EP89 – Nica Burns – The secrets behind the Edinburgh Fringe Newcomer Award

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EP89 – Nica Burns – The secrets behind the Edinburgh Fringe Newcomer Award


Total run time: 1 hour 22 mins 03 secs.

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About Nica Burns…

Nica Burns OBE is a London theatre producer and co-owner with her business partner Max Weitzenhoffer of the Nimax Theatres group (@NimaxTheatres), comprising six West End theatres: the Palace, Lyric, Apollo, Garrick, Vaudeville and Duchess.

Burns moved to directing and producing, co-writing and performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where she has been director and producer of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards (formerly Perrier Awards) from 1984 to the present day.

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The Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Awards…

  • Why did you start the award and does it still exist in the way it did when you started it? [0 mins]
  • Fringe changed your side of the award? [8 mins]
    • Harry Hill
  • Do you think there’s too many awards or do you think the expansion of the fringe means there’s more room for more awards? [33 mins]
    • How did your award become known as the most prestigious? [33 mins]
  • Who decides who wins? The judges? You? Both?
    • The newcomer award was introduced in 1992, why then? What prompted you to add a new category?
  • Can you over analyse a comedy show? [37 mins]
  • Women in comedy and how the award has helped the perception of women in comedy. [45 mins]
  • In 2013 John Kearns became the first free fringe show to win an award. Do you go to less Free Fringe shows? [13 mins]
    • Has the number of Free Fringe shows meant you need more judges or are you unable to keep up / see everything? [13 mins ]
    • How do you decide which shows to go and see? [13 mins]
  • Do you think there’s a limit to how long someone can use an award on their poster?
  • Do you think your award has had an impact on more comedians wanting to work towards hour shows or do you think the circuit was going to go that way? [16 mins]
  • Do you have any quotas for nominations? [54 mins]
  • What would you say to cynical critical people who say that the award, and all awards have an agenda behind them which means they are bias?
  • In 2002 the award nominees were all male and the awards were criticized. Now comedy has been and was more so in 2002 a largely male environment so the chances of you going to see more male stand ups than female is high. 
  • How much is the Edinburgh Comedy Award “worth” outside of industry recognition and Edinburgh itself? [40 mins]
  • What do you have to say to comedians who say “you saw me on a bad day” do you take into account if the audience is a bit off / rowdy etc [13 mins]

Everything else…

  • Most underrated person in the industry [1 hour 15 mins]






Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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