Adam Riches wins Edinburgh comedy award

Adam Riches Adam Riches has been described as utterly original, extremely funny and a huge talent

Adam Riches has been declared the 31st winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Judges praised his "trademark mix of character comedy, anarchic stagecraft and a fearless level of audience engagement".

Others nominated for the top prize were Andrew Maxwell, Chris Ramsey, Sam Simmons, Nick Helm and Josie Long.

The prizes were presented by last year's Best Comedy Show winner Russell Kane and by musical performer and 2002 nominee Omid Djalili.

Previous winners include Lee Evans, Steve Coogan and Al Murray.

Nica Burns, producer of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards, said: "Congratulations to Adam Riches, who is utterly original, extremely funny and a huge talent.

"He will no doubt be seen on your television screens in the near future."

Riches told BBC Scotland it was "terrific" to win the award.

He said: "You try to ignore it for as long as you can, then when the nominations come out you get a little bit excited and then today I was just a bundle of nerves. But to get it was fantastic."

Riches described his comedy as "fast-paced character comedy with a lot of audience interaction".

He said he expected to get an electronic tag for his comedy rather than an award.

Humphrey Ker Humphrey Ker won the best newcomer award

The comedian, who has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe five times, said he had spent a long time in shadows and this could catapult him into a whole new world.

He added: "I am going to have a long holiday with my girlfriend and let the bruises heal before I look at what opportunities there are."

The Best Newcomer prize went to Humphrey Ker for his show, Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher.

The Panel Prize was awarded to The Wrestling, a show involving 20 comedians and eight world-class wrestlers.

The awards, which have been running since 1981, were formerly known as the Perriers and the If.Comeddies.

"Star" names, who have already had a TV series or can perform in a 500-seat venue under their own name, are not eligible for the award.

However, the judging panel did see 505 different shows over the three weeks of the Fringe.

The prize for the Best Comedy Show is £10,000 and there is also a £5,000 for best newcomer.

Nica Burns, producer of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards, said 2011 was an "exceptional year for newcomers" and the panel was "spoilt for choice".

The eight nominations for best newcomer are: Cariad Lloyd; The Chris and Paul Show; Hannibal Buress; Holly Walsh; Humphrey Ker; Josh Widdicombe; Thom Tuck and Totally Tom.

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