Edinburgh comedy awards: 2010 nominees

The winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards will be announced on Saturday.

The awards, which began in 1981, have launched careers of many famous stars, including Lee Evans, Steve Coogan and Frank Skinner.

Here are the five acts in the running for this year's title.

Russell Kane - Smokescreens And Castles

Russell Kane knows all about being nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

This is the third year in a row he has been up for the top prize and before that he was in the running for the best newcomer.

The 30-year-old comic says the one downside of nomination is the shows he does in the days after.

"If this was America they would be saying 'this guy's got nominated, he's going to be amazing'," Kane says.

"Here we are the complete opposite. They say 'cocky little ass, give him nothing' - and 'we paid £12 to get in - make me laugh, if you can!'."

For the rest of his Edinburgh run Kane does seem to have been making people laugh.

He said his show, Smokescreens and Castles, was the simplest one he had done at the Fringe and not one of his "grand ideas".

"It is about the council house I grew up in - The Castle. I go room by room and explore my childhood home."

Kane says there is a "poignancy" and "warmth" in the show which he likes.

He says he has taken on board feedback from fans and reviewers.

"I read all my reviews on 1 September after the Fringe, I would not like to read them during.

"Anything I think 'good point' I will try to incorporate it."

Russell Kane: Smokescreens And Castles is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August.

Josie Long - Be Honourable!

The 28-year-old Londoner's show calls on people to Be Honourable!

"It is me ranting about how I did not realise I was so complacent and now I do," she said.

"My dream would be that people leave and decide to give up their rubbish jobs and train to be nurses and volunteer once a week."

Long, who won Edinburgh's Best Newcomer award four years ago, is quick to reassure that the show is funny, though.

"I like to think it is full of jokes," she said.

"There is a laugh in my show every 30 seconds in general."

This year is the first time in the comedy awards' 30-year history that there have been two women on the shortlist.

Long said: "The least people to blame for that are me and Sarah (Millican).

"There have been so many people about for so long. Society is not going to stop being a bit sexist overnight and that is reflected in all elements.

"There are loads of brilliant women comedians out there but gender has nothing to do with the art you are going to produce or how funny you will be."

Josie Long: Be Honourable! is on at the Just The Tonic At The Caves until 29 August

Greg Davies - Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog

Greg Davies says his Edinburgh show, his first as a solo performer, is "autobiography".

"I have cut out anything harrowing and I'm just looking at moments in life where you are completely absorbed in them," he says.

The "absorbing" moment which inspired the show was when he was "firing cheeseballs at a dog".

"The dog was not hurt", he adds quickly.

Davies, perhaps best-known for his role as Mr Gilbert in TV series The Inbetweeners, was once really a teacher.

"Mr Gilbert is the teacher I always dreamt of being really.

"I was a massively ineffective, soft teacher but it is nice to play a screaming psychopath."

His Edinburgh show is not performed in the guise of Mr Gilbert but he "can get quite animated for a man as out-of-shape as me".

At 6ft 8in (2.03m) the 42-year-old former member of trio We Are Klang is a comedy giant.

Of his height, he says: "It is not an asset in comedy. It is not an asset at all in life. At concerts, maybe."

Greg Davies: Firing Cheeseballs At A Dog is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until 30 August

Sarah Millican - Chatterbox

Sarah Millican won the Best Newcomer award in Edinburgh two years ago and now she has been nominated for best comedy show.

"It feels like a progression," she said.

Famous for keeping Twitter followers informed about her pudding consumption, Millican celebrated with a "raspberry tiramasu".

"I don't drink you see and you have celebrate somehow."

Her show Chatterbox has no theme, a fact she thinks is "very liberating".

But she adds: "It is rehearsed. It is not just me talking off the top of my head.

"I could do that obviously, that's why I'm called Chatterbox."

Despite her popularity, selling out her entire run before she even arrived in Edinburgh, she is at The Stand, a venue which seats just 140 people.

"It is one of my favourite comedy rooms that I have ever played in across the world," she says.

"It feels like family."

The Geordie comedian is looking forward to a holiday in a place with a hot-tub, or as she calls it, a "bath outside".

The 35-year-old will then embark on her first national stand-up tour.

Sarah Millican: Chatterbox is on at The Stand until 29 August

Bo Burnham - Words, Words, Words

Bo Burnham turned 20 during his run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He ended a sell-out month with critical acclaim and a nomination for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards.

Burnham, from Massachusetts in the US, got his first success posting comedy songs on YouTube at the age of 15.

His first was entitled My Whole Family Thinks I'm Gay.

His various "politically incorrect" online offerings have been watched about 60 million times in total.

He cites Tim Minchin, Bill Bailey, Hans Teeuwen, Tim Vine and David O'Doherty as influences.

Burnham said this was why he wanted to perform at the Fringe.

"So many of my heroes got their start here," he said.

"I knew I was going to be a better comic if I came here.

"I thought I had more of a European sense of humour than the average American comic."

Bo Burnham: Words, Words, Words is on at the Pleasance Dome until 29 August

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