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Aust comics do well at Edinburgh Fringe

AAP logoAAP 27/08/2016 By Lloyd Jones, AAP London Correspondent

Australian comedians have again made a strong showing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, just missing out on the top comedy awards after more than three weeks of stand-up in the Scottish capital's bars and clubs.

Last year's Best Comedy Show winner, Australian Sam Simmons, on Saturday presented this year's award to Scotsman Richard Gadd, with fellow Scot Scott Gibson picking up the Best Newcomer award.

But Simmons said he was "absolutely proud" of the Australian comic effort this year, with three Australian nominees making the shortlist of eight for the Best Show award and one making it into the shortlist of six for the Newcomer award.

This year's judges saw more than 640 different comedy shows before making their decisions.

The Australian nominees for Best Comedy Show were Tom Ballard, who was last year's Best Newcomer winner, Zoe Coombs Marr and Heath McIvor with his purple puppet Randy Feltface.

Melbourne's Nath Valvo was nominated for Best Newcomer for his show Happy Idiot.

Simmons told AAP after the awards ceremony Australia was a good training ground for comedians, with a "really tough" club circuit but he'd like to see more comedy made for television.

He said Australians had an advantage in preparing their shows for festivals in Adelaide and Perth early in the year so they were polished by the time they got to Edinburgh, whereas British performers prepared theirs only a couple of months before the Fringe.

"We do punch above our weight, it's obvious with the amount of nominees that are here.

"It's wonderful, it's a really great year and we're all proud, it's really cool."

Ballard told AAP he thought his manager was pranking him when he was told he was a nominee.

"Awards for comedy are a bit redundant in some ways because the proof is in the pudding, in the funny show that you have but it's very nice to be recognised."

The 26-year-old from Melbourne said the Fringe, with its constant performances and pressure was exhausting but also a chance to watch and learn from seasoned comedians.

Coombs Marr said it was exciting to be nominated but she was surprised and disappointed to be the only woman in the shortlist when there were lots of female comedians at the Fringe this year.

The 31-year-old from Sydney has been a comedian for 10 years now and said she had bombed on stage enough times now for it not to matter.

"There's a bulletproof kind of nature that you have to get to in order to be consistently funny and to not second guess yourself.'

Valvo said the Edinburgh Fringe was like comedian "boot camp" and his first week wasn't easy.

But the 32-year-old from Melbourne eventually found his audience and the Best Newcomer nomination "came out of nowhere and it was great".

"But when I go home I want nothing but seven days of Netflix and bed."

The Edinburgh Fringe ends on Monday.

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