which he is performing at the Laughing Horse Free Festival at The Hive.

Stewart Lee accidentally publicised Frank Chickens when the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, formerly the Perriers, and its new sponsor Foster's launched a vote to find an all-time "comedy god".

Lee sent an e-mail rant saying you could not pick an all-time comedy god over such a long time span as 30 years and in protest nominated Frank Chickens, who had not performed at the Fringe since 1985.

The e-mail went viral and everyone began voting for the Frank Chickens.

Lee then brought Frank Chickens onto the stage in front of a packed crowd at the Festival Theatre last week.

John Fleming, co-producer of the Malcolm Hardee Awards, said: "We chose Stewart Lee because it is fittingly bizarre that he managed to accidentally promote an act that wasn't even appearing at this year's Fringe and then as a result did appear."

image captionMalcolm Hardee was known for his outrageous publicity stunts

Mr Fleming said Arthur Smith had his bluff called by critic Bruce Dessau over the fish juggling stunt.

"Arthur neglected to buy the required kippers, but he still got publicity out of a silly idea: a pre-requisite for getting a cunning stunt nomination.

"Manos is on the shortlist for going for claiming he will donate 10% of the total earnings and having publicity shots taken on Calton Hill.

"I would say though that the stunts have been poor recently and people should aspire to better stunts in the future."

The award will be made on Friday evening (27 August) at the Three Sisters in the Cowgate, Edinburgh.

The award was named after the late Malcolm Hardee, an English comedian and comedy club proprietor who died when he fell into the docks in Rotherhithe, London, in 2005.

He was known for his outrageous publicity stunts.