New Malcolm Hardee Award For Best Publicity Stunt At The Edinburgh Fringe
It has been announced that the annual MALCOLM HARDEE AWARD "for comic originality of thought or performance" at the
Edinburgh Fringe is to be joined, from this August, by an extra annual award to honour the Best Publicity Stunt at the
Fringe legend Malcolm Hardee was renowned for his cunning stunts including, one year, writing a glowing review of his
own comedy show and getting it published in The Scotsman by masquerading as the newspaper's own comedy critic.
Malcolm Hardee Award co-organisers John Fleming and Kate Copstick say the new Best Publicity Stunt Award will not
necessarily be given every year. "Even we have some standards," says Fleming. "We won’t present it to any old Del Boy -
but 2009 is already looking like it might be a classic P.T.Barnum of a year."
"It will be difficult to beat Peckham-based American comic Lewis Schaffer," says Copstick. "Even before this year's
Fringe had officially launched, he persuaded several publications, including The List in Glasgow, that the main
Edinburgh Comedy Awards were, in future, going to be sponsored by him for £99 a year, re-named 'The Lewies' in his
honour... and his 82 year-old mother would be on the judging panel."
"What impressed me," says Fleming, "is that, even in a written apology forced on him by the Edinburgh Comedy Awards'
lawyers, he managed - not once but TWICE - to plug full details of his own show, including title and venue. It is this
subtle mastery of blatant marketing spin that Malcolm would have appreciated."
A retrospective 2008 award is being given to Gill Smith who, last year, sent the organisers an e-mail nominating herself
for the main Malcolm Hardee Award and then put on her own posters ‘Malcolm Hardee Award Nominee’. Copstick says: "We
thought we'd better give her a Best Publicity Stunt Award before she gave it to herself.”
"Edinburgh has got a bit serious about comedy," explains Fleming. “We want to put the fun and anarchy back into the
Fringe. Forget the British bulldog spirit, our aim is to celebrate the even greater tradition of British bullshit and to
keep Malcolm's name at the forefront of dodgy marketing. We want to truly honour his memory, which is why there will be
an award-winner but he or she will get no money and no trophy. Malcolm would certainly have approved - and would
probably also have asked them to loan him a tenner."
"The main award-winner for comic originality," adds Copstick, "of course DOES get a trophy - a stiff straight microphone
sticking up from between the two round orbs of Malcolm's spectacles. The Awards will continue to be presented until
2017, mainly because John has already had them all hand-made by a mad inventor in Lincolnshire and they’re cluttering up
his back bedroom."
"Aaaaaaaaaarrghhh! - It's Bollock Relief! - The Malcolm Hardee Award Show 2009" - a 90-minute variety show with all
profits going to the Children With AIDs charity - takes place at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh on the evening of
Friday 28th August - www.malcolmhardee.co.uk/award